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Counselor Earnings

The median annual wage of mental health counselors was $38,150 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,180, and the top 10 percent earned more than $63,630.

In May 2010, wages for mental health counselors in the industries employing the most mental health counselors were as follows:

Local government $46,590
Hospitals 41,930
Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers 38,840
Individual and family services 37,700
Residential mental health and substance abuse facilities 30,260

The median annual wage of marriage and family therapists was $45,720 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,870, and the top 10 percent earned more than $72,280.

In May 2010, wages for marriage and family therapists in the industries employing the most marriage and family therapists were as follows:

State government $56,320
Local government 54,340
Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers 47,480
Offices of mental health practitioners (except physicians) 46,800
Individual and family services 42,150

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists generally work full time. Because counseling sessions are scheduled to accommodate clients who may have job or family responsibilities, some counselors and therapists work evenings and weekends.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition

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