Master’s in Counseling Program Guide
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Master's in counseling programs prepare students for careers as licensed counselors, social workers, and psychologists. To earn graduate credentials, candidates typically complete at least 30 credits, which can take 1-2 years depending on the format of their program. Degree plans comprise required coursework like psychopathology, medical aspects of disability, and multicultural counseling. Students complete practicums and round out their training with a capstone project.
The typical graduate student possesses a bachelor's degree in counseling. However, candidates without relevant academic or career experience can still enroll in master's tracks by completing designated prerequisite classes and/or bridge programs. By earning a master's degree in counseling, graduates enjoy greater career prospects and better wages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that those with a master's degree earn, on average, $12,000 more in annual salary than individuals with baccalaureate degrees.
The following guide offers information on the different counseling professions, including their pay potential and licensure/certification requirements. Students can learn how to pick the right master's program based on course structure, graduation timeline, and specialization options. To discover scholarships available to counseling and psychology majors, learners should explore this page.
Related Programs That Might Interest You
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Is Counseling?
Counseling is a field that focuses on assisting individuals, families, and communities in need. Licensed counselors provide a variety of services, including helping clients dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues. Counselors conduct assessments and collaborate with clients and their families to develop treatment plans. These practitioners can also work in schools, assisting students with developmental and social challenges. Furthermore, they can occupy career counseling positions, helping clients apply for skill training programs and employment opportunities.
Students who want to enroll in online counseling master's programs should consult the rankings page to discover the best schools for this field of study. Each ranking contains details on degree plans, course offerings, and concentration options. Candidates can also consult each school's profile for tuition, accreditation, and contact information.
What Can You Do With a Master of Social Work Degree?
Graduates who hold a master's in counseling can enter a variety of careers, each of which serves a specific demographic. These career paths include mental health counseling, school and career counseling, marriage and family counseling, substance abuse and addiction counseling, and rehabilitation counseling. Some master's programs prepare students to enter a specific field of counseling or to work with a particular population of people. However, all counseling programs prepare students to work with a diverse client base and to identify, diagnose, and treat their clients' problems with respect and care. Some fields, such as mental health and substance abuse, may overlap in the type of clients they attract, allowing fluidity between sectors and more job opportunities for graduates.
Common occupations for master's in counseling graduates include:
Mental health counselors treat individuals dealing with disorders such as depression, anxiety, bulimia, anorexia, bipolar disorder, or obsessive compulsive disorder. They may specialize in a certain demographic group, such as children, students, veterans, or the elderly. All licensed clinical counselors must hold at least a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $44,630*
School counselors help students meet academic goals or address certain academic or behavioral problems that may affect their success in school. They may help students create better study habits or address problems with bullying. Career counselors help people identify and achieve their career goals or help people transition into a new field. Most school and career counselors hold a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $56,310*
Marriage and family therapists provide counseling and guidance to couples and families. They may help their clients navigate difficult or stressful transitions, such as divorce, separation, adoption, job loss, or death. Marriage and family therapists help clients create strategies, improve communication, and implement healthy behavioral changes.
Median Annual Salary: $50,090*
Substance abuse counselors help those dealing with drug and alcohol addictions. They work with clients and their families to identify problems and develop a plan of treatment, often helping their clients mend relationships or regain employment. They may also connect clients with outside resources, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Licensed substance abuse counselors must hold a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $44,630*
Rehabilitation counselors help people with a physical, mental, behavioral, or social disabilities pursue independent, healthy, and productive lives. They may work with doctors and psychologists to create rehabilitation plans that suit their clients' needs. Many help their clients access outside resources to accommodate their disability. Rehabilitation counselors typically possess a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $35,630*
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Laura Morlok is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and registered play therapist (RPT) based in Damascus, Maryland. She earned her master's in counseling in 2010, and works as a therapist for children, adolescents, and families in multiple settings, including private practice, acute inpatient treatment, and a partial hospitalization program. She also provides supervision to recent graduates and other clinicians.
After earning my undergraduate degree in psychology, minoring in sociology, I knew that I loved psychology but had no idea where that left me for career options. I also knew I wanted to work with kids one-on-one or in small groups, but that teaching wasn’t quite the right fit.
It turned out that an amazing therapist and professor was my neighbor and that’s how I learned about Johns Hopkins University’s counseling program, as well as their play therapy certificate. I started researching and it just clicked -- play therapy, yes, this is it!
