With a bright employment outlook and the potential to foster positive, long-lasting change, marriage and family therapy is a burgeoning field ripe for those passionate about helping others.

If you’re interested in becoming a professional counselor with expertise in marriage, couples, and family counseling, you’ll need a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling. But what will you study in a master’s in marriage and family counseling program? What’s the value of the degree? And how will you choose the best master’s in marriage and family counseling program for your needs? Let’s explore.

The value of a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling

A master’s degree in marriage and family counseling—typically an MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling—will train you in counseling and family system theory, equipping you with the skills you need to help couples and families cope with complex issues. Curriculum in a master’s in family and marriage counseling program prepares you to help resolve marriage and family conflicts related to a myriad of issues, including but not limited to divorce, mediation, child-rearing, school issues, and family violence. It will also equip you with the knowledge to work with families across the life cycle and connect clients with the help that they need to live fuller, happier lives.

What you’ll study in a master’s in family and marriage counseling program

Whether you pursue a master’s in marriage and family counseling online or on campus, core curriculum will span a range of areas, including but not limited to:

  • Counseling techniques and theories
  • Ethics and legal issues
  • Child and adolescent counseling
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Crisis, trauma, and disaster response
  • Career counseling
  • Group process and dynamics

Most master’s in family and marriage counseling programs, even those at an online university, require internships and fieldwork where you’ll apply your new knowledge in real-world situations. Many programs also encourage you to pick a specialization, such as addiction counseling, trauma counseling, or forensic counseling.

Choosing the right master’s in marriage and family counseling program

There’s no shortage of master’s in family and marriage counseling programs. So how do you choose the right one?

When researching programs, consider the following:

  • Online or on campus
    Do you want to pursue your master’s in marriage and family counseling online or on campus? Those with work and family commitments often prefer the flexibility of online programs, which let you learn at your own pace and on your own schedule, without the need to travel to a brick-and-mortar institution.
  • Accreditation
    Is accreditation important to you? Accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, commonly known as CACREP, signifies that a master’s in family and marriage counseling program meets strict professional standards. A limited number of online master’s in marriage and family counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.
  • Specializations
    Is there a particular area in marriage and family counseling that you’re interested in? If so, be sure the master’s in family and marriage counseling programs you apply to include your area of focus.

Getting a job with a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling

The job outlook for those with a master’s degree in family and marriage counseling is promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is estimated to grow 29% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average when compared to all other occupations in the U.S.

Ready to help others as a marriage and family counselor? Pursue your master’s in marriage, couple, and family counseling online, on your own schedule and at your own pace, with Walden University’s CACREP-accredited online MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program.


Accreditation Statement: Walden University’s MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CACREP accreditation is a requirement for licensure in many states.

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