Family Violence Prevention Counselor: Job Description & Career Info

Mar 18, 2019

Career Definition for a Family Violence Prevention Counselor

The key job duty of family violence prevention counselors is to work to reduce the incidence of violent behavior and abuse in family situations. Family violence prevention counselors work to prevent and address domestic violence, emotional abuse, and parental abuse of children. Family violence prevention counselors often work for government agencies, family welfare outreach groups, social work agencies, and other non-profits.

Required Education Varies by state and employer, but a bachelor's degree and work experience will improve job opportunities
Job Duties Include working to prevent and address domestic violence and emotional abuse
Median Salary (2017) $48,790 (marriage and family therapists)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23% growth (marriage and family therapists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

The educational requirements to become a family violence prevention counselor vary by place of employment and state; you will need some combination of education and relevant work experience. While requirements vary, a bachelor's degree in a field like family counseling, domestic abuse counseling, social work, or social and behavioral science will improve your opportunities. Typical coursework in a relevant, 4-year degree program includes family dynamics, theories of domestic abuse, domestic abuse and the law, theories of child abuse, and the practice of social work.

Licensing Requirements

For positions that require family violence prevention counselors to be qualified marriage and family therapists, professional licensing requirements apply. A master's degree in social work, counseling, or a related field plus a minimum of post-graduate clinical experience are required to sit for a state licensing exam.

Required Skills

To succeed as a family violence prevention counselor, you'll need to be graceful, approachable, easy to communicate with, and able to listen and weigh the opinions and feelings of all family members. These skills are crucial to fulfilling your key role of fostering communication and understanding, as well as educating the family to address and reduce instances of family violence.

Economic and Career Outlook

The job outlook for marriage and family therapists, which includes family violence prevention counselors, is excellent; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 23% increase in employment from 2016-2026. The median income for such counselors was $48,790 per year, as of May 2017.

Alternate Career Options

Here are some examples of alternative career options:

Social Worker

A social worker assists clients with health, employment, or family problems, helping them identify goals and the steps needed to reach them. They may arrange for relevant client services, like housing assistance and public aid. Social workers who earn licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) credentials can also provide therapy for clients experiencing behavioral, emotional, and mental problems.

Direct service social workers typically have a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field like sociology; state licensing requirements may apply. Clinical service social workers must earn a master's degree in social work (MSW) and complete a minimum of post-graduate work experience prior to sitting for a required licensing exam. Per the BLS, social worker jobs are expected to increase 16% from 2016-2026; median pay for this job was $47,980 in 2017.


Psychologists conduct research in the way people behave - cognitively, socially, and emotionally. They may conduct experiments or collect information through clinical work. There are a number of specializations within the field of psychology, including school psychology, forensic psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology. Psychologists are not typically permitted to write prescriptions for patients.

Education requirements can vary by field. For example, industrial-organizational psychologists need a master's degree in psychology, while school psychologists must earn an education specialist (Ed.S.) degree and clinical psychologists need a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) or Ph.D. in Psychology. Psychologists are also typically subject to state licensing or certification requirements. Board certification is available through the American Board of Professional Psychology.

The BLS reports that jobs for all psychologists are predicted to increase 14% from 2016-2026. With all specialties accounted for, this occupation paid a median salary of $77,030 in 2017.

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