Licensed professional counselors or LPCs provide a wide range of counseling services in many different settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were a total of 665,500 employed in the United States in 2010. The salaries for counselors can vary by geographic location, but they can also vary by the venue in which the counselor works. LPCs in private practice, for example, generally make salaries different than counselors employed by health care facilities.
Types of Counselors
The salary of an LPC depends upon the type counseling services she provides. The Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes LPCs separately as substance abuse counselors, rehabilitation counselors, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors and "all other counselors." The average salary in each of these fields varies somewhat. For instance, marriage and family therapists earned the highest average salary in 2010, making $47,530. Rehabilitation counselors were at the low end in terms of average salary at $35,850 per year.
Private Practice Salaries
The BLS also distinguishes pay within each of these different types of counseling professions by the type of employer or industry in which the counselor works. Counselors in private practice are distinguished as counselors providing individual and family services. Substance abuse counselors providing this type of counseling made an average of $39,220 per year in 2010, while those in marriage and family therapy made an average of $45,430 annually. Mental health counselors averaged $40,260 per year, while rehabilitation counselors made $33,260. All other counselors in private practice made an average of $35,780 annually.
In reality, the actual pay scale for LPCs is unlimited. LPCs in private practice can make as much as they want by taking on as many clients as they can handle. However, in reality, LPCs tend to make salaries somewhere between $20,770 and $72,280 per year, according to the BLS. The lowest paid rehabilitation counselors made $20,770 or less per year, in 2010, according to the BLS, while marriage and family therapists had the highest reported salary at $72,280. Most salaries made by LPCs fell between these two extremes, including those in private practice.
According to the BLS, the job outlook for counselors should be favorable in the period from 2008 to 2018. The number of available jobs for counselors is expected to grow by 18 percent during this time. This does not necessarily include those going into private practice, since they will not necessarily be seeking employment per se. However, this expected job growth does indicate that counseling services will remain in high demand and, in this environment, this should give private practice counselors plenty of incentive to set up shop and provide counseling services.