Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling Career Guide
What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Marriage And Family Counseling Program?
Also referred to as a master’s in family therapy, the online master’s
in marriage and family counseling prepares an individual to help
couples and families with interpersonal issues. As a student seeking an
online degree, you can expect the same types of classes and course load
that you would expect in an on-campus degree program. Obtaining your
degree online provides flexibility and makes it easier to balance work,
school and personal time, so you can finish your degree in your own
time. Because all programs are different, it’s important to look around
and find the program that aligns with your personal career goals.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Marriage And Family Counseling
|CONCENTRATION||DESCRIPTION||POSSIBLE CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR|
|Mental Health Counseling||Prepares students to help individuals achieve emotional wellness. Mental health counselors generally see patients on an ongoing basis or as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.||In-home therapist, residential counselor, outpatient clinician, school adjustment counselor, licensed mental health counselor|
|Addiction/Substance Abuse Counseling||An addiction or substance abuse counselor works with those who fear they will become addicts or those currently suffering from addiction to help overcome their habits.||Case manager, victim’s advocates, treatment specialist and health educators|
|Youth Counseling||Youth counselors typically help young adults with peer pressure, adjustments in school and navigating through puberty. Sometimes these individuals serve as mentors for those without a positive role model in their lives.||Community services director, school counselor, coach, youth group administrator and teacher|
|Career Counseling||Focuses on classes in behavioral and social science or human services. Career counselors learn skills to help match students and individuals with the best career or job for their experience and personality.||Social worker, high school teacher, missionary, online teacher|
|Psychology||Centers on the study of human thinking, memory and perception. Some may focus on how learning and socialization affect the brain and behavior.||Correctional officer, psychiatric technician, social worker, health educator and administrative service manager|
Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Marriage And Family Counseling
Choosing the best curriculum for an online master’s degree in
marriage and family counseling requires research and preparation. Each
college and university offers something different for everyone. Read
through the course description and compare it with your career goals and
objections. Get a clear understanding of what the program entails. Some
programs require you to take labs and other specific classes on-campus
with the majority of the coursework online, while others are completely
online. Also, you should expect to do some field work or an internship.
|Theoretical Issues in Child Development||Examines the theories of change that take place during childhood development.|
|Social Science Statistics||Introduces students to the statistical concepts used in evaluating research in social sciences and applying that research to real-world situations.|
|Marriage and Family Relationships||Helps students understand family theory and the use of theories to understand how families interact with one another.|
|Leadership and Social Justice||Exposes students to current literature on leadership as it relates to leadership and strategic planning in regards to social justice.|
|Professional Development||A capstone course that allows students to explore and specify their career goals and how they plan to obtain those goals as they relate to marriage and family counseling.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Marriage And Family Counseling?
An online master’s degree in marriage and family therapy takes
between two to three years to complete, depending on whether an
individual takes a full-time or a part-time course load. Part-time
students typically take one class at a time in the master’s program,
while full-time students take two classes per semester. The time of
completion also depends on whether you take self-paced classes or sign
up for cohort classes. With cohort classes, a group of students enters
the program at the same time, take the same class schedule and
matriculate together. Self-paced classes allow you to pick and choose
what classes you want to take and when you want to take them, which
allows you to finish faster. Students can expect to complete 48 to 60
hours of classwork and a number of fieldwork hours.
Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Marriage And Family Counseling Prepares For
All marriage and family counselors are held to strict licensure
requirements because they are considered mental health specialists who
treat and diagnose mental health and psychotherapy disorders. Licensure
varies from state to state, but these individuals must complete a
master’s degree and log between 2,000 and 4,000 training hours under a
licensed therapist. Every state requires counselors to pass an exam and
continuing education credits are required to maintain their credentials.
The Association of Marriage and Family Therapy regulatory board
oversees licensing requirements across the United States.
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Marriage And Family Counseling
Both the master’s and the doctorate in marriage and family counseling and therapy programs require accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Earning a degree from a dual-accredited program helps facilitate career
and academic progression and ensures students receive a quality
education that meets or exceeds industry standards.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Marriage And Family Counseling Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
All licensed professional counseling jobs require at least a master’s
degree in marriage and family counseling. There are some entry-level
positions for those with a bachelor’s, including social work, human
service workers, life-skills instructors and case management assistance.
