Every person probably dreams of a happy and long-lasting marriage. But sometimes things do not go as we want them to be: quarrels, arguing, misunderstandings, etc. may cause marriage and family problems. Family and marriage counseling is the sphere that studies all the issues that may cause many marriages and family problems and helps to find a way of solving them.
According to the information from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) is a mental health care therapist who diagnoses and treats family problems. A family counselor helps individuals, couples, and families through challenges associated with behavioral, cognitive, social, and emotional issues.
It is known that family counselor salaries are higher than the average country’s wages. But to become a professional family counselor, you need to go a long way and have all the information on how to do this.
There is a wide range of family therapy techniques that are used in family therapy. Below you can find the most popular:
Structural family therapy (SFT) is developed by Salvador Minuchin, and it solves problems in family functioning. This therapy aims to empower each family member, individualize the needs of each family, and establish respect between all family members.
Narrative therapy is based on shaping family members’ narratives by identifying and supporting individual positive qualities and skills to help them constructively accept and overcome the issues they might face within their family surrounding or within their personal lives.
Strategic therapy is based on interaction and conflict examination between family members. It seeks to address particular problems that can be solved in a shorter time frame than other therapy modalities suggest.
Transgenerational therapy is based on intergeneration and conflict examination in families that consist of more than one generation. This technique is helpful when more than two generations of families live in the same home and face different kinds of conflicts.
Family therapy techniques can be used both: singly and together. It depends on the degree of conflict that exists within the family unit.
Those who are interested in starting a marriage and family counseling career will often begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in counseling or psychology. While enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program, students interested in a marriage and family counseling career should take courses to help them understand life stages, child development, marriage and relationships, and family dynamics.
To become a licensed therapist in family and marriage counseling, you must earn a master’s degree in a field related to marriage and family therapy, such as psychiatry, psychology, or clinical social work. You will also have to complete two years of supervised clinical field experience and pass state board exams. Continuing education is also required for a licensed family and marriage therapists.
Complete a bachelor’s degree
Those interested in getting family counselor salaries have started their careers by earning a bachelor’s degree to prepare for graduate school. An undergraduate degree in any field is acceptable, but pre-requisite coursework in human development, research methods, and counseling is required to enroll in completing a master’s degree. Those who complete internships or gain field experience will have better opportunities for entering grad school.
Graduate a master’s degree
It takes from two to three years to complete a master’s degree. Working hours and a research thesis are also included in this timeframe. Students have to be registered in a program accredited by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. It will guarantee the plan they have chosen follows national standards and will make the licensure process go smoothly. Students usually take the topics are human sexuality, developmental science, research methods, couple’s therapy, and systems therapy.
Get clinical experience
It is required at least two years of practical clinical experience in each state. You can get this experience by working for nonprofit organizations, charities, churches, private clinics, or other organizations that provide mental health services. Such a practice has to be controlled by a licensed family and marriage therapist, psychologist, or social worker.
Different states have different kinds of licensing examinations, such as the MFT National Examination. Such exams test students in various areas that are connected with the future profession of a family counselor.
When all the requirements are completed, and you found a job, you must be sure to keep your credentials up to date. Most licenses are efficient only two years, so you need to continue education to stay licensed. You may participate in state-approved workshops, additional coursework, or online training programs.
MFT is a prevalent profession. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for such specialists will increase by 22% by 2028. To become a licensed therapist and to be among those who get family counselor salaries, you need to complete your education as it is described above.
To make all those steps easier, here are 10 top marriage and family therapy graduate programs:
1) Brigham Young University-Provo – Provo, UT
2) University of Florida – Gainesville, FL
3) Nova Southeastern University –Davie, FL.
4) Northwestern University – Evanston, IL
5) University of Central Florida – Orlando, FL
6) The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus –Aurora, CO
7) University of Maryland-College Park – College Park, MD
8) California State University, Northridge –Los Angeles, CA
9) Harding University – Searcy, AR
10) John Brown University – Siloam Springs, AR
The therapist’s average salary varies by state. Many factors influence how much therapists are going to make: area of specialization, educational background, professional experience, even location plays a role in your future income.
Comparing family counselor salaries to other counseling income 2018-2019, it was on the second place among different types of a therapist. However, in the past years, the demand for this type of specialist has increased, respectively, and the MFC salary has also increased.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’, the annual wage of licensed marriage and family therapist is $49,700; it varies by state and also depends on factors listed above. The latest information about licensed marriage and family therapist salary dated May 9, 2020, demonstrates the average annual wage for LMFT has increased, and now it is $79,462.
It remains only to make a choice and decide whether you want to become a marriage and family counselor or not. We hope that all of the above information will be useful for such a decision.