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Career Options with an MFT Degree

Earning a degree to become marriage and family therapist means making a choice to make a difference in the lives of others. Training to take on this responsibility means becoming qualified to treat mental and emotional disorders and behavioral disturbances within the setting of a marriage and family systems. So what does that look like for those living and working as marriage and family therapists?

What Do Marriage and Family Therapists Do?

Marriage and family therapists work to provide emotional support, advice, and life coaching to those struggling with any number of personal, career, or relationships issues. They create treatment plans, use talk therapy, and provide premarital advice and education, as well as offer counseling and encouragement to couples at every stage of marriage.

Marriage and family therapists help individuals, families, and couples work on any number of issues and conditions. These include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Behavioral and Emotional Disorders
  • Marital and Relationship problems
  • Substance abuse and alcoholism
  • Domestic violence
  • Other forms of mental illness

Where do Marriage and Family Therapists Work?

Those who work in this segment of the therapy and counseling field can be found working in all branches of health care, as well in academic settings, social work, and government agencies.

Because many MFT students have to complete at least two years of post-graduate supervised clinical experience, many go on to work in private practice, some in the very practice that they work as supervised clinicians. Others often use academic or professional connections to find work in practices with other established therapists, while some begin their own practices. Some MFT students find a better fit in outpatient or hospital work rather than private practice – in this way they often seen more patients fewer times, but usually work in more intense sessions with more strategic coping mechanisms designed for patients in these crisis situations.

There are also those who work in religious or nonprofit settings, helping people overcome emotional and psychological issues in a church, group, or other kind of counseling setting outside of a professional private practice.

Additionally, some go on to work in government or other agency jobs. These MFT graduates work alongside social workers to help families with emotional issues, parenting problems, marriage disputes, and other troubling behaviors, including aggression among children and violence between parents.

Finally, many go on to work in academics, either conducting research and writing and publishing papers about family relationships and therapy, or working as professors to train new marriage and family counselors. This kind of position is often taken after working several years as a practicing MFT, but some decide to transition from a master’s degree program to a doctorate program in order to work in research.

How Much Can You Earn as an MFT?

Salaries vary; however, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary is very close to $50,000. This career field is expected to grow 29% over the ten years, as more and more insurance companies offer mental health coverage benefits.

An MFT degree is a great option for students looking for a degree in health and counseling. There is not only a higher demand that will continue for several years, but there is a specificity in the degree that allows you with a work in a fairly identifiable group of people, but also a flexibility in the degree that can allow for movement and placement in several different practice settings.

Featured MFT Degrees

Liberty University
Marriage & Family Therapy (MA)
Human Services - Marriage & Family (MA)
Prof Counseling (PhD)
Liberty University has an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy as well as a Human Services programs available for students seeking the ability to practice in this field. Both degrees prepare students for several career options, including counseling, casework, case management, and child or family social services. Subjects include theory, techniques and practice, and clinical environments.
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Northcentral University
Marriage & Family Therapy (MA)
Marriage & Family Therapy - General (PhD)
Marriage & Family Therapy - Couple Therapy (PhD)
Marriage and Family Therapy - Child and Adolescent Therapy (PhD)
Psychology - Marriage and Family Therapy (PhD)
Northcentral University offers a wide range of Marriage and Family Therapy programs. Students wanting to practice in the field should pursue that MA degree while the doctorate programs prepare students for research in various fields like Couple Therapy or Child and Adolescent Therapy. No residency is required to obtain the degree.
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Walden University
Marriage, Couple & Family Counseling - Forensic Counseling (MS)
Child Dev - Family Health & Wellness (BS)
Human Services - Child & Adolescent Dev (BS)
Walden University’s MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling prepares students wanting to practice in a variety of different environments and situations. Students learn how to analyze and advise in several tough situations like divorce, mediation, domestic violence, and family crises. The program is designed to qualify students for many states’ licensing exams.
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Kaplan University
Psych - Child Dev (BS)
The BS in Psychology of Child Development from Kaplan University is a great choice for students not yet ready to obtain their master’s degree. Students are introduced to family environments and are prepared for potential careers in child care work or casework. This program only serves as a pathway to advanced degrees and state licensure.
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Ashford University
Social Science - Child & Family Dev (BA)
Students interested in marriage and family counseling and have not obtained an undergraduate degree should consider the BA of Social Science in Child and Family Development. This degree explores various elements of the family environment including social and cultural relationships, developmental psychology, theory, and the impact of research in the field.
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Southern New Hampshire University
Child & Adolescent Dev Psych (MS)
If you want to focus more on child social services and counseling, the Southern New Hampshire University offers an MS of Psychology in Child and Adolescent Development. Courses cover many child- related subjects like emotional assessment, behavioral disorders, traumatic experiences, cultural and societal influences, and family engagement.
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