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any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

MayaN
September 28, 2016 05:11AM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

First, a big thanks to the VI locals who've answered my other questions, your input has been incredibly helpful to me and my husband.

Well, despite the many apparent grim realities (or "charming eccentricities" if you prefer) of VI living, my husband and I remain (rather inexplicably) undaunted! We are still interested in possibly relocating to STT or STX. We are still in the research phase though, and I'm having trouble finding out how much licensed (masters degree) counselors and therapists get paid, when employed (at agencies) in the USVI... I'm only looking for general info, just a very broad salary or hourly RANGE, just so I can determine if I could make do with it or not.

Looked online to try to find a yearly income range for therapists in the VI, but came up totally dry... the one source I found did list the average income for psychologists but that does not help me at all because psychologists have PhD's and typically earn quite a bit more than therapists.

To complicate matters, the TYPE of therapist that I am (I'm an MFT, a marriage and family therapist), is not even recognized in the VI yet. Luckily that is going to change within the next year, due to legislation already passed in the VI that calls for the establishment of a Counseling Licensing Board. But for right now, licensed MFT's like me do not yet exist on the islands, unless they obtained their license somewhere else, which would be essentially useless in the VI (can't bill insurance without regional licensure).

So to clarify, since I can't ask you what MFT's make in the VI (since they don't exist yet) I'm asking what similarly licensed therapists make... such as licensed clinical (masters degree) social workers. Clinical social workers are working on both STT and STX, that I know. But it seems presumptuous to contact strangers with a thinly veiled question about how much money they make, lol. I did get my nerve up to do it just once, though... I asked the question to a therapist working in STT, who was kind enough to answer that and a few other questions for me too. She is actually working at the same type of agency that I work at here in Las Vegas. So I shared my hourly rate with her and asked her if the same pay rate could be expected in the VI. She replied that VI therapists typically make "MUCH less" than therapists on the mainland. How much less she did not volunteer, but her capitalization of the word MUCH concerns me, especially because cost of living is higher in the VI. She said that I might try the "National Guard or some other federal position" for the best pay rates. Does anyone know where therapy jobs like that would be posted?


I'd also love to know how difficult it is (it's the VI after all, so I'm just assuming that it WILL be difficult, haha) to set up a private therapy practice and how realistic it is to expect to generate a steady income from a combination of cash-pay and insured clients, as can easily be done on the mainland.

It would be so great to be able to briefly chat with a working therapist in the VI, perhaps there is one on the forum? If not, maybe someone on forum knows a therapist who is currently working on STT or STX, and would be willing to contact me? I would be more than happy to pay a consultation fee to a therapist who is willing to clue me in a bit. If that is not an appropriate request to post on this forum, just let me know and I'll edit it out. I don't frequent forums and I'm here to learn.

Thanks!

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

Alana33
September 28, 2016 06:25AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,584

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

East Ender
September 28, 2016 07:52AM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 4,855

I would also suggest contacting Lori Thompson at Insight. Most of the counseling jobs are either through the VI government (doesn't pay well, but the perks are great) or via private practice.

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

Bigfacemoe
September 28, 2016 01:11PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 30

USAJobs.com

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

Alana33
September 28, 2016 03:44PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,584

You might also try contacting Ann Nayer on one of the links provided above.

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

MayaN
September 29, 2016 04:56AM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

Thanks, everyone! I will most definitely be following up on your leads!

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

Dancerjaimie
September 29, 2016 10:31AM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 4

I am in a very similar situation, though I just arrived on St Croix last week. I am a counselor and awaiting implementation of licensure from the same bill you mentioned. From what I have found, there are more part-time jobs here making it difficult to compare salary. I have found a listing for a counselor with a department of housing program with a posted salary of 30,000-35,000

I'm also following this thread for ideas and job opportunities.

Side political rant: The governor just declared a state of emergency for mental health, which seems to only open things up for psychiatrists. We are not going to solve this crisis through medication alone

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

MayaN
September 29, 2016 03:43PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

Quote
Dancerjaimie
I am in a very similar situation, though I just arrived on St Croix last week. I am a counselor and awaiting implementation of licensure from the same bill you mentioned. From what I have found, there are more part-time jobs here making it difficult to compare salary. I have found a listing for a counselor with a department of housing program with a posted salary of 30,000-35,000

I'm also following this thread for ideas and job opportunities.

