Marriage and Family Therapy Providers

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Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and Family Therapy Providers


Schools and Education

What’s Needed:

  • A master’s degree in counseling or marriage and family therapy is usually required.
  • A bachelor’s degree in most fields is acceptable to enroll in a master’s degree program.
  • Many schools provide master’s and doctoral degrees in marriage and family therapy. Many of these programs include field experiences and residencies.

Master’s degrees in marriage and family therapy are available online. Prospective students should find out if the online program includes field experiences and residencies. Online doctoral degrees in marriage and family therapy are also available.

What you study:

  • Counseling theory and practice
  • Research and evaluation in psychology
  • Family therapy theories
  • Adolescent psychology
  • Group therapy
  • Clinical applications of human development
  • Human growth and development
  • Marriage and family systems

What courses you’ll take

Below are examples of courses that you’ll likely take as a marriage and family therapy student.

Course Studies Purpose
Marriage/Family Systems Fundamentals Applies concept of marital and family lifecycles to consider the family as an interactive and changing system. Presents historical perspectives touching upon well-known models in the profession developed by Haley Satir Bowen and others. Topics include: application of systems theory to therapeutic interventions; communication frameworks; and traditional and non-traditional family structures. Provide foundational knowledge and concepts for use in further advanced studies.
Theories of Marriage and Family Therapy A review of major theories in use including: psychodynamic; structural; strategic; experiential and post modern. Theories are presented in the context of a systems dynamics framework. Other topics can include: verbal and nonverbal treatment techniques; family rules; interaction patterns; functional and dysfunctional families; and ethnicity considerations. Teach the underlying theories that guide the creation of therapeutic treatments for specific patients.
Couple/Marital Therapy Emphasizes basic skills for treating two people in a coupled relationship particularly in the early stages of their problems. Coursework covers: diagnosis; intervention; influences from each individual’s family; roles of emotion between the couple; special issues such as interracial or same-gender relationships; extramarital affairs; sexual dysfunction; alcoholism; and ethics. Prepare students with the skills for treating couples.
Family Therapy Focuses on building of skills for diagnosis and treatment of problems within a family system. Family problems reviewed include: suicide; child abuse; substance abuse; domestic violence; divorce; and incest. Ready students with a set of skills for treating a diverse range of family problems.
Legal and Ethical Issues Surveys the most common ethical and legal considerations family and marital therapists. Topics covered include: ethical standards; legal standards; risks; and professional credentialing. Ready students to consider and address the legal and ethical issues they will face as full-time professionals.
Research in Marriage and Family Therapy Reviews foundations of research in the field including: methodologies; design; statistics; data analysis; ethics; quantitative vs. qualitative research; and cultural factors as related to research practices. Teach students how to understand critique and apply published research in the profession. Also prepare students to carry out their own research projects.
Practicum Applies marital and family theories and techniques studied in the classroom to supervised application in the field typically at community mental health cnter or community agency. Sites are chosen to expose students to as much patient diversity as possible such as racial cultural ethnic and socioeconomic. Give reality to classroom studies and give students the practice needed to prepare them for full-time positions as therapists.


Video Overview

A brief introduction to marriage and family therapy careers. Produced for the US Dept. of Labor.


Certifications and Licensing

Marriage and family therapist educational requirements vary depending on state licensure and certification requirements. Typically marriage and family therapy providers need a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or in counseling as well as two years or three thousand hours of supervised clinical experience.

Usually marriage and family therapy providers are required to pass state recognized exams. In some states counselors in public employment are required to have a master’s degree whereas some states require a bachelor’s degree with applicable counseling courses.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time: Marriage and family therapists usually work full-time. To accommodate their clients’ schedules they often work weekends and evenings.

Work location: Marriage and family therapists work in health clinics state government agencies local government agencies private practices outpatient care centers and hospitals. Many marriage and family therapists work in private practice. They usually have their own office.


Recommended Websites

  • The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) focuses on increasing research understanding and education in the marriage and family therapy field as well as ensure the quality of training of marriage and family therapy providers. The organization’s Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education is a recognized accrediting agency providing accreditation for marriage and family therapist academic programs in the United States and Canada. Its directory of Marriage and Family training programs provides a list of accredited programs.
  • The American Counseling Association (ACA) is dedicated to the growth and development of the counseling profession as well as those who are served. The ACA provides students an array of resources to help them prepare for a professional counseling career. The ACA assists students with their personal and professional growth. The American Counseling Association also provides networking opportunities. The ACA Conference & Expo offers a variety of networking and educational offerings. Students who attend the ACA Conference & Expo have opportunities to meet peers counselor educators authors and scholars.
  • The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) website provides a state board directory as well as exam registration and state licensure information. The NBCC administers four national examinations. Three of its exams are utilized for national certification and state counselor licensure.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook — Created by the US Department of Labor this article on marriage and family therapy careers (and mental health counseling) gives a comprehensive summary using statistics and textbook-like descriptions.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AK Anchorage $43190 $26K – $82K 110 0.06%
AL Birmingham – Hoover $44690 $34K – $58K 120 0.03%
AL Tuscaloosa $44640 $37K – $56K 40 0.04%
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $62620 $35K – $89K 150 0.01%
AZ Tucson $38250 $31K – $56K 100 0.03%
CA Bakersfield – Delano $45870 $37K – $84K 50 0.02%
CA El Centro $34940 $23K – $46K N/A N/A
CA Fresno $61990 $41K – $95K 80 0.03%
CA Hanford – Corcoran $51980 $34K – $66K 60 0.15%
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $47790 $32K – $69K 2280 0.06%
CA Modesto $48030 $41K – $69K N/A N/A
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $56800 $43K – $89K 410 0.04%
CA Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura $51570 $38K – $69K 60 0.02%
CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $50310 $33K – $75K 120 0.01%
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $31230 $26K – $60K 330 0.04%
CA Salinas $60740 $36K – $91K 140 0.09%
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $46160 $38K – $67K 380 0.03%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $56530 $42K – $89K 470 0.05%
CA San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles $40510 $23K – $57K 40 0.04%
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $53770 $40K – $73K 550 0.04%
CA Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta $63470 $36K – $126K 140 0.08%
CA Santa Rosa – Petaluma $55270 $23K – $86K 120 0.07%
CA Stockton $53590 $41K – $62K N/A N/A
CA Visalia – Porterville $58450 $38K – $75K 50 0.04%
CO Boulder $44860 $35K – $57K 40 0.02%
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $30680 $19K – $52K 230 0.02%
CO Fort Collins – Loveland $51420 $31K – $81K N/A N/A
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $55330 $38K – $80K 30 0.01%
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $42810 $23K – $82K 100 0.02%
CT New Haven $57160 $42K – $85K 40 0.01%
DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $55150 $39K – $83K 660 0.03%
DE Wilmington (Metro Area) $50730 $43K – $72K 220 0.07%
FL Cape Coral – Fort Myers $41840 $33K – $48K 80 0.04%
FL Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach $27750 $25K – $31K N/A N/A
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $48850 $28K – $68K 480 0.07%
FL Jacksonville $38490 $30K – $57K 160 0.03%
FL Lakeland – Winter Haven $38330 $27K – $46K N/A N/A
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $51030 $27K – $81K 430 0.04%
FL North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota $50130 $33K – $60K N/A N/A
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $33920 $26K – $44K 140 0.01%
FL Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent $34510 $25K – $44K 60 0.04%
FL Tallahassee $36550 $27K – $55K 50 0.03%
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $39120 $31K – $68K 260 0.02%
FL West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area) $46290 $32K – $59K 80 0.02%
GA Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta $54910 $42K – $75K N/A N/A
HI Honolulu $54110 $42K – $103K 110 0.03%
IA Davenport – Moline – Rock Island $38110 $32K – $59K 30 0.02%
IA Des Moines – West Des Moines $36780 $26K – $59K 90 0.03%
IL Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area) $38910 $32K – $55K 90 0.00%
IN Evansville $40410 $24K – $51K 40 0.02%
IN Fort Wayne $45810 $34K – $57K N/A N/A
IN Gary (Metro Area) $38570 $32K – $57K N/A N/A
IN Indianapolis – Carmel $37270 $29K – $123K 380 0.04%
IN Terre Haute $38110 $27K – $47K N/A N/A
KY Louisville – Jefferson County $29090 $18K – $47K 90 0.01%
LA New Orleans – Metairie – Kenner $37250 $32K – $47K 30 0.01%
MA Barnstable Town $44410 $32K – $72K 80 0.08%
MA Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area) $51560 $33K – $73K 550 0.03%
MA New Bedford $64640 $35K – $74K 40 0.07%
MA Peabody (Metro Area) $48760 $36K – $77K N/A N/A
MA Springfield $49130 $32K – $70K N/A N/A
MD Baltimore – Towson $47180 $37K – $55K 750 0.06%
MD Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area) $42200 $30K – $59K 120 0.02%
MD Hagerstown – Martinsburg $41630 $26K – $55K 80 0.08%
MD Salisbury $41640 $24K – $63K 70 0.14%
MI Detroit – Livonia – Dearborn (Metro Area) $49200 $39K – $60K 130 0.02%
MI Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area) $44640 $39K – $57K 50 0.00%
MN Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington $44740 $28K – $77K 690 0.04%
MO Kansas City $35990 $32K – $49K 80 0.01%
MO St. Louis $39490 $30K – $53K 140 0.01%
ND Fargo $47190 $34K – $71K 70 0.05%
NE Omaha – Council Bluffs $36210 $31K – $45K 70 0.01%
NJ Atlantic City – Hammonton $68940 $53K – $88K N/A N/A
NJ Edison – New Brunswick (Metro Area) $65340 $53K – $88K 1350 0.14%
NJ Newark – Union (Metro Area) $67800 $56K – $88K 1130 0.12%
NJ Trenton – Ewing $68940 $48K – $88K 370 0.17%
NM Albuquerque $31350 $25K – $46K 130 0.04%
NV Las Vegas – Paradise $52030 $32K – $70K N/A N/A
NV Reno – Sparks N/A N/A – N/A 50 0.03%
NY Albany – Schenectady – Troy $28270 $23K – $37K 80 0.02%
NY Buffalo – Niagara Falls $36150 $29K – $45K N/A N/A
NY Nassau – Suffolk (Metro Area) $47990 $40K – $57K N/A N/A
NY New York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area) $57530 $32K – $82K 1580 0.03%
NY Rochester $36620 $25K – $47K N/A N/A
NY Syracuse $33420 $21K – $46K 60 0.02%
OH Cincinnati – Middletown $32870 $19K – $51K 70 0.01%
OH Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor $51840 $40K – $62K 150 0.01%
OH Columbus $39860 $29K – $66K 70 0.01%
OH Youngstown – Warren – Boardman $53110 $35K – $62K 60 0.03%
OK Oklahoma City $43510 $30K – $88K 180 0.03%
OK Tulsa $47710 $33K – $71K 110 0.03%
OR Eugene – Springfield N/A N/A – N/A 50 0.04%
OR Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro $51750 $31K – $73K 550 0.05%
PA Allentown – Bethlehem – Easton $60440 $31K – $82K 110 0.03%
PA Erie $40340 $22K – $49K 30 0.03%
PA Johnstown $35170 $26K – $62K 40 0.06%
PA Lancaster $68610 $29K – $93K 50 0.02%
PA Philadelphia (Metro Area) $51,640 $36K – $84K 490 0.03%
PA Pittsburgh $35,900 $23K – $57K 160 0.01%
PA Scranton – Wilkes – Barre $40,350 $27K – $59K 60 0.03%
RI Providence – Fall River – Warwick $59,430 $33K – $75K N/A N/A
SD Rapid City $37,060 $28K – $49K 40 0.06%
TN Kingsport – Bristol – Bristol $28,890 $25K – $40K N/A N/A
TN Knoxville $34,130 $30K – $38K N/A N/A
TN Memphis $31,950 $20K – $39K 120 0.02%
TN Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin $34,780 $21K – $51K 220 0.03%
TX Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos $47,180 $31K – $67K 170 0.02%
TX Dallas – Plano – Irving (Metro Area) $39,780 $33K – $60K N/A N/A
TX Fort Worth – Arlington (Metro Area) $36,200 $32K – $47K 30 0.00%
TX Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown $47,240 $17K – $60K 200 0.01%
TX San Antonio – New Braunfels $43,920 $32K – $59K N/A N/A
UT Ogden – Clearfield $51,780 $35K – $69K N/A N/A
UT Provo – Orem $44,300 $33K – $57K 40 0.02%
UT Salt Lake City $52,070 $39K – $65K 60 0.01%
UT St. George $65,680 $43K – $174K 30 0.07%
VA Charlottesville $30,530 $22K – $81K 50 0.05%
VA Lynchburg $34,890 $26K – $68K 140 0.15%
VA Richmond $41,720 $20K – $48K 430 0.07%
VA Roanoke $41,800 $32K – $60K 80 0.05%
VA Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News $40,570 $32K – $49K 300 0.04%
WA Seattle – Bellevue – Everett (Metro Area) $41,620 $29K – $59K 260 0.02%
WA Spokane $38,640 $30K – $56K 80 0.04%
WA Tacoma (Metro Area) $43,450 $30K – $108K 90 0.04%
WI Green Bay $45,730 $18K – $61K 40 0.02%
WI Madison N/A N/A – N/A 580 0.17%
WI Milwaukee – Waukesha – West Allis $45,070 $32K – $121K 140 0.02%
WV Huntington – Ashland $31,490 $26K – $59K 50 0.04%

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