What do they do?

Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.

Also known as:

Clinical Therapist, Counselor, Family Therapist, Human Relations Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Marriage and Family Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Outpatient Therapist, Play Therapist

Typical Wages

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Marriage and Family Therapists is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than average compared to all occupations.

Projected Employment in VA

No Data Available
  • 13.9%

    Change

    Ranks #24 in job growth rate
    80

    Job Openings

    Ranks #32 in net job growth

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Education Level

Percent of workers in this field with these degrees:

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree  (8%)
  • Master's degree  (67%)
  • Bachelor's degree  (13%)
  • Associate's degree  (2%)
  • Some college, no degree  (5%)
  • High school diploma equivalent  (4%)
  • Less than high school diploma  (1%)

Typical College Majors

Most Popular Majors that prepare Marriage and Family Therapists

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People in this career often have these skills:

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.

People in this career often know a lot about:

  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Administrative - Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.

People in this career often have talent in:

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

People in this career often do these activities:

  • Teach life skills or strategies to clients or their families.
  • Counsel clients or patients regarding personal issues.
  • Develop treatment plans for patients or clients.
  • Maintain client records.
  • Counsel clients regarding interpersonal issues.
  • Collect information about clients.
  • Interview clients to gather information about their backgrounds, needs, or progress.
  • Confer with clients to discuss treatment plans or progress.
  • Collaborate with other professionals to assess client needs or plan treatments.
  • Evaluate characteristics of individuals to determine needs or eligibility.
  • Refer clients to community or social service programs.
  • Monitor clients to evaluate treatment progress.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling or educational programs.
  • Supervise workers providing client or patient services.
  • Help clients get needed services or resources.
  • Present social services program information to the public.
  • Lead classes or community events.
  • Advise others on social or educational issues.
  • Write reports or evaluations.
  • Counsel clients or patients with substance abuse issues.

This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 28.1 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (“USDOL/ETA”). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Logo Occupation statistics: USDOL U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

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