While it is never a wise decision to base your career decisions on potential wages, it is important to be aware of the average salary of a marriage counselor to determine if this mental health position will provide the monetary benefits you need to excel. Marriage counselors have the emotionally rewarding job of helping married couples manage and overcome the problems in their relationship for improved well-being. Beyond the obvious emotional benefits of providing assistance to those in need, becoming a marriage counselor also comes with financial rewards in a very healthy paycheck. In fact, CNN Money has recognized marriage therapists for having the 42nd best job in America with a sizeable six-figure salary potential. Read on to learn more about the average compensation provided to counselors keeping marriages strong.
Average Annual Salary for Marriage Counselors
There are approximately 29,060 marriage and family therapists employed across the United States to treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of relational systems. In delivering their specialized services to individuals, couples, partners, and families, marriage counselors earn an average annual wage of $51,690, which is equivalent to making $24.85 per hour. While the bottom 10% in the profession earn less than $29,980 each year, the top 10% of marriage counselors with the most experience bring home more than $78,580 annually. At the highest level of the field, marriage counselors have the potential to make a top pay of up to $120,000 each year.
Salary Potential According to Practice Setting
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of a marriage counselor will vary slightly based on his or her place of practice. The highest percentage of marriage therapists are employed in individual and family services, where they earn an annual mean salary of $45,160. Marriage counselors who are employed at residential care facilities, community clinics, and emergency relief services typically earn significantly less than average at around $39,900 each year. However, marriage counselors can bring home much more than others in the field by obtaining employment in the state government, home healthcare services, or local government, where they can earn $65,840, $56,920, and $56,850 respectively.
Marriage Counselor Salaries by Location
Geographic location also plays a prominent role in how large or small a marriage counselor's total yearly earnings will be as well. In the United States, the top-paying state for marriage and family therapists to seek employment is New Jersey, which boasts a very high average wage of $71,250 each year. Since there are a limited number of marriage counselors working in Wyoming and Nevada, both of these states feature very high salary potential at an average of $64,270 and $59,750 annually. Furthermore, the top-paying metropolitan area is Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina, where marriage counselors break the bank with $80,310 each year.
Overall, becoming a marriage counselor is an excellent idea for graduate students who have received a calling to collect the emotional and financial rewards of helping couples navigate through the complex challenges that come with relationships. In order to start receiving the salary of a marriage counselor, you will need to earn a master's degree related to marriage and family therapy from an accredited institution and receive state licensure to practice.