A grief counselor, also referred to as a bereavement counselor, is a professional who works with families that have suffered the loss of a loved one. These professionals are trained to cope with the mental and physical stress grief may bring. In November 2010, CareerBuilder and it's affiliate SalaryExpert estimated average salaries for this occupation based on survey data and salaries posted by employers in job postings.
This occupation requires a bachelor's degree in counseling, social work or a related discipline. Some employers require a master's degree in social work, family therapy or a mental health-related field. Employment opportunities may increase for those who obtain certification from a professional association such as the American Academy of Grief Counseling.
Grief counselors often work for health care settings such as hospices, hospitals and family therapy service providers. The national average salary was $49,858 per year for this occupation. The 25th percentile earned an average salary of $37,047 per year, and the 75th percentile earned an average salary of $69,061 per year.
Salary can vary for grief counselors based on factors such as the cost of living in specific metropolitan areas and the number of job openings in each area. SalaryExpert reported average salaries in 10 cities including Chicago, Boston, Nashville and Orlando. The average salary in Chicago was $47,320 per year and in Boston, grief counselors earned an average salary of $52,553 per year. In Nashville, the average salary was $40,696 per year and in Orlando, grief counselors earned an average salary of $45,083 per year.
Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects counseling occupations to grow 18 percent between 2008 and 2018. Specialty counseling occupations are expected to gain continued recognition, which will lead individuals, families and health care providers to seek the services of these professionals.