Marriage and Family Therapy Providers
Schools and Education
|Recommended Degree Level||Master's|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||34,270|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||5.2%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||2,260|
- A master's degree in counseling or marriage and family therapy is usually required.
- A bachelor's degree in most fields is acceptable to enroll in a master's degree program.
- Many schools provide master's and doctoral degrees in marriage and family therapy. Many of these programs include field experiences and residencies.
Master's degrees in marriage and family therapy are available online. Prospective students should find out if the online program includes field experiences and residencies. Online doctoral degrees in marriage and family therapy are also available.
What you study:
- Counseling theory and practice
- Research and evaluation in psychology
- Family therapy theories
- Adolescent psychology
- Group therapy
- Clinical applications of human development
- Human growth and development
- Marriage and family systems
A brief introduction to marriage and family therapy careers. Produced for the US Dept. of Labor.
A Day in the Life
Marriage and family therapy providers offer counseling to families or couples seeking help to solve conflicts, change their behavior or improve their communications. You'll often help clients with major issues.
As a marriage counselor you'll try to determine the underlying reasons why a married couple is considering divorce and then determine if reconciliation is possible. As a marriage counselor you might provide counseling to groups of married couples, groups of husbands or groups of wives. You'll help married couples have a more fulfilling relationship.
As a family counselor you'll evaluate family roles to figure out the effect a client's family members has on his mental health. You'll also help improve communications and understanding among family members.
Sometimes you'll create a treatment plan for a client or consult with other professionals working with a client.
Certifications and Licensing
Marriage and family therapist educational requirements vary depending on state licensure and certification requirements. Typically, marriage and family therapy providers need a master's degree in marriage and family therapy or in counseling as well as two years or three thousand hours of supervised clinical experience.
Usually, marriage and family therapy providers are required to pass state recognized exams. In some states counselors in public employment are required to have a master's degree, whereas some states require a bachelor's degree with applicable counseling courses.
Full-time versus part-time: Marriage and family therapists usually work full-time. To accommodate their clients' schedules they often work weekends and evenings.
Work location: Marriage and family therapists work in health clinics, state government agencies, local government agencies, private practices, outpatient care centers and hospitals. Many marriage and family therapists work in private practice. They usually have their own office.
- The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) focuses on increasing research, understanding and education in the marriage and family therapy field as well as ensure the quality of training of marriage and family therapy providers. The organization's Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education is a recognized accrediting agency providing accreditation for marriage and family therapist academic programs in the United States and Canada. Its directory of Marriage and Family training programs provides a list of accredited programs.
- The American Counseling Association (ACA) is dedicated to the growth and development of the counseling profession as well as those who are served. The ACA provides students an array of resources to help them prepare for a professional counseling career. The ACA assists students with their personal and professional growth. The American Counseling Association also provides networking opportunities. The ACA Conference & Expo offers a variety of networking and educational offerings. Students who attend the ACA Conference & Expo have opportunities to meet peers, counselor educators, authors and scholars.
- The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) website provides a state board directory as well as exam, registration and state licensure information. The NBCC administers four national examinations. Three of its exams are utilized for national certification and state counselor licensure.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Created by the US Department of Labor, this article on marriage and family therapy careers (and mental health counseling) gives a comprehensive summary using statistics and textbook-like descriptions.