Listening, listening, listening! If your clients don’t feel heard then you aren’t providing them with a safe space. But if you can give them a safe space and truly connect with your clients, everything else will almost be easy.
[Having an] understanding of different theories of counseling and psychology is invaluable. It helps me to conceptualize what’s going on with a client and form a plan of action, all based on the theories I connect with.
Connections are so important. I was lucky enough to have already been working as an office manager at a group therapy and testing practice, so I was able to intern there and then eventually become a contractor. In order to earn the hours and get the supervision necessary to get my full license as an LCPC (licensed clinical professional counselor), as well as have benefits, I found another job at a psychiatric hospital.
A big thing I believe is missing from graduate programs is the business side of things. How does insurance work? How do you run a private practice? What about nonprofits? In our career counseling course, the most valuable thing we did was create a well-crafted resume that I was able to use for my applications.
To the best of my (limited) knowledge, most undergraduate degree options aren’t in counseling but in psychology, so this is more about selecting a grad program.
CACREP accreditation should be your #1 criteria. Rule out any school that doesn’t have it. This accreditation assures that your education has met a certain standard that employers and even some licensing boards are looking for.
I chose JHU for its reputation as well as it’s location. I was able to attend the vast majority of my classes at a satellite campus near where I worked and lived. If classes are hard to attend, that’s just one more stressor to manage!
Find an amazing supervisor AND an amazing personal therapist. They will be invaluable. Get jobs that will complement your studies -- admin assistant or office manager for a therapy practice, for instance.
Once I knew I wanted to become a therapist, I had to decide to pursue either a master’s degree or a doctorate. I was specifically interested in a Psy.D. and even applied to some programs. Ultimately, it came down to a choice about debt and what my career goals were. Knowing I wanted to do counseling, not testing/assessment, teaching, or research, a master’s made the most sense.
Continuing education is extremely important in counseling, because 1. most licenses require it (I can’t speak to all states, but in the ones I’m aware of), and 2. it keeps you invigorated and connected to what’s going on in the field. You can always find a new technique to try out or a new approach to explore, to be more flexible in meeting the needs of your clients.
Counseling is such a personal and vulnerable experience. In my opinion, an online teaching format cannot fully capture that unless they also include in-person and video components. You also miss out on local networking opportunities, though that may only be applicable if you end up practicing in the same state your college is located in. For me, I’m still connected to many people from my graduate program, and we are a source of referrals for one another.
This is a super hard question to answer because the process is HUGE. Highlights:
- Learn from others. If you can, be part of another practice and learn the ropes. Ask about the business side, go to marketing meetings -- watch what other people are doing and see what you do and don’t like.
- Hire an attorney and an accountant. The up-front cost of those professionals will pale in comparison to the cost of fixing a major mistake down the road.
- Networking! Meet other professionals -- people you can refer to who may refer to you and who can help you along.
It surprised me how much I actually like the business side and the strategy, while at the same time the related anxiety about it can keep me up at night writing emails in my head.
Master's in counseling students should access the career page linked below to learn more about the profession. The guide provides information on job options, entry requirements, and salary potential. Candidates also gain insight into professional development opportunities.
What Can I Expect From an MSW Program?
This section provides a general overview of what students can expect from a master's in counseling program. Although counseling programs tend to share some fundamental characteristics, different programs and schools may offer unique courses, specializations, and requirements, meaning details may vary depending on the school and the specific graduate program.
Concentrations Offered for a Master's Degree in Counseling
In this concentration, students learn how to identify and treat those with mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder or depression. They also learn how to help people navigate difficult life events, such as death, physical illness, or abuse. Students may specialize in a certain population groups, such as elderly people, veterans, women, or children.
In this concentration, students learn how to help students of various ages achieve their academic goals. They explore topics relating to lifespan development, social justice, group dynamics, and cultural contexts. Some programs offer certifications in areas like LGBTQ health, bilingual school counseling, and social services.
In this concentration, students learn how to help people dealing with drug or alcohol addiction. As part of learning how to treat and prevent substance abuse, they explore topics in human development, counseling techniques, psychopathology and treatment, the neurobiology of addiction, and the ethics of counseling.
