While in the master's degree program, students become familiar with relationship processes and contemporary issues in the treatment of today's couples and families through lecture-based coursework and clinical practica. They learn how to help families deal with issues such as depression, juvenile crime, substance abuse, sexual abuse, communication problems and mental illnesses. Most programs prepare students for professional licensure.
Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy
Master's-level curricula provide coursework to familiarize students with concepts in family studies, child development, addiction processes, personality theory, gender roles and human sexuality. Students are also required to complete a set number of client contact hours during clinical practicum opportunities and community internships. Depending on the program, required coursework varies from 39-60 credit hours, and both thesis and non-thesis options are available. Course topics include:
- Family dynamics
- Addictive disorders
- Human development
- Therapy ethics and legal issues
- Family assessment
- Couples counseling
- Adolescent therapy
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Marriage and family therapists are needed to assess and treat mental and emotional disorders, behavioral health problems and various relationship issues within the family setting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for marriage and family therapists was projected to grow 15% from 2014-2024, which was much faster than average. Licensed therapists can find employment in private practices, social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, inpatient facilities, community health centers and other community organizations. In May 2015, the average yearly wage for a marriage and family therapist was $53,520, according to the BLS.
In order to maintain and renew their license, marriage and family therapists are required to complete continuing education credits throughout the year to stay up-to-date with the latest research and trends within the field. Courses are offered through universities, colleges, professional organizations - such as the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) - and state licensing boards. Ph.D. programs are available for those wishing to become advanced clinical supervisors, teachers or researchers.
Master's programs in marriage and family therapy include both didactic coursework and clinical training sessions to prepare students for professional licensure. The career outlook for marriage and family therapists is bright, with faster-than-average growth in employment opportunities expected between 2014 and 2024.