The Highest - paying Counseling Jobs

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Counseling jobs may not normally be associated with the idea of �highest paying jobs,� but within the counseling industry there are certainly some positions that pay more lucratively than others. There are a number of different types of counseling jobs that are all included in the same industry, including school counselor jobs, counseling service jobs, and career counselor jobs just to name a few. Some counseling jobs are home counseling jobs, while others are found within companies and organizations. There are a number of different factors that contribute to what salary can be expected for a counseling job, including the nature of the work, geographical location of the work, experience and qualifications necessary for the job, time spent on the job, and what company, organization, or agency the job is currently being offered by. Here is a look at some of the characteristics that determine the best counseling jobs based on which are the highest-paying.

There are a myriad of job opportunities available for counselors, and job openings are expected to continue exceeding the number of graduates who are leaving counseling programs and entering the workplace. Obviously the best counseling jobs, or the highest-paying and most lucrative counseling jobs, are going to generate more interest than other counseling jobs. Luckily, because there are so many different types of counseling jobs, there is a large selection to choose from and plenty of healthy competition to take advantage of within the industry. More than 47 percent of all counselors are employed in the healthcare and social assistance industry, and another 11 percent of all counselors are employed in local government.

Here are some examples of some of the best counseling jobs:

  • Elementary school counselors
  • High school counselors
  • Vocational counselors (employment or career counselors)
  • Rehabilitation counselors
  • Mental health counselors
  • Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors
  • Marriage and family counselors
  • Gerontological counselors
  • Multicultural counselors
  • Genetic counselors
There are education and training requirements for counselors in all of these fields, and they often vary significantly based on both state and specialty. These requirements are often quite detailed and can contribute heavily to the salary expectations for the position in question. Prospective counselors would benefit from checking with their state and local government as well as with employers in their local area to find out what types of requirements apply and, more importantly, how they have an impact on salary expectations. Both geographical location and qualification requirements can play a large role in determining salary expectations for different counseling jobs. Another large contributing factor when it comes to counseling jobs is the specialty in question, as some counseling positions obviously require more specialized knowledge, experience, and practice than others.

Another contributing factor to determining the highest-paying counseling jobs is the licensure that is required. Requirements for licensure are different based on state and location, specialty, and the work setting in question. School counselors in some states are required to hold state school counseling certification as well as to have completed some graduate coursework, but these positions will also offer better pay in most circumstances. On this same note, many school counselor jobs will require a master's degree, but these also come with a higher salary, making them some of the best counseling jobs that are available in most areas.

There were approximately 635,000 counselor jobs filled in 2006. Employment was distributed between educational, vocational, and school counselors, rehabilitation counselors, mental health counselors, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, marriage and family counselors, and all other counselors as follows:
  • Educational, vocational, and school — 260,000 employees
  • Rehabilitation — 141,000 employees
  • Mental health — 100,000 employees
  • Substance abuse and behavioral disorder — 83,000 employees
  • Marriage and family — 25,000 employees
  • All other counselors — 27,000 employees
The median annual earnings for educational, vocational, and school counselors was $47,530 as of May of 2006. The middle 50 percent of these workers earned between $36,120 and $60,990. The lowest 10 percent of workers in this industry earned less than $27,240, while the highest 10 percent of employees earned more than the average at $75,920. School counselors can also earn additional income while working in other jobs or working summers within the school system, making this one of the highest-paying counseling jobs out there. The median annual earnings for industries employing the largest number of school, educational, and vocational counselors are as follows:
  • Elementary school counselors — $53,750
  • Secondary school counselors — $53,750
  • Junior college counselors — $48,240
  • College and university counselors — $41,780
  • Professional school counselors — $41,780
  • Individual and family service counselors — $32,370
  • Vocational rehabilitation service counselors — $31,340
Other counseling positions outside of the scope of school counselor jobs had different median annual earnings. For example, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors only had a median annual earning of $34,040 as of May in 2006. Mental health counselors had a median annual earning of $34,380 as of May in 2006. Rehabilitation counselors had a median annual earning of $29,200. In terms of non-school counseling jobs, the highest-paying counseling jobs tend to be substance abuse, rehabilitation, and mental health disorder counselors, especially when it comes to employers within the government. The second-highest-paying counseling jobs next to these positions are general hospital counseling jobs and counseling service jobs within social service agencies and other similar agencies.
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