I've decided to try for a weekly "state of affairs" regarding salaries for counselors to serve as a reality check, as well as motivation to create your own business.
The two pictures above are screen shots I took this morning directly from Travis County's (TX) website. For those that aren't from here, Austin is in Travis County. It's a huge population, and considered the most progressive area in Texas. House prices have skyrocketed to a point that many people cannot afford to live in the city. Though prices are going up, you can clearly see the pay for counselors has not!
So, let's dig a little bit into these two screenshots. The first one describes a "Victim Counselor, Senior". Again, this person is supposed to have "senior" experience in the very difficult field of counseling victims. Preferred job skills of 4 years in counseling and a masters degree with licensure as a therapist.
Now, consider the other screenshot- "Administrative Assistant 1". This is an entry level position with no real education or skills required.
If we were to take the mid-range pay for these two postings, the Counselor would make around $44,000 per year, while the Administrative Assistant would earn approximately $34,000. This is no knock on Administrative Assistants, but it seems like 10K is not enough of a price difference for someone with a master's degree and "Senior" level experience.
Guess what, if you work really hard and earn your bachelor's degree, and then go back to school for three more years to earn you master's in counseling, plus spend 2-3 years as an Intern, before becoming fully licensed 8-10 years after you first entered college, you can look forward to the lavish lifestyle that $40,000 will provide! Let's not even talk about the $80,000 (or more) you racked up in college loans while attending school that you are now having to pay back.
I know people need jobs, so it's probably not fair to ask counselors to refuse these kinds of positions, but we have to start paving a way for respect in our culture. We have to find a way to raise our own expectations of what we deserve for compensation.
My goal is to post a "reality check" each week so we can be motivated to advocate for our profession and earn the money we deserve for the very important work we do. Would you ask a medical doctor to go to work for $44,000 per year? Why should we accept that amount either?