One year into the pandemic, and COVID-19 has shown us the importance of having your mental health checked on regularly.
It is not a surprise that the search for therapy and counseling sessions accelerated in the past year, one that’s been incredibly stressful; due to social distancing restrictions and health concerns, virtual therapy options were found by many to be a more accessible and realistic choice.
As a result, if you ever considered a career in the psychology field, this may just be the best time to pursue it.
Mental health experiences and awareness are set to become more important to people year by year, and it’s likely the COVID-19 pandemic might have given this phenomenon an extra push.
Online resources and online access to care means that there’s perhaps more demand than ever for qualified, knowledgeable professionals (click here for more information and examples).
However, before taking any decision about which path into the psychology field you should take, you are probably wondering: how much will I make? Should I become a counselor or a therapist?
Even if you’re not planning to go into the field, you might be interested to know what sort of qualifications and benefits go along with becoming a mental health professional. It might give you some unique insight into just how hard these individuals work to make a difference.
Counselors and Therapists: What’s the Difference?
Although both counselors and therapists are professionals working in the mental health field, there are differences that come along with each one that you should consider before deciding which path to pursue.
Therapists work with a broad range of individuals to treat a variety of mental illnesses. Therapists usually treat patients that need long-term treatments or have more severe symptoms.
They deal with more challenging concerns of their clients, and because of that, therapists need to have at least a doctoral degree.
Counselors are also professionals trained to work in the mental health field.
They are licensed to deal with patients seeking mental health assistance, and they can be either a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), or a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).
Unlike therapists, counselors usually focus on short-term treatments. Before becoming a counselor, one must have a master’s degree in counseling, psychology or therapy.
How much do these professionals make?
Your salary will depend on which career choice you make as well as the area in which you practice, competitor prices, and more.
The following lists encompasses professionals across various areas along with their average salary to give you some idea of what you might expect.
- Substance abuse counselors: $40,207 annual mean wage.
- School and career counselors: $57,040 annual mean wage.
- Rehabilitation counselors: $35,950 annual mean wage.
- Mental health counselor: $43,695 annual mean wage.
- Bereavement or grief counselor: $50,000 annual mean wage.
- Clinical Psychologist: $76,990 annual mean wage.
- Recreational Therapist: $47,710 annual mean wage.
- Marriage & Family Therapist: $51,340 annual mean wage.
- School psychologist: $ 78,970 annual mean wage.
- Sports Psychologist: $55,000 annual mean wage.
How to Choose What’s Best for You
To decide which path you should take, there are many factors to take into considerations.
Whether you’re interested in going into the field as a professional yourself or are merely trying to decide which type to pursue treatment with, it helps to consider the fundamental differences between the two; price may be a factor either way, though.
As mentioned, where you live or where you expect to be a psychologist might influence your decision as well, as the annual salary might depend on the location you are based.
Here are 10 states where psychologists earn the most money:
- California: average salary of $108,350
- Oregon: average salary of $103,870
- New Jersey: average salary of $98,470
- Hawaii: average salary of $94,550
- New York: average salary of $94,140
- Alaska: average salary of $91,450
- Connecticut: average salary of $90,870
- Georgia: average salary of $89,190
- North Dakota: average salary of $87,090
- Louisiana average salary of $86,630
Deciding which career path to follow is definitely not an easy task. However, having some variables to take into consideration, including your career’s average salary, might help you choose your path.
Therapists have an annual average salary higher than counselors, but they do need to follow a longer and expensive educational path, around 5-7 years after completing an undergraduate degree.
If studying that long is not in your plans, a counselor career might be the best option for you.
If it comes down to pay for you, it’s worthwhile to consider all the different things that might influence your salary, including those discussed in this article and those you brainstorm on your own.