In this concentration, students learn about family systems and psychotherapy in order to address problems within relationships and families. They learn to help couples struggling with abuse, sexual disorders, depression, or failing communication. They may also help families struggling with divorce, addiction, or the death of a family member. Some work with families of children who struggle with emotional or behavioral disorders.
In this concentration, students learn how to help people who suffer from physical, behavioral, mental, or social disabilities. In addition to the fundamentals of counseling, students explore medical and psychosocial aspects of disability and ethical and legal issues in counseling.
Curriculum for a Master's Degree in Counseling
Every master's in counseling program offers its own unique selection of courses, focusing on different concentration areas or specific subjects within the field. However, a few courses that explore the fundamentals of counseling typically appear as part of a master's in counseling curriculum. A sampling of these courses appear below.
This foundational course, necessary for all fields of counseling, explores the fundamental theories and research methods of counseling. It examines typical problems in counseling, using case histories as examples. During the course, students develop their own philosophy of counseling, which they can apply to their studies and practice going forward.
This course explores the legal and ethical standards and principles that guide the field of counseling. Students familiarize themselves with the philosophical foundations of the field and ethical codes used in practice. Legal topics include confidentiality, client rights, and mental health laws. This course is applicable to all areas of counseling.
In this course, students learn about the cultural influences that can affect counseling and the counselor-client relationship. It explores topics such as racism, ageism, sexism, and personal bias against certain cultural groups. Students entering any field of counseling benefit from the skills gained in this course.
This course looks at how factors like genes, parental influence, and peer influence can affect human development over a lifespan. Learners study the development of gender identity, intelligence, morals, language, and perception. Students in all fields of counseling benefit from this course.
In this course, students learn effective strategies for group counseling, exploring the theories and principles behind group process and group leadership. Learners studying to become substance abuse, family, or school counselors may find this course especially useful.
How to Choose a Master's in Counseling Program
Before applying to master's programs in counseling, students should consider each program's location, duration, cost, and requirements.
The location of a school matters for several reasons. Foremost, students hesitant to relocate or quit their job for school should research schools in their area or consider earning an online master's in counseling. Location may also determine where students complete their practicum or internship requirements; schools in rural locations may require learners to travel to fulfill these requirements.
Students should also research their school's location to decide if the area fits with their lifestyle. Does it offer amenities like hospitals, airports, and recreation? What kind of weather can you expect? If considering an on-campus program, learners should think about whether they want to live in an area before applying to school there.
Students should also consider the length and cost of the program. Does the school offer accelerated courses? Does it require a full-time commitment or can students enroll part time? Working professionals should consider whether they can keep their job while they pursue their degree. Night or distance course options typically allow students to continue working while they pursue their degree, a boon that can help learners finance their degree. Other financial considerations include in-state versus out-of-state tuition rates, scholarship offerings, and cost of living in the school's area.
Students should make sure their program meets their academic and career goals. Some schools may offer different specializations than others; learners should check that their program offers the concentration area they wish to pursue. Students should also browse the program's course offerings.
In a similar vein, learners should understand the program's requirements for graduation and feel prepared to meet these requirements. Most master's in counseling programs demand some kind of internship or practicum experience. Depending on the state or school, learners may also need to complete a thesis or capstone requirement. Prospective students should also research their program's accreditation, a topic discussed in greater detail below.
Master's in Counseling Admission Requirements
Like many graduate programs, master's programs in counseling feature a somewhat involved application process. Applicants must submit several documents, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, an essay, and a resume. Some programs may require applicants to demonstrate specific academic, professional, or volunteer-related experience. Some programs may require students to demonstrate a history of undergraduate coursework related to social sciences. Other programs may prefer candidates who possess experience working, volunteering, or performing research in a context relating to mental health. School counseling programs may prefer students with experience teaching or working with children.
Applying to schools involves a commitment of time and money. Prospective students should take time to research where they want to apply. When deciding how many schools to apply to, learners should first decide where they want to study, considering factors like location, cost, academic goals, and the likelihood of acceptance. A good rule of thumb suggests applying to five schools: two you feel confident about, two that boast a more competitive pool of applicants, and one dream school.
Give yourself plenty of time to complete an application. Most schools require prospective students to submit their application by late October or early December; learners should start thinking about their applications as early as August.
Most graduate programs require transcripts from all postsecondary institutions you've attended. Most schools provide their graduates with a free PDF of their transcript (these count as unofficial transcripts) but charge a fee, typically around $10, for each official transcript.
