Domestic violence counselors are social workers or mental health professionals who provide treatment for men and women affected by abusive domestic situations. Counselors evaluate domestic situations, advocate for victims, establish recovery plans, and treat both perpetrators and victims. Along with bachelor’s degrees in counseling or social work, domestic violence counselors need state-issued certificates to practice. Master’s degrees are required for those who also engage in marriage and family therapy.
Annual Salary and Hourly Wage
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, social workers earned an average annual salary of $42,480 per year in 2010, with an average hourly wage of $20.42. Those in the lowest 10 percent of the field earned roughly $26,700 per year, while the top 10 percent earned close to $70,400. Marriage and family therapists earned a comparable $45,720 per year.
Social workers in the U.S., including those who focused on domestic violence, earn the highest annual salaries in New York ($57,000), Mississippi ($57,000), Massachusetts ($56,000) and Washington, D.C. ($56,000). Illinois, Georgia and California also offer salaries of more than $50,000, while the rest of the U.S. records numbers in the mid-$40,000s or upper $30,000s. Hawaii offers the lowest salary of $35,000 per year.
The annual salary of a domestic violence counselor depends on contributing factors such as the employing agency and amount of experience. Schools offered social workers the highest salaries of more than $54,000 per year with local government agencies coming in second at just over $47,000. State government organizations provided $39,750, while individual practices paid $35,120. As with most annual salaries, domestic violence counselors with greater experience earned more than those who were newer to the field.
The field of social work is expected to grow by 25 percent between 2010 and 2020 -- faster than the average among all U.S. occupations -- while marriage and family therapists are expected to increase by 37 percent. With the number of domestic violence counselors being employed by state and federally funded agencies, the growth rate could be affected by the U.S. economy. The need for counselors will also follow the trends of domestic violence reports and could rise and fall based on the public level of awareness.