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.
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.