Mental Health Counseling Salaries

How much do mental health counselors make?

In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average salary of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in the U.S. was $51,550. This places the occupation one of the highest out of most counseling incomes, as shown in the table below.

Counseling Occupations Oregon Annual
Mean Wage
U.S Annual
Mean Wage
Difference
Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors $65,380 $62,320
$3,060
Marriage and Family Therapists $57,570 $56,890
$680
Rehabilitation Counselors $43,870 $42,080
$1,790
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors $59,800 $51,550
$8,250
Counselors, All Other $53,680 $50,800 $2,880

U.S. Mean Annual Wage for Mental Health Counselors (USD)

Source: Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Mental health therapist counsels women in sweater

Job Outlook for Mental Health Counselors

In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will grow 23% between 2020 and 2030, which is "much faster" than the average growth rate for all occupations. At that time, the BLS estimated that there were 327,500 people working in these fields in the U.S., which means that a 23% increase would add 75,100 new mental health counseling jobs, bringing the total up to 402,600 by 2030.

The BLS cited increased demand for counseling due to the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on many individuals’ mental health. New York Times reported in February 2021 that mental health providers are struggling to keep up with the demand of new patients with anxiety and depression on the rise. A study concluded that almost 190 million emergency department visits found that visit rates for mental health conditions, suicide attempts, drug overdoses, and child abuse and neglect were higher in mid-March through October 2020 than the same period in 2019.