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Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are typically required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice.Education
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.Training
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.Licenses
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Program Counselor
Top Careers After Program Counselor
Hispanic or Latino11.0%
Black or African American0.9%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
University of Tennessee - Knoxville10.0%
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities7.8%
University of Phoenix7.2%
Southern Connecticut State University5.3%
Saint Cloud State University5.3%
Saint Catherine University4.1%
Grand Canyon University4.1%
Norfolk State University3.8%
University of Northwestern - Saint Paul3.8%
Arizona State University3.4%
Metropolitan State University3.4%
University of South Florida3.1%
Nova Southeastern University3.1%
University of Wisconsin - River Falls3.1%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Industrial Technology Education Program Counselor||Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas||Henderson, NV||Jul 19, 2016||$85,527|
|Rehabilitation Program Counselor||North Shore Medical Rehabilitation||NY||Sep 08, 2014||$62,400|
|College Program Counselor||Columbia College, Inc.||Fairfax, VA||Apr 13, 2015||$52,853|
|Asian Program Counselor||Metropolitan Jewish Home Care||New York, NY||Sep 20, 2010||$50,000|
|Asian Program Counselor||Metropolitan Jewish Health System||New York, NY||Sep 20, 2010||$50,000|
|Senior Program Counselor||Friends of Grace Seniors, Inc.||Englewood, NJ||Sep 02, 2009||$47,278|
|University Program Counselor||Lado International College||Washington, DC||Oct 01, 2015||$44,098|
|College Program Counselor||Columbia College, Inc.||Fairfax, VA||Oct 29, 2012||$42,554|
|College Program Counselor||Columbia College, Inc.||Fairfax, VA||Oct 31, 2012||$42,554|
|University Program Counselor||BUEI, LLC DBA Harriet Fulbright College||Arlington, VA||Jul 15, 2013||$42,554|
|College Program Counselor||Columbia College, Inc.||Fairfax, VA||Apr 15, 2013||$42,554|
|Youth Program Counselor||The National Institute of Family Counseling||Vienna, VA||Oct 01, 2012||$42,512|
|College Program Counseler||The University of Northern Virginia||Manassas, VA||May 05, 2010||$41,740|
|Educational Program Counselor||Global Education Institute Inc.||Chapel Hill, NC||Aug 24, 2014||$41,600|
|Piano Program Counselor||Orchepia School of Music, Inc.||Irvine, CA||Sep 23, 2015||$41,218|
|Counselor for ESL Program||Washington University of Virginia Inc.||Annandale, VA||Nov 15, 2015||$40,676|
|MBA Program Counselor||Delaware State University||Dover, DE||Jan 05, 2015||$39,707|
|University Program Counselor||BUEI, LLC DBA Harriet Fulbright College||Arlington, VA||Dec 01, 2010||$39,173|
|Piano Program Counselor||Orchepia School of Music, Inc.||Diamond Bar, CA||Sep 23, 2012||$37,420|
|Program Counselor||New Visions Foundation||Santa Monica, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$37,420|
|Program Counselor||New Visions Foundation||Santa Monica, CA||Jan 26, 2012||$37,420|
|Piano Program Counselor||Orchepia School of Music, Inc.||Diamond Bar, CA||Sep 15, 2012||$37,420|
|Program Counselor||Assistive Technology Resource Centers of Hawaii||Urban Honolulu, HI||Feb 01, 2012||$36,439|
|Program Counselor||Community Management Assistance C||MA||Sep 30, 2013||$35,479|
|Program Counselor||John P Holland Community Council, Inc.||MA||Oct 01, 2010||$35,479|
|Children's Program Counselor||New York Asian Women's Center||New York, NY||Jul 05, 2012||$34,102|
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