Most programs require three letters of recommendation. These letters should come from people who can attest to your academic ability and character. Good choices include former professors or people who supervised you in a professional context related to counseling. Out of courtesy, ask your recommenders at least two months before you need the letter.
Counseling graduate programs typically require applicants to submit their general GRE scores. Some schools may also require the psychology subject test, while others may consider the subject test optional. Nonnative English speakers may also need to submit their TOEFL scores.
Application fees can range anywhere from $40 to over $100, depending on the school. Students who demonstrate financial need (typically evidenced through tax returns) can typically receive a fee waiver.
Programmatic Accreditation for Master's in Counseling Programs
Programmatic accreditation means that an outside accreditation agency reviewed a school's program and determined that it meets certain standards of quality in the field. Graduate counseling programs most often receive accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Another accrediting body, the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council, also accredits master's in counseling programs. Other relevant accrediting bodies include the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education and the American Psychological Association. For students who want to pursue a career in licensed counseling, CACREP generally serves as the most significant accrediting body.
Counseling students should make sure that their program boasts accreditation from CACREP. Currently, six states require that students pursuing their professional license hold a degree from a CACREP-accredited program. In other words, holding a degree from a school without programmatic accreditation may disqualify graduates from gaining licensure in their state. Some states may also feature reduced licensing requirements for students who hold a degree from a CACREP-accredited program.
Featuring the highest employment level for mental health counselors, California boasted 15,300 of these professionals in 2016. Mental health counselors in California earn an annual mean wage of $47,070. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale area reports the highest concentration of mental health counselor employment. Napa represents the top-paying metropolitan area for mental health counselors in the U.S., paying an annual mean wage of $72,630 -- nearly $30,000 more than the average U.S. salary.
Rehabilitation counselors in California enjoy the highest employment levels in the country, with 13,710 of these professionals contributing to the state's workforce in 2017. These counselors earn a mean annual wage of $35,650. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale metropolitan area employs the second most rehabilitation counselors. The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area reports the ninth-highest employment levels for rehabilitation counselors in the entire country.
Mental health counselors in Pennsylvania enjoy the second-highest employment level in the United States for the occupation, with the state reporting 13,020 of these employees in 2016. The annual mean salary for these professionals in the state reaches $43,480. Pennsylvania boasts the third-highest concentration of mental health counselor jobs and location quotients, and Philadelphia's metropolitan division features the sixth-highest level of mental health counselor employment numbers among U.S. metropolitan areas. Pittsburgh boasts the eighth highest.
Counselors at rehabilitation centers work to help individuals gain their independence in the face of illness, birth defects, accidents, or daily stress. Rehabilitation counselors in Pennsylvania enjoy the second-highest employment levels in the country. In 2017, Pennsylvania reported 8,020 rehabilitation counselors, earning a mean annual wage of $37,960.
Mental health counselors emphasize prevention by helping individuals and groups work toward emotional and mental health. These counselors often deal with substance abuse and addiction issues. With 8,980 mental health counselors reported in 2016, Virginia employs the third-most mental health counselors in the United States. The annual mean wage for these professionals stands at $48,310.
Virginia boasts the highest concentration of mental health counselor positions in the country. The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metropolitan area boasts the eighth-highest concentration of mental health counselor jobs in the U.S.
Employing the fourth most mental health counselors in the United States, New York represents an ideal environment for counselors. Mental health counselors in New York receive an annual mean wage of $42,070. The New York-Jersey City-White Plains area boasts the second-highest employment level for a metropolitan area in the country for the mental health counselor occupation.
Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors in New York counsel individuals and groups, providing vocational and educational guidance services. New York employs the third-highest number of counselors in this specialization, with a reported 22,430 employees in 2017. Also the fourth-highest paying state for the occupation, New York counselors earn an annual mean wage of $67,100, compared to the national mean wage of $58,620. Ithaca, New York features the highest concentration of jobs for counseling professionals.
Fifth on the list for states with the highest mental health counselor employment levels in the country, Massachusetts reported 6,830 of these professionals in 2016. Mental health counselors in Massachusetts earn an annual mean salary of $45,030, slightly above the national mean of $46,050. The Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton area boasts the sixth-highest concentration of jobs in the country for mental health counselors.
