Marriage & Family Therapist Career

marriage-therapist-500Marriage and family therapists focus on the family unit in dealing with relationships and dysfunction caused by a variety of reasons. They help the family deal with behavior and psychological disorders in children, marital conflicts and substance abuse. Through observation, discussion and other techniques, the therapist learns about the family and works to assist one or all of the family members overcome barriers to a fully functioning unit.

In cases where the family is unable to overcome the barriers, the therapist may assist in helping the family through a divorce. In other cases, there may be a grieving family or family member that needs additional counseling. Yet other members of the family may have psychological issues that need to be addressed. In each of these case, the therapist will treat the individual in the family context.

Marriage & Family Therapist Career Snapshot

Most marriage and family therapists are in private practice within a group or as an individual. Others may contract with or work with a school district or a nonprofit that focuses on family issues. Depending on the focus of the therapist, some nights and weekends could be required. Clients could be referred from a court system, be self-referred or come to therapy from any number of avenues.

Further details on a career as a marriage and family therapists are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average pay for marriage and family therapists.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


marriage & family therapists and mental health counselors in 2014.

Marriage & Family Therapist Education

Marriage and family therapy is a specialized field requiring a Master’s degree and license to practice. Each state sets the requirements for their licenses. Some require the new therapist to work with a fully licensed mentor for a period of time before issuing the full Marriage and Family Therapist license to the new professional.

Marriage & Family Therapist Job Duties

The marriage and family therapy career requires empathy and the ability to listen. Successful therapists are able to connect with the clients to gain trust and talk them through their problems to get to a healthier individual and family unit. The therapist will keep notes, research and maintain an office.

Marriage & Family Therapist Salaries

Salaries vary in this field. The median annual salary for May 2015 was $48,600 according to statistics. Depending on location and type of employment, the salaries ranged from $30,540 on the low end to $81,960 on the high end.

Marriage & Family Therapist Job Outlook

The field of marriage and family therapy is in the fast growing category and is expected to grow by 15% in the coming years. The expected growth is due to retirement and increased emphasis on mental health.

Marriage & Family Therapist Skills & Traits

Marriage & Family Therapist Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Marriage & Family Therapists:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Social Perceptiveness
• Making Decisions
• Service Orientation
• Speaking
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Speech Clarity
• Deductive Reasoning
• Notebook computers
• Photocopiers
• Multi-line telephone systems
• Videoconferencing systems
• Accounting software
• Maintaining relationships
• Caring for others
• Recording information
• Solving problems
• Getting information

Related Careers


Master’s Degree

Rehabilitation Counselors

Master’s Degree

What Do Related Careers Pay?