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Become A Family Counselor

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Working As A Family Counselor

  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $51,070

    Average Salary

What Does A Family Counselor Do

A Family Counselor treats married couples or family members in order to help them overcome mental or emotional problems. They provide effective treatment measures to help the family members resolve their issues.

How To Become A Family Counselor

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are typically required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice.


To become a mental health counselor or a marriage and family therapist, applicants typically need a master’s degree in psychology, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or a related mental health field. A bachelor’s degree in most fields is acceptable to enter a master’s program.

Counseling programs prepare students to recognize symptoms of mental and emotional disorders and to use effective counseling strategies. Marriage and family therapy programs teach students about how marriages, families, and relationships function and how these relationships can affect mental and emotional disorders.

Many employers prefer to hire counselors who have graduated from programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.


Candidates gain hands-on experience through postdegree supervised clinical work, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In training, they learn to provide family therapy, group therapy, psychotherapy, and other therapeutic interventions, under the supervision of a licensed counselor.


All states require mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to be licensed in the state in which they practice. Licensure requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of postdegree supervised clinical experience, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In addition, counselors and therapists must pass a state-recognized exam and complete annual continuing education classes.

Contact information for state boards regulating mental health counselors is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Contact and licensing information for marriage and family therapists is available through the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Counselors and therapists often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different types of people is essential for counselors and therapists. They spend most of their time working directly with clients and other professionals and must be able to encourage good relationships.

Listening skills. Good listening skills are essential for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, both of whom need to give their full attention to their clients to understand their problems, values, and goals.

Organizational skills. Good organizational skills are especially important for counselors and therapists in private practice, who must keep track of payments and work with insurance companies.

Speaking skills. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists need to be able to communicate with clients effectively. They must express ideas and information in a way that clients can understand easily.

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Family Counselor jobs

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Real Family Counselor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Pastoral Youth and Family Counselor New Vision Youth Community Center Irving, TX Sep 14, 2016 $49,045
Individual and Family Counselor Family Insight, PC Roanoke, VA Jul 10, 2013 $46,874
Msw/Ma-Level Family Counselor SCO Family of Services New York, NY Feb 13, 2014 $44,840
Bilingual Family Counselor Lincoln Child Center Oakland, CA Jan 10, 2011 $44,346 -
Msw/Ma-Level Family Counselor SCO Family of Services New York, NY Apr 09, 2011 $42,000
Thearpist, Family Counseling Services Catholic Social Services of Oakland County, Inc. Waterford, MI Jun 21, 2010 $41,740 -
Msw/Ma-Level Family Counselor SCO Family of Services New York, NY Jun 22, 2012 $41,200
Family Counselor SCO Family of Services New York, NY Aug 10, 2011 $41,000
Family Counselor SCO Family of Services New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $40,000
Msw/Ma-Level Family Counselor SCO Family of Services New York, NY Jun 22, 2009 $40,000
Family Counselor The Aleph Institute, Inc. Surfside, FL Oct 20, 2010 $37,200
Family Counselor Youth Villages Arlington, VA Apr 29, 2008 $37,000 -
Family Support Counselor Y.O.U. Inc. Worcester, MA Oct 17, 2011 $35,000
Family Support Counselor Y.O.U. Inc. Worcester, MA Apr 03, 2011 $35,000
Family Support Counselor Y.O.U. Inc. Worcester, MA Sep 15, 2011 $35,000
Youth and Family Counselor Omni Youth Services Buffalo Grove, IL Oct 01, 2011 $35,000
Christian Family Counselor Saenuree Alliance Church, Inc. Palisades Park, NJ Mar 01, 2010 $34,916
Family Counselor Serenity Mental Health, LLC. Carson City, NV Sep 09, 2014 $33,363
Family Support Counselor Kids In Distress, Inc. Wilton Manors, FL Jun 12, 2010 $31,270

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Top Skills for A Family Counselor


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Top Family Counselor Skills

  1. Crisis Intervention
  2. Family Therapy
  3. Weekly Treatment Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed and implemented crisis intervention plans, treatment plans, and person centered plans.
  • Provide individual and family therapy to youth in inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.
  • Identify specific goals and assign measurable tasks to the child and family, which are included in weekly treatment plans.
  • Diagnose adult patients and adolescents and their families with histories of mental illness, child abuse, domestic violence.
  • Provided referrals for soldiers and family members out of scope to ensure they receive appropriate mental health services.

Top Family Counselor Employers

Family Counselor Videos

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