The northwest Massachusetts nonmetropolitan area reports the highest concentration of jobs for a nonmetropolitan area in mental health counseling. Moreover, the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area reports the 10th-highest employment levels for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors in a metropolitan area; these counselors earn an annual mean wage of $70,880.
Featuring the second-highest concentration of jobs in the mental health counselor occupation for the United States, Montana reported 1,030 jobs in the field for 2016. Montana's mental health counselors earn an annual mean salary of $40,210. Missoula, Montana ranks fourth on the list of metropolitan areas for the highest concentration of jobs in the mental health counselor occupation, featuring 230 employees.
The southwest Montana nonmetropolitan area features the second-highest employment numbers in a nonmetropolitan area for the mental health counselor occupation, with 460 employees. This same area boasts the fourth-highest concentration of mental health counselors, who earn an annual mean wage of $38,140.
Mental health counselors in the state of Vermont experience the fourth-highest concentration of jobs in the country, with 670 employees. Northern Vermont reports the second-highest concentration of mental health counselor jobs in a nonmetropolitan area, with 250 employees. Professionals in this area earn an annual mean wage of $40,770.
In Vermont, mental health counselors can expect a projected growth rate of 14.8% over the next decade -- much higher than the national average. Individuals who want to pursue high-paying industries with mental health counselor positions should seek management, scientific, and technical consulting services.
With the fifth-highest concentration of mental health counselor jobs in the country, Colorado reported 5,100 employees in 2016. Mental health counselors in the state enjoy an above-average annual mean wage of $48,930. The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area registers the seventh-highest employment level for mental health counselor occupations in a metropolitan area, boasting 2,650 employees in these positions.
Grand Junction, Colorado comes in at number five on the list of metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs for mental health counselors, with 230 employees. The eastern and southern Colorado nonmetropolitan area features the fifth-highest concentration of jobs in a nonmetropolitan area for the occupation, with 200 employees.
Mental health counselors treat clients struggling with addiction, substance abuse, self-esteem, stress management, aging, and parenting, family, and marital problems. Alaska represents the top-paying state for mental health counselors in the United States, with these professionals earning an annual mean wage of $65,520 -- significantly higher than the national mean salary for mental health counselors. Fairbanks, Alaska boasts the second-highest concentration of jobs in a metropolitan area, with 170 jobs.
Anchorage, Alaska marks the second highest-paying metropolitan area for mental health counselors, reporting an annual mean wage of $69,360. The top-paying nonmetropolitan areas are Southeast Alaska and Balance of Alaska, which hold first and second place, respectively. Mental health counselors in Southeast Alaska earn an annual mean wage of $71,310, and those in the Balance of Alaska nonmetropolitan area earn $67,590. Alaska represents the top-paying state for rehabilitation counselors, as well, offering an annual mean wage of $60,840.
Mental health counselors enjoy high salary opportunities in Utah, the second-highest paying state for the occupation in the country. These professionals in Utah enjoy a mean annual wage of $61,080 -- significantly higher than the national mean salary. Salt Lake City reports the seventh-highest salary for mental health counselors in metropolitan areas, offering an annual mean wage of $63,970.
The Provo-Orem, Utah metropolitan area boasts the 10th-highest concentration of jobs for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors, with 990 jobs. These professionals earn an annual mean wage of $45,510.
Wyoming features the third-highest annual mean wage for mental health counselors in the United States, with an mean salary of $58,020. These professionals earn $12,000 more each year than U.S. mental health counselors, who earn a mean salary of $46,050 per year. In Wyoming, mental health counselors occupy 320 jobs. The northwest Wyoming nonmetropolitan area stands as the fourth-highest paying nonmetropolitan area for mental health counselors, offering an annual mean wage of $63,810. The southwest Wyoming nonmetropolitan area trails behind as the fifth highest paying, with an annual mean wage of $63,440.
With such high salary opportunities for mental health counselors, Wyoming proves an ideal working environment for these professionals. Individuals can access the Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board to review the licensing requirements that they must meet in order to practice mental health counseling in the state.
The fourth highest-paying state for mental health counselors in the United States, these professionals in Oregon earn an annual mean wage of $55,670. Moreover, mental health counselors from Oregon hold 2,720 jobs. The Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metropolitan area employs the 10th-most mental health counselors in the U.S, with 2,100 employees.
