So you’re wondering about that unspoken question that everyone thinks about and no one wants to talk about? How much money do counselors make?
Let’s be real, when picking a profession, finances is part of the equation [whether you want to admit it or not]. If you’re thinking about making counseling a career, you’re wise to consider the financial side of things. I promise, it’s a judgment free zone.
If you’re like me, you probably heard somewhere along the way “Counselors aren’t in it for the money,” or “Counseling will never make you rich,” or maybe “Money doesn’t matter.” As a professional counselor in Texas, I can tell you, money does matter, counselors can make money and counseling can keep you financially sustained.
You want me to give you a dollar amount don’t you? That’s tough to say for certain, but here are a few things to consider:
- Private practice, non-profit or for-profit?
- Full time or part time?
- Debt-free or paying debt?
- Cost of living
- City of practice and city you live
In San Antonio, Texas, I’ve seen counselors get paid as little as $35,000 and upwards of $125,000 and anything in between. Here are some guesstimates for full time clinicians:
- Associate/intern position- $41,000
- Non-profit employee fully licensed- $52,000
- Private Practice fully licensed- $70,000
- Private Practice owner and clinician- $90,000
- Private Practice owner + other revenue streams- $125,000+
A lot has to do with where you work, how much you work and other income streams. “Other income streams?” you ask? Oh yes dear friend, counselors can make money outside of just counseling. For example, supervising associates (LPC-S), community presentations, CEU provider, teaching a class, etc. Take a look here for more on counselors with a side hustle!
So as you’re looking for your new employment site or contemplating the one you’re at, don’t shy away from the money question: “How much are my services worth?” Answer wisely, but remember, you hold a graduate degree, are educated and a competent mental health provider. Not only did you complete a graduate degree but also obtained post graduate licensure through the state which took an additional 3,000 hours!!! Don’t sell yourself short.
So that question I would encourage you to ask yourself is How much? How much am I worth? How much time do I put in? What is fair reimbursement?
In one of my favorite movies, Spanglish, Deborah Caskey [aka Tea Leoni] put it best: “How much? … This is an important question- if you ask for too little it means you don’t value yourself, too much and you’re taking advantage.” Choose wisely dear friend.