How much do LPC interns make?

Oct 30, 2013 by

Money on GreenWanna know how much you can make as a counseling intern?  Let’s review some basic info.

Firstly, let’s define a couple of things.

What do I mean by a counseling intern?

I’m speaking here about individuals who have completed their graduate degree in counseling or psychology and have obtained a license to practice in their state as an LPC intern.

And I’m talking about trends in Texas.  Austin, specifically.  Remember, pay grade, licensing requirements, and even what your license is called varies by location.

Volunteering & pro bono work

So, some interns don’t earn anything during their internship.  They donate their time in exchange for clinical experience and hours and, often, free supervision.

In reality, it’s a bit of a falsehood to say that they don’t earn anything.  Clinical supervision can cost between $250-$400 and up in Austin.  So getting supervision provided is a great value.

And there’s also the question of how many clients you’re seeing for free.  Some interns struggle to get enough hours, and their internships seem to stretch on and on and on.  There may be some value in donating some of your hours in order to get the volume you need to finish on the timeline you’d like.

Paid work– the going rates

But let’s assume that some or all of your hours need to be paid hours.  What sort of hourly wage can you expect as an LPC intern?

This depends on where you work.

Agency rates

In agency settings, I have seen hourly wages offered as low as $8 per hour—practically minimum wage.

A more moderate range is something in the $12-$15 range.

If you’re making more than $20 an hour in an agency setting, you’re doing very, very well.

Remember:  if you’re working full time in an agency, you may well be getting the benefit of health insurance, paid time off, and maybe even free supervision.  So figure that into your mental calculations.

Private practice rates

If you are working in a supervised private practice, on the other hand, you will likely make more per hour.

For example, as an LPC intern, I had a sliding scale that ranged from $30 to $75 per session.  I have also seen interns charge $10 per session and more than $100 per session.

Please remember that published rates, even on a sliding scale, does not mean that people are pulling those fees in at all, or with every client.

Don’t forget your overhead

Now also bear in mind that I had overhead costs associated with working in a supervised private practice.  I had to pay for my own supervision, and I needed a space to practice in.  You don’t have to worry about this kind of overhead in an agency setting, where just about everything is provided for you.

You also have to consider the work involved in bringing in private clients, if you are working in a supervised practice.  This isn’t something you should expect your supervisor to do, even if they do point people in your direction from time to time or have a website designed to bring in business.

Marketing takes time (and money).  So, factor in the time and money costs associated with bringing clients into a practice, and subtract that from your hourly wage.

And ditch your money issues, if you can

Sliding scale fees vary widely in Austin, and this is true for interns and fully licensed practitioners alike.

And people certainly won’t pay more than you think you’re worth, so try and get a grip on any baggage around money that you may have.

Working with a supervisor or mentor who has good boundaries and relationships with money and fee-setting can save you much heartache, time, and money in the long run.

Whether you’re an intern in Austin or somewhere else, double check these figures.

It’s always important when setting your fees or establishing policies of any kind to observe what others in your community are doing—even if you opt to do something different.

Good luck!

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