Bend-Redmond, Oregon serves as the fourth-highest paying metropolitan area for mental health counselors, who earn an annual mean wage of $65,730. Mental health counselors in this area account for 50 jobs -- a below-average concentration relative to the area's overall population. Those aspiring to become mental health counselors in Oregon can learn more online through the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors & Therapists website.
Counselors can choose from a variety of specialization options in New Jersey. One of the best options for counselors to pursue in the state is the marriage and family therapist occupation. New Jersey features the second-highest employment level in the country for marriage and family therapists, boasting 4,220 employees. New Jersey also offers the highest concentration of marriage and family therapist jobs in the United States.
New Jersey features bountiful employment opportunities for marriage and family therapists and registers as the highest-paying state for the occupation -- boasting a mean annual wage of $74,130. New Jersey's mean wage substantially surpasses the U.S.' mean wage of $53,860. The New York-Jersey City-White Plains area comes in as the second-highest employment level for a metropolitan area in the occupation with 2,090 employees.
Boasting the second-highest employment level for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors in the United States, Texas employs 23,980 counselors. The annual wage for these professionals, $57,980, nearly matches the U.S. mean of $57,620. The Texas metropolitan area of Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land employs the seventh-most educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors among U.S. metropolitan areas, featuring 5,030 employees. The metro area of College Station-Bryan, Texas comes in as the fourth-highest concentration of jobs in a metropolitan area for school counselors, with 620 professionals.
The nonmetropolitan area of North Texas boasts the highest employment for a nonmetropolitan area in the school counselor occupation, with 730 employees. These counselors earn an annual mean wage of $52,650.
Counselors seeking abundant career opportunities might look for employment as educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors in Florida, which boasts the fourth-highest employment level of these professionals in the country. Counselors interested in working with individuals who struggle with personal, social, and vocational difficulties related to illness, accidents, defects, or disease might work as rehabilitation counselors.
The metropolitan area of Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville in Florida ranks as the 10th highest-paying metropolitan area for rehabilitation counselors in the United States, offering an annual mean wage of $55,060. Counselors with an interest in diagnosing and treating emotional and mental disorders in the context of marriage and family settings might pursue a career as a marriage and family therapists. Florida boasts the third-highest employment level for marriage and family therapists, with 3,290 employees.
Featuring the fifth-highest level of employment for the educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselor occupation, Illinois employs 11,180 of these employees. The Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights area reports the third-highest employment level in the occupation for a metropolitan area, with 7,350 employees. The metropolitan area of Carbondale-Marion, Illinois serves as the eighth-highest concentration of these professionals in a metropolitan area, employing 240 employees. These counselors enjoy a mean annual salary of $38,100.
Rehabilitation counselors counsel individuals to maximize their independence and employability as they cope with social, vocational, and personal struggles resulting from illness, birth defects, disease, stress, or accidents. The Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights area boasts the 10th-highest employment level in a metropolitan area for the occupation, with 1,350 employees.
Boasting the second-highest concentration of jobs in the United States for the educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselor occupation, Connecticut employs 4,780 counselors. These professionals earn an annual mean wage of $64,910 -- above the national mean salary for these employees, which sits at $58,620. Danbury, Connecticut serves as the second-highest paying metropolitan area for the occupation, paying counselors an annual mean wage of $81,650.
Counselors in Connecticut can also pursue careers as marriage and family therapists who diagnose and treat emotional and mental disorders within the marriage and family context. The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut metropolitan area represents the ninth-highest paying area for the marriage and family therapist occupation, paying an annual mean wage of $71,740.
Arizona counselors interested in applying psychotherapeutic and family systems techniques in the delivery of services to couples, families, and individuals can work as marriage and family therapists. Boasting the fourth-highest employment level in the occupation, Arizona features 1,510 marriage and family therapists. Arizona also holds the fourth-highest concentration of jobs in the occupation.
Salary remains one of the most important factors for individuals to consider when choosing a state in which they want to pursue a career. The fifth-highest paying state for the occupation, Arizona pays marriage and family therapists an annual mean wage of $64,480. The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona metropolitan area features the seventh-highest employment level in a metropolitan area, with 950 employees.
Hawaii boasts the third-highest pay for marriage and family therapists in the United States: an annual mean wage of $67,020. The Hawaii/Kauai nonmetropolitan area represents the top-paying nonmetropolitan area for the occupation in the United States, with an annual mean wage of $74,350. Hawaii boasts the fourth-highest concentration of jobs in the educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselor occupation, with 1,590 employees.
