Marriage & Family Therapist
We Make Your Life Worth While
“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
Glueing Together Broken Pieces
Salary And Benefits
Pay scales vary considerably. Starting salaries for beginning counselors employed by public agencies or clinics range from $25,000 to $30,000 per year, depending on educational background. In 2004 the median salary of marriage and family counselors was $38,980 per year. The most experienced counselors earned more than $65,080 per year. Experienced counselors in private practice usually have the highest earnings.
Requirements for marriage and family counselors typically include master's degrees in counseling, two years or three thousand hours of supervised clinical experience, and state-recognized exams. Counselors must adhere to ethical codes and standards and complete continuing education requirements every year. Courses in sociology, social work, psychology, and modern foreign languages are helpful.
Counselors work in offices where they can speak with their clients in private or in groups. Working hours vary because many counselors combine part-time jobs in social service agencies with private practice. Agency work, especially in marriage counseling, often includes two or three evenings of work each week because many clients work during the day. Counselors in private practice can regulate their own schedules; they may have some evening and weekend sessions.
Pros of a Marriage and Family Therapist Career
High-growth field (37% increase in jobs projected from 2010-2020)*
Often includes excellent job benefits (medical and life insurance, 401(k) and paid vacation)**
Flexible work schedule***
Opportunity to help people (with stress, divorce, guilt, substance abuse and other issues)****
Cons of a Marriage and Family Therapist Career
May deal with conflict situations***
Pressure to meet strict deadlines***
License is required*
Must complete continuing education classes on a yearly basis*
Experienced marriage and family therapists can advance to working as supervisors, managers, assistant directors, and directors. In some cases, they may need a doctoral degree for these positions. Many marriage and family therapists go into private practice.