LMHC Salary Guide 2023 – How Much Do Licensed Mental Health Counselors Earn?

By psychologyjobs.com Staff Writer

Our career guides are produced by staff writers in conjunction with our expert career coaches. We may earn a referral fee from some links.

An LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) is a mental health professional who provides counseling and therapy services to individuals, couples, and families to help them address and manage a range of emotional and mental health concerns. Learn more about becoming an LMHC.

The average annual salary for an LMHC is $47,660 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here is how an LMHCs salary will likely look over the lifetime of their career:

  • Less than 1 year of experience: $41,000 per year on average
  • 1-4 years of experience: $45,000 per year on average
  • 5-9 years of experience: $50,000 per year on average
  • 10-19 years of experience: $54,000 per year on average
  • 20 or more years of experience: $58,000 per year on average

Find LMHC jobs

Which states pay the highest salaries for LMHCs?

  1. District of Columbia – $69,700
  2. Alaska – $67,930
  3. New Jersey – $66,010
  4. California – $65,820
  5. Connecticut – $64,440

Which cities pay the highest salaries for LMHCs?

  1. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA – $83,230
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA – $74,810
  3. Urban Honolulu, HI – $74,670
  4. Anchorage, AK – $72,500
  5. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA – $72,300

How can you earn more as an LMHC?

Pursue additional training and education

Obtaining a specialized certification in a specific area of mental health counseling, such as substance abuse counseling, trauma-focused therapy, or play therapy, can increase your expertise in a particular area and make you more competitive for higher-paying jobs.

Pursuing an advanced degree, such as a master’s in counselingmaster’s in counseling psychologymaster’s in family counseling or a PhD in counseling psychology or a related field, can make you more competitive for leadership roles or higher-paying positions, such as a director of a mental health clinic or a professor of counseling.

Specialized training in evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or mindfulness-based therapies can make you more competitive for positions that require expertise in these areas.

Consider working for a larger organization

Hospitals, universities, and government agencies may offer higher salaries and better benefits than private practices or smaller clinics.

For example; mental health counselors who work in hospitals earn a mean annual wage of $54,430, in colleges/universities $57,320 and government agencies $54,910, all of which are higher than the mean annual wage for all mental health counselors ($48,720).

How do LMHC salaries compare?

Licensed Mental Health Counselors follow a very similar educational and training path as a Licensed Marriage and Family TherapistAddiction CounselorLicensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Professional Counselors so how do LMHC salaries compare to these roles?