Mental health counselors in Hawaii's Hawaii/Kauai metropolitan area enjoy the third-highest pay for a metropolitan area, earning an annual mean wage of $64,260. The state features high-paying counseling jobs across disciplines, allowing professionals to choose from a variety of rewarding opportunities.
Counseling professionals can pursue a variety of career opportunities depending on their area of expertise, educational background, and personal interests. Some of the key areas counselors can practice in Georgia include marriage and family therapy, school counseling, career counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and mental health counseling. Providing a variety of guidance services to clients from diverse backgrounds, educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors in Georgia enjoy a high concentration of jobs in the occupation, with 9,550 professionals.
The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area represents the fourth-highest metropolitan area for school counselor employment, with 6,160 employees. Athens-Clarke County, Georgia features the third-highest concentration of jobs for the occupation in a metropolitan area, with 540 employees. These counselors earn an annual mean wage of $48,270.
With the fifth-highest employment level for rehabilitation counselors, Ohio employs 5,050 counselors and pays an annual mean wage of $40,010. Rehabilitation counselors in Ohio earn roughly the same as rehabilitation counselors nationwide, who bring in an annual mean wage of $38, 950. The West Northwestern Ohio nonmetropolitan area registers as the third-highest employer for the occupation in a nonmetropolitan area, with 380 rehabilitation counselors. Trailing close behind, the North Northeastern Ohio nonmetropolitan area holds the fourth spot, with 340 employed.
Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors also enjoy numerous opportunities for employment in Ohio. The North Northeastern Ohio nonmetropolitan area features the highest employment level for a nonmetropolitan area in the occupation, with 830 jobs.
Counselors in Idaho can choose from a variety of career opportunities depending on their area of interest and expertise. Mental health counselors in Pocatello, Idaho enjoy the 10th-highest concentration of jobs in a metropolitan area for their occupation: 110.
Idaho Falls features the ninth-highest pay for mental health counselors, who earn an annual mean wage of $62,460. Individuals can review the counseling board in Iowa for information regarding how to gain the proper licensure to practice mental health counseling. Undergraduate counseling programs often feature mental health counseling as a specialization option, preparing students with the skills they need to thrive in a mental health counselor role.
The East Washington nonmetropolitan area features the highest pay for a nonmetropolitan area for the rehabilitation counselor occupation, with an annual mean wage of $62,850. These professionals constitute 80 jobs in the area. The metropolitan area of Olympia-Tumwater, Washington stands as the third-highest paying metropolitan area for rehabilitation counselors, paying an annual mean wage of $64,870. Lewiston boasts the fifth-highest concentration of jobs among metropolitan areas, with 100 employees.
The Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington Metropolitan division ranks seventh on the list for the rehabilitation counselor occupation in the United States with 1,860 employees. These professionals earn an annual mean wage of $47,910. Counselors in Washington should consider pursuing a rehabilitation counselor position for a plethora of opportunities.
Oklahoma opens a lot of different doors to counselors in the state, providing opportunities for professionals from a variety of backgrounds. The Southwest Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area offers the fourth-highest concentration of jobs and the highest location quotient for the marriage and family therapist occupation in a nonmetropolitan area, with 50 employees and a location quotient of 2.52. Additionally, the southwest Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area boasts the fourth-highest employment level in the occupation.
School and career counselors in Oklahoma also enjoy a variety of benefits. The northeast Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area offers the fourth-highest concentration of jobs in the occupation, with 550 employees. The northeast Oklahoma metropolitan area shows the highest employment levels in the occupation. No matter what their discipline is, counseling professionals in Oklahoma can find a career that works for them.
Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals to maximize their employability and independence while coping with vocational, social, and personal difficulties resulting from disease, illness, birth defects, stress, and accidents. These counselors assess client needs and design rehabilitation programs that include vocational and personal counseling, job placement, and training. Rhode Island proves a great state for rehabilitation counselors to pursue a career.
Rhode Island stands as the third highest-paying state for rehabilitation counselors, offering an annual mean wage of $55,520. The state employs 520 professionals as rehabilitation counselors, each enjoying high salary opportunities and the ability to advance their earning potential through continued experience and education. Professionals can access the state board website for information on gaining licensure to practice professionally as a counselor.
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