Family Counseling Certificate and Diploma Programs

Marriage and family counseling certificate and diploma programs are offered at the graduate level to students who hold a master's degree. Some schools allow applicants with a bachelor's degree to enroll; however, students earn a master's degree concurrent to the diploma or certificate.

Essential Information

Family counseling certificate and diploma programs, which can vary in duration -- from 1-2 years -- teach students to help individuals, children and families cope with mental and emotional problems, using a family systems framework. Much of the learning occurs through practical experiences which comprise a large part of these programs. The coursework and practica typically align with state requirements for licensure. After graduation, students are eligible to earn professional certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors and Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).Applicants to post-graduate certificate programs in family counseling must first possess a master's degree, although the degree does not necessarily need to be related to counseling.

  • Some Program Fields in Family Counseling: Play therapy, elder counseling
  • Other Requirements: Personal interview, official college transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume and a statement of interest
  • Program Length: One to two years

Certificate in Family Counseling

Roughly half to a third of any certificate program is comprised of supervised work as an intern, working directly with clients and other target groups. Certificate candidates study the roles of individuals in the family, how group dynamics affect marriages, couples counseling and working with children.

  • Family and marriage dynamics
  • Family counseling
  • Couples therapy
  • Counseling theory and technique
  • Family life cycle

Popular Career Options

With a graduate certificate in family counseling and marriage therapy, graduates may wish to enter private practice as an independent counselor. Graduates may also work in a wide variety of other social help agencies or organizations, or go on to take jobs with such titles as family therapist, child therapy specialist, marriage counselor, and mental health worker.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

May 2014 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported that annual median salaries for family and marriage therapists were $48,040. The BLS expected that these workers would have 31% job growth for the years 2012 through 2022, which is considered much faster than average.

Continuing Education Information

Though the curriculum for family counseling certificates is very similar from college to college, state licensure requirements may vary greatly; students are responsible for keeping abreast of current licensure requirements and any required continuing education. Graduates may also go on to earn doctoral degrees in mental health, family therapy, social work or psychology.

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