A counseling internship is required, and students may do a thesis in some programs. After graduation, students who meet all the requirements can sit for their state's MFT licensing exam. Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree, preferably in a human services field such as counseling. Some colleges and universities require applicants to undergo a background check in addition to submitting letters of recommendation along with their completed application.
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Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy
MFT curricula include courses covering basic family studies, personality theory, child development, addiction processes and human sexuality. In addition to classroom instruction, students are required to complete an internship in order to gain a set number of client contact hours. MFT master's programs can range from 39 to 60 credit hours and typically offer both a non-thesis and thesis option. Sample coursework from an MFT program includes:
- Human development
- Family systems
- Family law and ethics
- Client assessment
- Couples therapy
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for marriage and family therapists are projected to grow at a rate of 15% between 2014 and 2024. Therapists are needed to assess and treat a variety of mental, behavior and relational issues in such organizations as schools, private practice, community health centers, nonprofits and other social service agencies. The BLS also reported that the median salary for MFT therapists was $48,600 as of 2015.
Once individuals have completed a master's program in MFT, passed the state's certification exam and become licensed, therapists must familiarize themselves with their state's continuing education requirements in order to renew and maintain their credentials. Although the requirements vary, nearly all states require a prescribed number of continuing education credits available from colleges and universities, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) or other professional organizations. Licensed therapists interested in the academic or research aspect of the field should consider enrolling in a Ph.D. program.
Marriage and family therapists are experiencing an increase in job growth. Individuals interested in pursuing a career in the field can complete a master's degree program. Students can expect to take courses on counseling techniques, human development, psychopathology, addiction and family law.