Human Services Guide

Education Requirements to Become a Marriage and Family Therapist

The Marriage and Family Therapist provides a niche service within the sphere of counseling, that of providing therapeutic support that is specifically designed to help couples work out problems within their marriage or family’s to build healthier patterns of interaction. The Marriage and Family Therapist can also perform other functions around helping families to function when they have severe difficulties to contend with such as grief over loss of a family member, or when a child or adult in the family suffers from a severe or chronic illness. The primary skills of a Marriage and Family Therapist are: compassion, empathy, communication skills, and organizational skills, establishing rapport, facilitation between potentially upset couples or family members and professionalism in regards to boundaries. Most of these skills are ones that can be learned or honed during one’s education.

To become a Marriage and Family Therapist you will need to have a Master’s degree to attain licensure. This Master’s degree can be in a variety of subjects such as: Social Work, Counseling, Psychology or Marriage and Family Therapy. The final option is usually the best as you will have the specialized skill set this career demands. Having a Master’s degree presupposes that you earned your Bachelor’s degree in a related Social Sciences field. As always, the more closely related your degree the more likely you are to be accepted into the Master’s program. After you have completed your Master’s program you will need to follow the steps required by your state to achieve licensure. In addition to having a Master’s degree in a relevant field you will also be required to complete 3000 hours of supervised clinical experience and take a test administered by your state licensure board. States also require that you complete continuing education credits on a yearly or bi-yearly basis although this varies from state to state.