If you have recently earned your LPC-Intern licensure, I would like to congratulate you! It takes a lot of effort, work, and time to get to this point. Throughout your time in school you might have been thinking about the type of work you want to do, and now you have the opportunity to pursue those career options.
So, what are the options? For simplicity, here are the basic opportunities available:
- agency work
- private practice (working under an LPC Supervisor if your state allow this option)
- school counselor (if you have teaching experience)
We will cover each of these options in greater detail in upcoming posts, but I would like to first focus on the overall structure of working as an LPC-Intern.
Here's my honest feedback about the internship opportunities: most of them are terrible. For starters, the pay is minimal and the work will be dealing with a lot of high risk clientele. Below is a snapshot of a REAL job posting in Texas where I live:
Again, this is an actual post from an agency. It REQUIRES a person to be a licensed intern, and the pay is $17.13-$18.63 per hour! What!? Sadly, there will probably be a hundred applicants for this job due to the lack of perceived opportunities for LPC-Interns. Let's do some quick math...
$18 per hour X 40 hours per week = $720
$720 X 50 weeks per year = $36,000
Why is it that master's level professionals are being paid such minimal amounts? As a comparison, here is another current job posting to work in the same county in a government funded job:
In the same county, an animal technician with a high school diploma can make MORE MONEY per hour than a LPC-Intern!
I can already imagine someone thinking "It's not about the money." If you feel that way, I completely understand. But, remember that money and salary are how we define value. Even though it may not be about the money for you, it's still the way society defines value.
You are valuable. You are highly trained. You are highly educated. And, you provide a VERY important service. Being compensated for your skills is important. Last time I checked, I never heard a medical doctor or lawyer accept minimal pay for the important work they do.
Before you decide you need to be "in the trenches", look to see if there is another option that better suits your long term career goals. In my opinion, you've already been through the trenches. It's called a bachelor's degree, master's degree, practicum, internship, and all the other obstacles you have overcome to get to this point.
For transparency purposes, here was my path:
I was "fortunate" because I was a teacher for two years prior to going back to school to earn my master's degree. This gave me the opportunity to work as a school counselor. I was able to secure employment as a middle school counselor and gained all my LPC-Intern hours while working at the school for three years. The salary and time off were MUCH better than the typical agency job. My salary was between 45-55 thousand during those three years (plus one month off in the summer). I really liked my job at the school and it was a positive experience. From there, I used my connections with people to enter into private practice which I am still working in today.
If you are an LPC-Intern and have questions, send me a message. I'm happy to talk further with you about creating a career in counseling.