Skip to main content

How to become a marriage counselor


January 24, 2017


Categories: Blog

Published: January 24, 2017

For those interested in psychology and counseling, a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) can open up a variety of career opportunities such as marriage counselor, family therapist or mental health counselor.
MFT is a form of Mental Health Counseling that is focused around helping families manage and overcome mental or emotional disorders as well as conflict within the family. Marriage and Family Therapists will diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within a family unit—providing conclusive treatments for clinical conditions including depression, anxiety, trauma, child-parent conflict, and relationship problems.

MFT Careers

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for marriage counselor careers in Marriage and Family Therapy are expected to grow significantly. The number of MFT jobs are expected to increase by 19% in 2014-2024, much faster than average for other occupations.
The median salary for Marriage and Family Therapists is $48,600, though there is a wide variety in the type of work, employer, and occupational setting of MFT jobs.

Marriage Counselor and MFT Training

There are a variety of different educational paths that will allow an individual to practice as a marriage counselor or marriage and family therapist. Some programs allow for specialization in a particular area, while others only provide a broad foundation of learning.

Our Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pacific Oaks College in available in Pasadena and San Jose, California. The Master’s in MFT at Pacific Oaks is offered on-campus, and takes only two-and-a-half years to complete full time. A Bachelor’s degree is required for admission, and students have the opportunity to specialize in the following areas:

MFT California Licensure Requirements

At a Glance:
  1. Earn a Master’s or Doctoral degree from a qualifying college*
  2. Register with the BBS as an MFT Intern
  3. Earn 3,000 hours of post-degree experience
  4. Apply to take the California Law & Ethics Examination
  5. After passing the CA Law & Ethics Exam, apply for the Clinical Examination
  6. After passing the Clinical Examination, Apply for initial licensure
  7. Receive LMFT license
The process of licensure provides MFT students the opportunity to prove their qualification to practice according to an objective standard, and these standards are generally defined at the state level.
For example, for individuals receiving an MFT at Pacific Oaks College, licensure would ultimately be governed by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, which provides specific requirements for how each MFT program must be structured.
To become a MFT, candidates must first earn their master’s degree through an accredited program. Part of the program will include a fieldwork requirement where students work in the field. To qualify to sit for the California MFT licensing exam, students need to complete 3,000 supervised hours in the field.
Once they have completed the program, graduates will need to pass the California MFT licensing exam before applying for initial licensure.
*For a program to be qualified, the program must satisfy all of the requirements of the SB 33 and the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) (Business and Professions Code Sections 4980.36c, d e 4980.39, 4980.40, and 4980.41).
Individuals interested in learning more about a career as an MFT can review the Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pacific Oaks College.
Categories: Blog