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Ready for a Career as a Marriage and Family Counselor?

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 clinical mental health counseling. But what will you study in a marriage and family counseling program? What’s the value of the degree? And how will you choose the best master’sprogram for your needs? Let’s explore.

Ready for a Career as a Marriage and Family Counselor?

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

A master’s degree specializing in marriage and family counseling—typically an MS in Clinical Mental Health 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 such a 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, addiction, job changes, 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 program specializing in family and marriage counseling

Whether you pursue a master’s specializing 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 specializing 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.

Choosing the right master’s degree program

There’s no shortage of master’s degree programs that can help you begin your career in family and marriage counseling. 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 specializing 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 specializing in family and marriage counseling meets strict professional standards. A limited number of online master’s specializing in marriage and family counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.

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

The median pay for a marriage and family therapist is $50,090.1 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 23% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average when compared to all other occupations in the U.S.1

Ready to help others as a marriage and family counselor? Walden University offers an online MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program 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), which is a requirement for licensure in many states. Expand your career options and earn your master’s degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


1Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/marriage-and-family-therapists.htm

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