How Do I Become a Marriage Counselor?

How Do I Become a Marriage Counselor? 2016-06-30T17:46:40+00:00


Are you wondering how to Become a Marriage Counselor? Marriage Counselors are professionals that are trained to deal with couples and families that are having difficulties in their relationship. A marriage counselor assists the couple or family with improving communication, resolving conflicts and changing their behavior. These professionals are trained to deal with issues that couples and families face.

Where Do Marriage and Family Counselors Work?

A marriage and family counselor may work in a variety of settings. Some of these include hospitals, mental health clinics, community service organizations and private practice groups.

What Does a Marriage and Family Counselor Do?

Marriage and Family counselors address a wide variety of relationship issues within the context of the family system. They provide short-term therapy to both couples and families. Marriage counselors may also:

  • Perform assessments
  • Conduct therapy with families, couples and individuals
  • Diagnose and treat anxiety, depression and other mental disorders
  • Develop treatment plans
  • Make referrals and coordinate with other mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists if medication management is needed, for instance

What Education Is Needed to Become a Marriage and Family Counselor?

In the United States, Marriage Counselors are regulated and licensed by individual states. The educational requirements needed to become a marriage and family counselor vary by state; however, most of the time, at least a Master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from an accredited institution is required. A Master’s degree typically takes two to three years of full-time coursework to complete. An internship is usually required, as well. Examples of coursework might include:

  • Human development
  • Family Theory
  • Theories of counseling
  • Research methods

How Do I Get Into a Master’s Program in Marriage and Family Therapy?

A bachelor’s degree is required to gain admission into a master’s degree program in marriage and family therapy. Almost any major is accepted, although significant coursework in psychology, human development and sociology is a definite plus. You will want to aim to have at least a 3.0 GPA for admission into most graduate programs. Volunteer work or community service also looks good on a graduate school application for marriage and family therapy.

What is the Job Outlook and Salary for Marriage Counselors?

The job outlook for Marriage Counselors is excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow at least 19 percent through 2024. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. The number of people who have access to insurance that covers marriage counseling is expected to increase because of federal health insurance reform. So, the demand for marriage counselors should remain strong. As of 2015, the average pay for marriage counselors was just over $48,000 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $81,000. Pay rates should increase as the demand for family counselors continue to rise.

Marriage counselors work with families and couples in a variety of settings. They perform therapy, assessments and diagnose and treat mental health issues in the family context. The demand for marriage counselors is expected to grow significantly in the coming years as more people have access to health insurance. Choosing to Become A Marriage Counselor is a rewarding and exciting career choice for anyone that wants to help couples and families resolve issues in their relationship.


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