All across the country, there is an unmet need for professional counselors in various careers. The field of counseling grows every year, adding more jobs, providing more mental health services, behavioral support and psychological assessments along with creating opportunities for individuals to grow. In our analysis results below, OnlineCounselingPrograms.com's staff looked at several factors for placement on this list: highest rates of employment, highest projected job growth, annual mean wage, mental health care professional shortages and cost of living.
States are awarded one point if it is mentioned in the top ten states in highest rates of employment, highest projected job growth and annual mean wage for each type of counselor - school & career, substance abuse, behavioral disorder & mental health and rehabilitation. This means that any state can be awarded up to nine points by being seen in a top 10 list.
The Kaiser Foundation has found that each of these top states to become a counselor has more than a 50% need for mental health care professionals. For this ranking factor, states with less than 20% of mental health need met received one point, states with 20-35% need met received .5 points, and for states between 35-45% - their score did not change.
The cost of living rank is based on the average index of 100 as is the index given for the average cost of living in all of the United States. States that made our list thusfar, received an additional two points if they had an index less than 90, one point if their index was less than 95 but more than 90, and .5 if their index was less than 100 but more than 95.
Total points possible for any state is 12:
Nine total for employment and wage category
One total for percentage of need for mental health professionals
Two total for cost of living rank
Top States to Become a Counselor - 2019
Average Counselor Salary
Number of Counseling Jobs
Counseling Job Growth Through 2026
School and Career Counselors
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors
+22.1% - Substance Abuse Counselors +26.5% - Mental Health Counselors