How to Become a Marriage and Family Counselor

In the course of staying together, marriages are bound to go through rocky patches. When this happens, the help of a marriage and family counselor may be sought to help iron out the issues.

Some duties of the family marriage counselor

The counselor does several things for the couple, such as diagnose and treat psychological problems between spouses that may be straining the marriage. Counseling on areas such as premarital affairs, divorce or separation, as well as child issues are the prime responsibilities of this professional. Probably the most common treatment to marital problems that these counselors give to spouses is helping them develop healthier communication methods.

Work environment

The marriage and family counselor maytypically work in a number of environments. They may work in outpatient care centers, family service centers, health clinics, hospitals, institutions of higher learning like universities and colleges, as well as mental health clinics. These professionals may have to work evenings and weekend hours to the convenience of their clients.

Salary and general job outlook

The earnings of these counselors are reasonable as well. As of May 2011, the median earnings of those working in this field were $46,240. There were disparities in the earnings received with those employed by the state and local governments earning more than those employed by hospitals and home health centers. As of mid-2011, there were almost 34,000 family marriage and family counselors working in the United States of America. The job growth for this profession is projected to be positive and may continue to rise through to the year 2020. Between 2010 and 2020, it is expected that the job growth may be to the tune of around 41%.

Education requirements for this field

Like with several other counseling career fields, the minimum you need to get meaningful employment is a Master’s degree. In addition to this, you may need to have clinical experience of at least 2 years at a given facility. You definitely need to be licensed to be able to work in your state and there are several bodies that offer accreditation that may be crucial to your career.

Of course, there are exams that you may need to pass to get either the licensing or particular accreditation. The salary for those with experience is definitely higher as per many employers. The same goes to the level of education that you have. Your Master’s degree may be sufficient to help you execute your duties effectively. However, when you add to your depth of knowledge by advancing your studies, competition in the job market may be tilted in your favor.

You need to evaluate your strengths and find out whether or not you can handle this job. You may need to have a lot of patience and strong communication skills, for example. In addition, any prospective counselor needs to have proper organizational skills, as they have to keep track of their client’s records. Nevertheless, careers in counseling can be satisfying because of the transformations you bring into other people’s lives.



Are you ready to pursue a career in counseling? Get information on programs in your area and online using our counseling degree finder at the top of this page. ↑