A master’s degree opens a wide variety of doors in professional
counseling and the business world. According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, growth across all levels of counselors is around 3 percent,
but advanced degrees tend to offer higher salaries and create more
opportunities for advancement.
In addition to opened career pathways, an online master’s in marriage
and family counseling provides increased salaries in comparison to
counseling assistants and human service workers.
|Job Title||Salary Range|
|Marriage and Family Therapist||$31,390-$81,760|
|Substance Abuse Counselor||$26,210-$65,080|
For those looking for areas with the highest concentrations of marriage and family counselors, there are a variety of metropolitan areas to choose from. Consider the salaries in these top locations.
Below is a map of mean wages nationwide for marriage and family therapists.
Professional students who complete an online master’s degree in
marriage and family counseling are qualified for a wide variety of
career positions. Eligibility for the position depends on the state and
the industry, which includes substance abuse centers, health care
centers, hospitals and schools. Consider some of the following career
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Mental Health Counselor||A mental health counselor helps individuals cope with challenging life events. They offer support and guidance on how to overcome problems in regards to mental health.||$46,050 per year||19%|
|Substance Abuse Counselor||Substance abuse counselors advise individuals who suffer from drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues and behavioral problems. They also help find treatment options for those recovering from addictions.||$43,300 per year||23%|
|School and Career Counselor||School counselors help students develop academic and social skills that are needed to succeed in the learning environment. They work in both high schools, colleges, career centers and in private practices.||$55,410 per year||13%|
|Rehabilitation Counselor||Rehabilitation counselors help people with mental, developmental, physical or emotional disabilities live independently. They also help them overcome any challenges related to employment of independent living.||$34,860 per year||13%|
Professional memberships provide a wealth of benefits, including
educational opportunities, networking and subscriptions to national
industry journals. Many organizations offer annual conferences to help
you keep up with changes in technology and standards. Some of the top
organizations for those majoring in marriage and family counseling
American Counseling Association (ACA):
This is the world’s largest organization representing professional
counselors across a variety of concentrations. The organization offers
continuing education, career advancement help, networking connections
and advocates for the industry.
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT):
The AAMFT exists solely to advance the practice and profession of
marriage and family therapy. It offers a variety of online classes and
host an annual conference at the end of August.
International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC):
This organization is a division of the American Counseling Association.
It promotes excellence in the practice of family and couples
counseling. The organization hands out media and publications provide a
forum for exploring diverse family issues and encourages other
counselors to advocate for all families.
National Employment Counseling Association (NECA):
The NECA is an organization dedicated to helping individuals find
employment in the field of counseling. It offers professional
development and national, state and local advocacy.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Marriage And Family Counseling
Earning an online master’s degree is typically cheaper than earning
that same degree in traditional on-campus study. Expenses associated
with travel, for instance, are eliminated when participating in a
distance learning program. Despite it costing less overall, many
students still need financial aid to help them pay for the cost of their
It can be confusing to navigate all of the different financial aid
options available, but a good place to start is with the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Filling it out and
submitting it provides you with information about grants, scholarships,
loans and other forms of financial aid available to you through the
Many nonprofit organizations, private companies and even individual
schools offer their own scholarships and grants. Be sure to investigate
the programs you’re interested in to find out whether you qualify to
apply for any scholarships.
|Financial Aid for Graduate Students|
|Knowing Your Options|
|Financial Aid Opportunities|
Award: $5,600 to $36,000
Deadline: January 31
Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled in a full-time or part-time accredited MFT degree, be a U.S. citizen and show a commitment to ethnic minority populations.
Award: $2,500 to $5,000
Deadline: May 31
Eligibility: Accepted majors include counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, psychology and nursing. Entrants must submit a 500-word essay about the challenges of getting addicts the treatment they need.
Deadline: June 30
Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled in a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better. They must also submit an essay between 500 and 900 words about psychological issues unique to online dating.
Deadline: January 9
Eligibility: Recipients must be a U.S. citizen, attend an accredited graduate school, have a GPA of 3.0 or better and display a true leadership capacity.