Marriage and Family Therapists: Career Guide & Salary Facts

Learn more about careers as marriage and family therapists. Find information on career opportunities, duties and task, educational requirements, licensure, and salary information. View popular schools that prepare students for careers as marriage and family therapists.

Duties & Tasks

Marriage and family therapists diagnose and treat emotional and mental disorders, including behavioral, affective, and cognitive issues. They may work closely with families, helping them to understand problems and develop strategies to help improve their lives. Therapists may also collaborate with other professionals, such as social workers and psychiatrists, to administer treatment options. They may collect information pertaining to their clients through testing, interviewing, observation, and discussion. When clients experience change in their lives, such as divorce or unemployment, therapists may help clients process their reactions and adjust to their new roles. After the sessions end, therapists may follow up with clients and their families to determine the effectiveness of treatment and programs.

Education Requirements

In order to practice as a marriage and family therapist in any state, individuals must have a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from an accredited academic program. In these programs, students may learn how marriages, families, and relationships function. Individuals may also study mental and emotional disorders, crisis management, and intervention competencies. Students may also participate in a period of supervised experience, such as an internship.


All marriage and family therapists must have licensure to practice in any state. To obtain licensure, individuals must graduate from a master’s-level program and have two years of supervised clinical experience. They must also pass a state-regulated examination administered by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board. In addition, therapists may need to complete a predetermined number of continuing education courses each year.

Salary & Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for those pursuing careers as marriage and family therapists is expected to increase by 37% from 2010-2020, which is much higher than the national average. This increase may be due in part to the number of individuals seeking therapy and counseling than compared to earlier generations. Additionally, marriage and family therapists are a cheaper alternative compared to psychiatrists and psychologists, and insurance companies may prefer to send individuals to therapists. The BLS also stated that as of May 2010, the median annual salary of marriage and family therapists was $45,720. While most therapists work full time, they may work evenings and weekends to accommodate clients who have job or family responsibilities.

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Abilene Christian University is a national leader in Christian higher education and a place where students, faculty, staff and alumni make a real difference in the world.


  • Master of Marriage and Family Therapy
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Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.  We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.



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Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

A liberal arts institution with 16 colleges and schools, Liberty offers programs in fields such as medicine, religion, law, aviation, cinematic arts, psychology, business, and more. Part of the Big South Conference, Liberty fields 20 NCAA Division I athletic teams and 32 Club Sports teams, offering fans an unparalleled college sports experience.


  • MA in Marriage and Family Therapy
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