The amount of money a counsellor makes per year depends on the speciality of the counsellor, and the level of education achieved. There is a wide variety of counselling jobs. Some require advanced degrees, such as a Master's degree in counselling or an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor). Some counsellors have degrees from other disciplines, such as social work or sociology. A counsellor's job in each field is varied, and so is the pay.
Kinds of Counselors
The federal Occupational Outlook Handbook defines six categories of counsellors: substance abuse and behavioural disorder counsellors; educational, vocational and school counsellors; marriage and family therapists; mental health counsellors; rehabilitation counsellors and other counsellors. Each category has a different salary.
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
Substance abuse counsellors work with people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, and behavioural disorder counsellors work with people with a range of behavioural disorders. They can work in mental health agencies, rehab centres, hospitals or any place that treats these kinds of problems. On average, substance abuse and behavioural disorder counsellors earn £22,100, as of 2008, which means most make between £17,764 and £27,722, but some may earn more than £32,500.
Educational, Vocational and School Counselors
Educational, vocational and school counsellors work in educational institutions. They help students and their families with problems, but they also help counsel students through the academic progress, helping them make schedules, chose classes and apply for colleges. The average school counsellor makes £30,875 per year. Of the counsellor salaries reported in this category, the highest earners made more than £48,750.
Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage and family therapists work in specialised non-profit organisations, social service organisations or private practices. The work is exceptionally varied, ranging from helping couples deal with domestic violence to helping children with behavioural disorders, to counselling a family through a death or divorce. Most make between £21,450 and £35,750.
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health counsellors help people suffering from a very broad spectrum of mental illnesses. They create treatment plans, help evaluate the effectiveness of medication and counsel people through emotional disorders, addiction, stress and even suicide attempts. For their services, most are paid between £17,550 and £29,250. The highest paying salaries come from hospitals and government agencies.
Rehabilitation counsellors assess people with disabilities or injuries to determine what or how much functioning they have, and help the individual find a job or relearn skills needed at home. These counsellors work with the client and the client's family, employer, school or residential facility to help the client's transition and be successful at using vocational and life skills. Most make between £14,950 and £25,350. Residential care facilities pay the least, while hospitals and government agencies pay the highest.
The Highest Wages
The highest wages overall, in any group, were the counsellors who either worked for the government, had their own practices or participated in a group counselling practice.