hourly pay for Mental Health Counselors
do Mental Health Counselors make a lot of money

Mental Health Counselors

Other names for this job might include Behavior Analyst, Behavior Support Specialist (BSS), Bereavement Counselor, Case Manager, Child Care Counselor, Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Clinician, Correctional Counselor, Corrections Caseworker, Counselor

  • $46050
  • 70%
    Job satisfaction
  • Hard
    Becoming one
  • High
    Job growth
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How Much Do Mental Health Counselors Make In 2018

In this salary guide, you will find out how much do Mental Health Counselors make.

After reading this, you will be able to make a decision if working as a Mental Health Counselor will suit your financial goals (e.g: buying a home, BMW or just your target salary goal).

Average salary

Annual salary
$46050 per year
Hourly wage
$22.140 per hour

One of the most popular questions we get from our readers here at OwlGuru is how much do Mental Health Counselors make per year and what is their hourly wage.

According to BLS, the average annual salary of Mental Health Counselors is $46050. Their salary can also be as low as $26950 if you’re still a newbie with no experience to over $70100 if you have a ton of experience under your belt.

The typical hourly pay is $22.140 and can range from $12.960 to $33.700 which also depends if you’re a newbie or a professional.

Just like any other job, the salary of A Mental Health Counselor will vary based on your education and experience level.

# = Over $100 per hour or $200,000 per year.
Salary rank

We wanted to make it easy for our readers to compare the salary of A Mental Health Counselor to all the other careers out there. So we created Salary Rank.

This compares the salary of all careers and we give them a rank of A, B, C or D depending on how high or low is their average salary.

After comparing how much do Mental Health Counselors make with other careers, they have a salary rank of C.

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Salary range

Highest (Top 10%)$33.700$70100
Senior (Top 25%)$26.660$55440
Middle (Mid 50%)$20.590$42840
Junior (Bottom 25%)$16.130$33560
No experience (Bottom 10%)$12.960$26950

Entry-level Mental Health Counselors who starts out at $33560 can expect to make $42840 after 3-5 years of experience in the field.

The bottom 10% makes less than $12.960 per hour while the top 10% makes over $33.700 per hour.

While the median wage is $42840 per annum or $20.590 per hour.

Depending on who you work for, you might also get overtime pay.

# = Over $100 per hour or $200,000 per year.

Highest paying industries

Industry nameHourly wageAnnual salary
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services33.9170540
Junior colleges, Local government owned28.0458320
Educational Support Services, Privately owned27.5557300
Junior Colleges (including private, state, and local government schools)27.4357060
Religious Organizations27.2156600
Educational Support Services (including private, state, and local government schools)26.7255580
Insurance Carriers26.5355190
Educational Services, Local government owned26.1654410
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals, State government owned26.1454370
Elementary and Secondary Schools, Local government owned26.1354350
Other Schools and Instruction (including private, state, and local government schools)25.0852170
Other schools and instruction, Privately owned25.0852170
Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals24.9351850
Local government, including schools and hospitals24.951790
Offices of Physicians24.951780
Hospitals, State government owned24.6151180
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services24.5751100
Offices of Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists, and Audiologists24.5651080
Federal, State, and Local Government24.4450840
Federal, State, and Local Government, excluding state and local schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service24.4450840
Federal, state, and local government, including government owned schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service24.3750690
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals, State government owned24.3150560
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services24.2650460
All Other Ambulatory Health Care Services24.2650460
Offices of Mental Health Practitioners (except Physicians)24.2150350
Offices of Other Health Practitioners24.250330
Home Health Care Services23.8449590
Elementary and Secondary Schools (including private, state, and local government schools)23.6749230
Offices of All Other Health Practitioners23.649090
Employment Services23.5749020
State government, including schools and hospitals23.4548770
Colleges, universities, and professional schools, State government owned23.4348740
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)23.4248700
Sector 56- Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services23.4148680
Administrative and Support Services23.4148680
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals, Privately owned23.2948440
Educational Services (including private, state, and local government schools)23.2848430
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals, Local government owned23.2648370
Facilities Support Services23.248250
Hospitals, Local government owned22.9747780
Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)22.947630
Educational Services, State government owned22.8247460
State Government, excluding schools and hospitals22.847420
Specialty hospitals, Privately owned22.5546900
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools (including private, state, and local government schools)22.5146810
Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)22.3946570
Ambulatory Health Care Services22.2946360
Hospitals, Privately owned21.9545660
Educational Services, Privately owned21.6845100
Elementary and Secondary Schools, Privately owned21.5644840
Other Services (except Federal, State, and Local Government)21.4944690
Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations21.4844670
Social Advocacy Organizations21.4644640
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)21.4244560
All industries21.1543990
Outpatient Care Centers21.1243920
Outpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers21.0243710
Health Care and Social Assistance (including private, state, and local government hospitals)20.6943030
All industries, private ownership only20.6442930
Colleges, universities, and professional schools, Privately owned20.5242680
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals, Privately owned20.4742590
Individual and Family Services20.141820
Social Assistance2041610
Management of Companies and Enterprises19.9141420
Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities19.5240600
Community Food and Housing, and Emergency and Other Relief Services19.2540030
Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly19.1839890
Scientific Research and Development Services19.139720
Vocational Rehabilitation Services18.839110
Child Day Care Services18.5338540
Grantmaking and Giving Services18.2938040
Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences18.1237690
Residential Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities17.9837390
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities17.8137030
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities17.7136830
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)17.5936600
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability Facilities17.3636110
Other Residential Care Facilities16.9335200
Elementary and Secondary Schools, State government owned16.1733630

Not all industries pay the same for Mental Health Counselors.

One of the easiest way to increase your salary is to change industries and find a higher paying one.

Highest paying states


Another simple way to boost your pay as A Mental Health Counselor is to move to a higher paying state. However moving to a higher paying state like AK doesn’t mean you will make more overall. This is because the expenses at AK may be 2x higher than where you are currently living at right now.

According to the BLS, the highest paid / most successful Mental Health Counselors are in the states of AK, UT, ID, OR and WY. The average salary in AK is $60190.

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Rank: B+
Salary: $51730

They diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.
Rank: B+
Salary: $74030

They assess and evaluate individuals’ problems through the use of case history, interview, and observation and provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment.
Rank: B+
Salary: $45820

They assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. Activities may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, case management, client advocacy, prevention, and education.
Rank: B
Salary: $46180

They provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers.
Rank: B
Salary: $41870

They counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

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Career type

Human and Social Service Health Informatics
Counseling and Mental Health Services

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