Side political rant: The governor just declared a state of emergency for mental health, which seems to only open things up for psychiatrists. We are not going to solve this crisis through medication alone

Hello, and thanks SO much for posting!!! I would love to email with you, as some of the more specific info I am getting from off-forum island therapists on this topic, regarding work opportunities and pay, would not be super appropriate to post on a public forum since the islands are so small ... I'd be concerned with accidentally exposing the identities of my "sources" even if I don't mention them by name. Not that they would necessarily mind being exposed, but they might, so I'm trying to be respectful of their privacy. I'm hoping we can maybe support one another in the information quest. Even though I'm still on the mainland and not even 100% positive I'm moving to the VI, I am beginning to collect some interesting info that might be of use to you in your future job quest , and certainly I'd love to hear what you are finding out and how you are experiencing STX, as you are awaiting licensure and employment in your field. Coincidentally I am a dancer as well, so judging my your forum tag, we might have more in common than our professions! I will PM you when I get a chance tomorrow, crazy busy day today! confused smiley

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

Islander
September 29, 2016 04:08PM

Admin

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 1,159

Hello MayaN,

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimates on job earnings, including the territories. Here is the link to the table for the USVI. [www.bls.gov].

Thank you for using VIMovingCenter.com to help with researching your plan to move to the USVI.

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

Dancerjaimie
September 29, 2016 05:22PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 4

That sounds great! I look forward to connecting up with you

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

mtdoramike
October 01, 2016 07:53AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 923

I don't really have anything to contribute here, but to say what a great way to get started though. You can wind up being a ground breaker. So rather being concerned about the money at this point, I would look at it in that aspect of filling a need that in my opinion is in dire need of.

I will point out here that nearly ever couple that I know of who came to the Islands together married or living together wind up leaving separately, even my parents weren't immune to this observation. Temptations are great in the Islands in my family it was alcohol related. So there is definitely a need for couple therapy. So please push as hard as you can to fill this void and hopefully you can stem this tide.

Now before I get flamed, let me say that this has been my experience and may not be the experience of others.

mike

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

MayaN
October 01, 2016 12:42PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

thank you!

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

MayaN
October 01, 2016 01:12PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

Thanks for sharing your insights, Mike, much appreciated! I do get the sense already that there is indeed a shortage on the VI, of counselors who specialize in working with couples. I'd love to fill that void, believe me! I'm even willing to take a substantial pay cut in order to do that. But on the same hand, I have to be able to pay my rent and other costs of living, and make sure that there's enough left over to save for emergencies. I was told there was recently a job posting for a licensed counseling social worker with a masters degree, offering only $12.50 per hour!... that's laughable, and tragic. So I'm still in the process of finding out if it's possible to possible for counselors on the VI make a decent living. I have heard that some of them go into "group private practices" and am still digging for info on whether or not that option would allow me to pay my rent. Thanks for sharing your story, it does inspire me to not give up!

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

MayaN
October 01, 2016 02:58PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

Quote
Islander
Hello MayaN,

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimates on job earnings, including the territories. Here is the link to the table for the USVI. [www.bls.gov].

Thank you for using VIMovingCenter.com to help with researching your plan to move to the USVI.

Thank you for the link. This is great forum by the way, extremely helpful.

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

MayaN
October 04, 2016 03:04AM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

Quote
Dancerjaimie
That sounds great! I look forward to connecting up with you

Sent you a private message, looking forward to sharing info, email me! Maya

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

ritani5522
November 22, 2016 06:19PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 10

Laughable and tragic, but unfortunately reality. I have only worked within the school system but that was the going rate ($13-$17) for the counselors, clinical social workers and school psychologists who all had AT LEAST a masters degree, some doctoral. I know a couple of licensed psychologists in private practice who do well, but agency pay will not be good. The majority of the population lives below the poverty line, additionally, the concept of family therapy does not necessarily mesh with some old-school values of the west indian culture.

On the bright side, there are a lot of people in need, and the work that you do will be difficult but extremely rewarding.

Re: any counselors/therapists/social workers on forum?

vicanuck
November 23, 2016 08:44AM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 2,095

Quote
Dancerjaimie
Side political rant: The governor just declared a state of emergency for mental health, which seems to only open things up for psychiatrists. We are not going to solve this crisis through medication alone

Don't be expecting the governor's declaration of a mental healthcare crisis to result in more dollars to being directed to the problem. Just about everything to do with the government is in crisis here and as the government spirals deeper into debt that it can never repay, it will only get worse. Much like Puerto Rico.

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