Your career as a marriage and family therapist could earn you over $74,550 annually if you are among the top 10 percent in pay, according to May 2011 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). You would need compassion, good listening skills and the desire to work with people. And you would use these skills to help families and married couples cope with emotional problems and conflicts.
Education & Training
A master's degree in counseling is mandatory for a career in marriage and family therapy. After college, you'd be expected to train with an experienced counselor in a clinical setting for 2,000 to 4,000 hours, according to the BLS. This program usually takes about two years. You would then need to pass a state exam through the National Board of Certified Counselors to obtain your license.
Average Salary & Benefits
Your earnings as a marriage and family therapist would average about $48,710 per year, according to the BLS. However, expect your salary range to be somewhere between $35,350 to $59,600 annually, based on experience and location, which is what the middle half earned. If you work full time, you can expect to receive benefits like medical insurance, paid vacations and holidays, and a retirement plan.
Salary by Industry
Your highest earnings as a marriage and family therapist would be through the state government. These individuals earned $62,150 per year, according to the BLS. You would also earn an above-average income working for the local government or a general medical and surgical hospital: $56,870 to $54,700 per year, respectively. Your earnings would be slightly less than the national average working for an individual and family services counseling firm, at $45,360 per year.
Salary by State
A move to sunny Hawaii could earn you top pay in this field. Marriage and family therapists earned salaries of $70,630 annually there, according to the BLS. In New Jersey, you'd make $64,660 per year. And your salary would still be relatively high in Utah at $54,490 per year. However, expect to earn an annual salary closer to the national average in California of $47,760. And you'd make slightly less in Florida at $43,350 per year.
You couldn't go wrong choosing marriage and family therapy as a career, provided you have the desire and necessary skills for this field. The BLS expects the number of marriage and family therapist jobs to increase by 41 percent between 2010 and 2020. This rate of growth is considered much faster than the 14-percent national average. Population growth will spur demand for this profession. Jobs will also increase as more insurance companies reimburse patients for these counseling services.
2016 Salary Information for Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists
Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists earned a median annual salary of $44,150 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists earned a 25th percentile salary of $34,550, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $57,180, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 199,200 people were employed in the U.S. as mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Marriage and Family Therapists
- Education-Portal.com: Marriage and Family Therapist: Job Duties and Education Requirements for Marriage Therapists
- StateUniversity.com: Marriage and Family Counselor Job Description, Career as a Marriage and Family Counselor, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists
- Career Trend: Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images