11 Highest Paying Mental Health Careers

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Those who aspire to be a mental healthcare professional, you probably know that having psychology and mental health counseling skills can offer you a high-paying career with ample job stability. Many mental healthcare professionals today can earn salaries that exceed $60,000 in many cases.

To have the best job prospects, it is recommended to earn at least your master’s degree in psychology or mental health counseling. The highest paid mental health professionals often earn their doctoral degree, too. This is required for mental health professionals who want to practice independently of oversight.

To determine which career is the best for you, please review some of the highest paying mental health careers below. Remember that your salary can vary considerably based upon your location and education level.

#1 Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has specialized in diagnosing, treating and preventing serious mental health disorders. They use psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, medication and hospitalization. Psychotherapy has you discussing mental health issues with patients. You will help the patient to find effective solutions for their problems.

Salary: Median pay for psychiatrists is $245,000 per year.

Growth: The job outlook for all physicians is strong, with 14% increase in demand by 2024.

Requirements: You are required to have your MD degree to practice as a psychiatrist, which takes approximately six years after you earn your bachelor’s degree. All physicians must be licensed, but the requirements vary by state.

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#2 Counseling Psychologist

A counseling psychologist helps her patients to deal with and grasp their psychological problems, as well as problems at home, workplace and community. Through extensive counseling, they work with their patients to determine what their strengths and weaknesses are so that they can manage their problems more effectively.

Salary: Median pay for counseling psychologists is $73,200 per year.

Growth: The job outlook for counseling psychologists is strong, with 20% job growth anticipated by 2024.

Requirements: You generally need a doctoral degree to be a counseling psychologist, but you can work on a limited basis with a master’s degree. This would require you to be supervised by another psychologist. You also must complete one or two years of supervised experience and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

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#3 Clinical Psychologist

A clinical psychologist assesses, diagnoses, and treats mental health and emotional disorders. Clinical psychologists assist people to work through their problems, which can range from shorter term personal problems to longer term chronic psychological problems. Clinical psychologists tend to work on the more serious types of mental health problems, whereas counseling psychologists work more on less serious mental health problems.

Salary: Median pay for clinical psychologists is $73,200 per year.

Growth: The job outlook for clinical psychologists is strong, with 20% job growth through 2024.

Requirements: Becoming a clinical psychologist in private practice requires earning a doctoral degree in psychology and having one or two years of supervised clinical work. You also must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

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#4 Clinical Social Worker

A clinical social worker diagnoses and treatments most mental, emotional and behavioral disorders, such as depression and anxiety. They are highly trained social workers who are licensed to provide individual and group therapy to help people with mental health issues and to also help them to overcome challenging situations.

Salary: Median pay for clinical social workers is $60,200 per year.

Growth: The job outlook for clinical social workers is 19% by 2024, which is much faster than average.

Requirements: Becoming a clinical social worker requires a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work. You also are required to have two years of supervised clinical experience and be licensed in your state.

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#5 Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)

An MFT works with individuals and couples to assist them in working through their challenges. Unlike most mental health professionals, MFTs have a more family focused perspective to treatment. This is the case even when they are treating an individual patient. This position evaluates the importance of family roles and development and tries to understand how the family affects the mental health of the person.

Salary: The median salary for MFTs is $42,800 per year.

Growth: Job growth for MFTs will be 19% by 2024, which is much faster than average.

Requirements: This occupation requires at least a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, and a doctoral degree is required to practice in a private setting. At least 2,000 clinical hours are required under supervision of a licensed MFT, and you also must pass a state examination.

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#6 School Counselor

A school counselor helps students to hone their social and academic skills to lead to greater success in school. School counselors specialize in evaluating the abilities of their students by conducting aptitude assessments, individual planning and interviews. They also identify serious problems that affect school performance. These counselors also help students to better grasp any behavioral issues they have that affect their ability to learn.

Salary: The median salary for for school counselors is $54,500.

Growth: Job growth for is anticipated to grow by 8% by 2024, which is about average compared to other professions.

Requirements: To become a school counselor, you generally are required to have a master’s degree in counseling or a related subject. If you work in a public school, you will be required to hold a state-issued license to practice as a school counselor.

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#7 Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

A substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor provides counseling and advice to those who suffer from drug addiction, alcoholism and other types of addictions. They assist patients in getting treatment they need to recover from their addictive behavior. These counselors often use 12-step programs such as the ones used in Alcoholics Anonymous. They help their clients to better cope with stress and the problems of life without turning to dangerous addictions.

Salary: The median salary for these counselors is $41,100 per year.

Growth: Job growth for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors will be a healthy 22% by 2024, which is much faster than average.

Requirements: This occupation requires you to earn at least a bachelor’s degree, and some may earn a master’s degree. To become licensed, you do need to earn a master’s degree and have 2000 or more hours of supervised clinical experience.

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#8 Career Counselor

A career counselor helps people at various ages to determine the best possible career choice for their interests and abilities. Career counselors may work in primary, secondary and postsecondary educational institutions with younger and older students. They pay use achievement and aptitude assessments to assist clients to evaluate their skills, interests and abilities.

Salary: The median salary for career counselors is $54,500 per year.

Growth: Job growth for for career counselors will grow at an average rate of 8% by 2024. This is average compared to other occupations.

Requirements: To work as a career counselor, you generally are required to have a master’s degree in school counseling or career counseling. If you work in a public school, you will be required to hold a state-issued license to practice as a career counselor.

#9 Healthcare Social Worker

Healthcare social workers help patients to grasp their health diagnosis and to make various adjustments to their housing, lives and healthcare. For instance, you may help a patient to make a smooth transition from the hospital to the home. You may provide the person with information on necessary home healthcare and health diagnosis support groups.

Salary: The median salary for healthcare social workers is $53,500.

Growth: Job growth for healthcare social workers will be a strong 19% by 2024.

Requirements: Becoming a healthcare social worker requires a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work (MSW). You also must have two years of supervised clinical experience and hold a license in your state of residence and employment.

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#10 Rehabilitation Counselor

A rehabilitation counselor assists people with various mental, physical and emotional issues to live more independently. They most often work with clients to help them to either manage or overcome their disabilities. These challenges can lead to various problems with working and living independently. You may work with young people to manage their disability so they can go to school. Or you may work with the elderly to adapt to a later in life illness or disability.

Salary: The median salary for a rehabilitation counselor is $34,600 per year.

Growth: Job growth for rehabilitation counselors is anticipated to rise by 9% by 2024, which is faster than average.

Requirements: Rehabilitation counselors usually require a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. Licensing requirements for those in this profession will vary depending upon the state and the exact type of services you provide.

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#11 Behavioral Disorder Counselor

A behavioral disorder counselor also may be called an addiction counselor, and help the patient to overcome various addictions. The most common addictions behavioral disorder counselors work on are alcoholism, drug addiction and food disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.

Salary: The median salary for a behavioral disorder counselor as of 2016 was $41,000 per year.

Growth: Job growth for behavioral disorder counselors is a strong 22% by 2024.

Requirements: To become a behavioral disorder counselor, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree. However, some may earn a master’s degree so that they can work with minimal supervision. To become licensed, you do need to earn a master’s degree and have 2000 or more hours of supervised clinical experience as a behavioral disorder counselor.

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References

  • Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm#tab-4
Sady Brown
Written by Sady Brown
Sady Brown is Editorial Strategist for Nogre.com