Salary and Benefits

November 28, 2008

Mental-health counselor

Pay: The 1,600 salaried mental-health counselors in the Seattle-Tacoma- Bellevue area earned a median $40,500 a year in 2007, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The middle half earned between $33,930 and $50,560. These estimates do not include the growing number of counselors who are self-employed. Those who have well-established solo or group practices usually have the highest earnings.

The job: Licensed mental-health counselors work with individuals, families and groups to address and treat mental and emotional disorders. They are trained in a variety of therapeutic techniques, and also help with family, parenting, marital or other relationship problems.

Demand: Employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016.

Training, licensing: Licensing in this state requires graduation from a master's or doctoral program in mental-health counseling or a related field from an approved college or university. Then it requires a minimum of three years of full-time counseling or 3,000 hours of postgraduate counseling under the supervision of a qualified professional.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

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