Marriage and Family Counseling Masters Degree Programs

Oct 10, 2019

Degrees in marriage and family counseling can be awarded as either a Master of Science or a Master of Arts, but the curricula and internship requirements are generally similar. The programs combine practice experience in the field with classroom instruction.

Essential Information

Master's degrees in marriage and family counseling combine practical experience with research, theoretical analysis, and the study of social, political and cultural forces that influence patient care and welfare. It can take about 2 to 4 years to complete this program, depending on a student's course load.

This program requires a bachelor's degree, GRE or MAT scores, letters of recommendation, and an essay or interview in order to get accepted. Students already working in the field are required to submit a copy of their resume.

Graduates of most programs meet the educational requirements for state licensure as marriage and family therapists, though they typically need to accumulate more hours of work experience before gaining their license.

Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling

The training offered in a master's program in marriage and family counseling is a blend of classroom instruction and hands-on practice. Students develop strong research and patient care skills through internships that include observing live and taped sessions, doing case reviews and participating in research teams. Topics may include:

  • Ethnicity and gender issues
  • Counseling ethics
  • Couples therapy
  • Dysfunctional families
  • Domestic violence
  • Pediatric and adolescent mental health

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for marriage and family therapists are expected to increase 22% from 2018-2028 ( This rise in employment may be partly due to an increase in people seeking help for emotional and mental issues. Marriage and family therapists earned a mean annual income of $54,150 as of May 2018, as reported by the BLS.

Continuing Education

Graduates of master's programs in marriage and family therapy must complete the licensing requirements set forth by their state of residence. This usually requires a specific amount of practical experience and an exam. Doctoral programs in marriage and family therapy are also available for students who wish to continue their studies.

Students who strive to be a marriage and family counselor must earn at least a master's degree that focuses on topics such as couples therapy, domestic violence, and gender issues. Upon graduation, students complete experiential requirements in order to qualify for a license to practice in their residing state.

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