Mental health counselors are below average when it comes to happiness.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, mental health counselors rate their career happiness 3.1 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 37% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy mental health counselors are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Clinical psychologist
3.3
$80k
Drug & alcohol counselor
3.3
$32k
Marriage therapist
3.2
$50k
Community health worker
3.2
$47k
Mental health counselor
3.1
$36k
Rehabilitation counselor
3.0
$39k
School psychologist
3.0
$80k
Occupational therapist assistant
3.0
$62k
Occupational therapist
2.9
$86k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are mental health counselors happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do mental health counselors find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as mental health counselors?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are mental health counselor’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are mental health counselors making the best use of their abilities?

Are mental health counselors happy with their salary?

Mental health counselors rated their satisfaction with their salaries 2.6/5. Mental health counselors tend to be quite unhappy with their salary, with very few reporting satisfaction with their pay.

We asked mental health counselors how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

2.6 out of 5 stars

535 mental health counselors

5 Star
9%

9% of mental health counselors rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
16%

16% of mental health counselors rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
25%

25% of mental health counselors rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
30%

30% of mental health counselors rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
20%

20% of mental health counselors rated their compensation 1 stars

Do mental health counselors find their jobs meaningful?

On average, mental health counselors rate the meaningfulness of their work a 3.7/5. Unlike many careers, mental health counselors have little difficulty finding meaning in their work, and it likely constitutes one of the main reasons people become mental health counselors.

We asked mental health counselors how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

3.7 out of 5 stars

539 mental health counselors

5 Star
29%

29% of mental health counselors rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
36%

36% of mental health counselors rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
18%

18% of mental health counselors rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
9%

9% of mental health counselors rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
8%

8% of mental health counselors rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as mental health counselors?

Mental health counselors rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.9/5. The majority of mental health counselors find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked mental health counselors how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

3.9 out of 5 stars

577 mental health counselors

5 Star
35%

35% of mental health counselors rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
36%

36% of mental health counselors rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
18%

18% of mental health counselors rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
7%

7% of mental health counselors rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
3%

3% of mental health counselors rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a mental health counselor’s work environment?

As a whole, mental health counselors rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.4/5. Most of them tend to enjoy, or at least not be actively bothered by, their work environment.

We asked mental health counselors how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.4 out of 5 stars

579 mental health counselors

5 Star
19%

19% of mental health counselors rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
32%

32% of mental health counselors rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
27%

27% of mental health counselors rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
15%

15% of mental health counselors rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
7%

7% of mental health counselors rated their work environment 1 stars

Are mental health counselors making the best use of their abilities?

Former mental health counselors on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 3.5/5. Most mental health counselors surveyed find that they manage to use their abilities to their fullest as a mental health counselor, which helps contribute to higher career satisfaction in the long term.

We asked mental health counselors how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

3.5 out of 5 stars

578 mental health counselors

5 Star
23%

23% of mental health counselors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
30%

30% of mental health counselors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
30%

30% of mental health counselors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
13%

13% of mental health counselors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
5%

5% of mental health counselors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars