Family ties are the most important aspects in the career field of counseling. A family is a support system. Within a family, the relationships are bound together by the strength of its members. In times where to bonds are weakening, families seek help from those that are qualified to provide the best quality of help available.
Family and Marriage Counseling Degrees
Family and Marriage Therapy Counselors (See LFMT licensure) assist with a variety of problems that may be causing deterioration within marriages or families as a whole. Depression, anxiety, or stress may be contributing factors that counselors must deal with, among many others. Regardless of the problems at hand, marriage and family counselors are trained to find quick solutions so that families can experience normalcy as fast as possible.
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Prepare with the Right Undergrad Degree
The first step to becoming part of the Mental Health Counseling field is to find a fitting educational program. Since most students will not delve specifically into family and marriage counseling until graduate school, finding an appropriate undergraduate degree program should be top priority.
Look into Psychology and Social Services Programs
Most previous graduates in this specialty found that degrees in psychology, counseling, or social services were great options for a future in the marriage and family counseling field. However, those with degrees in nursing have even been found in the field.
Choose Behavior and Relationship Based Curriculum
Regardless of which degree is chosen for undergraduate work, the foundation for marriage and family therapist is set at this level. Each of these programs has curriculum that focuses on human behavior, relationships, health, and therapy.
As an undergraduate student, an individual will be exposed to courses in general psychology, counseling, and behavior. This is a great start for those wishing to work in a counseling field, as they provide knowledge needed to be an effective counselor.
Earn a Master's in Family and Marriage Counseling
At the graduate level, students will focus more on the aspects of their specific career field.
Typical Classes for Family and Marriage Counseling
Family and marriage counseling majors will typically take courses in individual and group therapy, social psychology, and family studies. These courses are designed to provide a foundation of knowledge in the social aspects of psychology as well as information on family structures and relationships.
What is the Program Length of a Master’s in Family and Marriage Counseling?
Since all states require at least a Master’s degree in Family and Marriage Counseling for professional licensure, most students go this route. Master’s programs are usually around 2 years in length and require in-class and laboratory attendance.
Assume There Will Be Research Project
At the end of most Master’s in Counseling programs, students are required to submit a research project, which will ensure that they have totally understood the concepts and can apply them successfully.
Marriage and Family Counseling Licensure
Obtaining the right degree is not the last step in becoming a marriage and family counselor. All states require that counselors be licensed prior to practicing in the public domain.
Typical Requirements for Family and Marriage Counselors
The requirements include graduation from an accredited program, approximately 2 years of approved supervised experience, and successful completion of the state board exam.
These requirements may vary slightly by state, but most have these requirements listed as a minimum requirement. States are required to ensure that their professionals are only the most qualified.
The overall licensure process is in depth and requires great dedication for the applicants wishing to obtain a license. The overall experience of counseling in the field differs from the experience gained while in an educational program, so obtaining experience under supervision is a vital requirement by the state.
Supervised experience is working for or under the direct supervision of a licensed marriage and family counselor. Hours are submitted directly to the state and are managed until the licensure program has completed. Upon completing the entire program and passing the board exam, professionals will receive notification of licensure and are free to work anywhere within their state of residence.
What Does a Marriage and Family Counselor Do?
As a professional in the field of family and marriage counseling, individuals will earn $48,040 per year on average. As a career that provides amply for its professionals, it is a career that continues to grow in popularity for new students.
The potential for growth in the Marriage or Couple Counseling area is high, meaning job availability will continue to rise. Individuals working in this field assist married couples with problems that are causing strife. Working one on one with each member of a marriage or together as a group will provide assistance in communication training, stress management, and strengthening relationships.
For families, counselors will work hard to identify factors that are causing strain and implement plans of action for each family member to achieve. These processes help protect families at their most vulnerable times. Family and marriage counselors can work in a variety of settings.
These counselors are found within social service agencies, community support divisions, and even in their own private practices.
With the divorce rate so high in the United States, people are searching for resources to assist them in dealing with the stresses of everyday life. As a marriage and family therapist, professionals can find a career that promotes the well-being of families all throughout the country, leading to a remarkably satisfying life choice.