Clinical Mental Health Counselor Salary: What You’ll Make and Why

Clinical mental health counselors make around $46,605 to $88,731 on average in the US, depending on experience, location, skills, and other factors.

According to various salary aggregate websites, a clinical mental health counselor’s salary in the US ranges between $46,605 and $88,731, with an average salary of $58,732. As of June 2022, the base salaries for clinical mental health counselors are listed as follows:


Keep in mind: Salary aggregate websites typically rely on data submitted anonymously by individuals using their site. Some websites may have received larger amounts of data of either higher or lower than average salaries, which may affect the site’s calculated average.

Read more: What Is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor? How to Become One

What influences a salary?

Your salary as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC) can be impacted by a variety of factors, including your education, experience, and geographic location. Here’s a closer look at how these factors may affect your earnings.

Years of experience

Salary increases are generally tied to your experience level. In general, the more years you spend working as a clinical mental health counselor, the more you can expect to earn. Here’s how experience can impact your clinical mental health counselor salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Compensation Survey.

Level of experienceSalary
Entry-level (less than 1 year)$38,963
Early career (1 to 4 years)$45,622
Mid career (5 to 9 years)$57,236
Experienced (10 to 19 years)$70,364
Late career (20+ years)$89,664

Where you live can also impact how much you can make as a clinical mental health counselor. Typically, working in a large metropolitan area correlates to a higher salary, as well as a higher cost of living.

Here is a list of some major cities with their corresponding average clinical mental health counselor salary according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CityAverage Salary
San Francisco, CA$72,495
Portland, OR$71,993
Salt Lake City, UT$71,697
New York City, NY$69,863
Las Vegas, NV$68,552
Indianapolis, IN$51,018
Milwaukee, WI$50,084
New Orleans, LA$49,572
Tampa Bay, FL$48,751
Nashville, TN$47,384

How does this compare to similar jobs?

Here’s how a clinical mental health counselor’s salary stacks up against similar jobs.

Related JobsAverage Salary
Licensed Professional Counselor$70,077
Licensed Clinical Social Worker$72,809
Marriage and Family Therapist$75,684
Substance Abuse Counselor$43,789
Behavioral Health Counselor$49,980
Mental Health Therapist$64,641
School Counselor$59,877
Career Counselor$53,274

How to increase your clinical mental health counselor salary

Now that you have a better idea of what you could expect to earn as a clinical mental health counselor, let’s look at ways to boost your salary.

1. Strengthen your skills

Pursuing and improving in-demand skills could make you more competitive for promotions and higher-paying positions. These skills include:

  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: Understand the theory and practice of this type of therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Understand the theory and practice of this type of therapy
  • Group Therapy: Understand how to facilitate group therapy sessions
  • Family Therapy: Understand how to provide therapy to families affected by mental health conditions
  • Diagnosis and Assessment: Understand how to assess and diagnose mental health conditions
2. Get a good performance review

One way to increase your salary is to make sure you’re doing a great job. If you can get a positive performance review, you’ll be in a much better position to ask for a raise. Make sure you’re meeting all of your goals, and try to go above and beyond what’s expected of you. If you can show that you’re a valuable member of the team, you’ll be more likely to get the salary you deserve.

3. Negotiate your job offer

When you’re offered a job, be sure to negotiate your salary. This is especially important in the mental health field, where counselors are often underpaid. Be prepared to discuss your experience and qualifications, and have a target salary in mind. You may not get exactly what you want, but it’s worth asking for.

Article Sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “National Compensation Survey,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment and Wages,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

3. Payscale. “Clinical Mental Health Counseling Salary,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

4. Ziprecruiter. “Clinical Mental Health Counselor Annual Salary,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

5. Indeed. “Indeed Salary Finder,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

6. “Clinical Mental Health Counselor Salary,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

7. Glassdoor. “Clinical Mental Health Counselor Salaries,,32.htm.” Accessed June 2, 2022.


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