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Your Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy allows you to work in a wide range of settings, from the traditional counselor’s office to inpatient settings and even schools. An MFT is a versatile degree that allows you to follow many different career paths.
No matter where you choose to work or in which specific specialty, you’ll use your MFT to benefit couples and families and help them cope with challenging situations. In this role, you’ll help adults and kids learn healthy ways to deal with stress and to communicate effectively; here are six different jobs you could do with a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy.
#1 Marriage Counselor
One of the most commonly entered fields for those with Master’s degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy is marriage counseling. A marriage counselor provides therapy and support to couples in crisis and helps both parties learn to communicate, work through problems and handle difficulties in a healthy way.
A MFT working in marriage counseling would work with couples in a private practice or therapy setting and would see the parties together and alone to help them improve their coping skills and relationship. As an MFT, you could open your own office or work with other providers in a group practice or healthcare setting.
Listening to the problems and challenges faced by a couple, offering objective insight and creating effective, actionable strategies tailored to meet their needs are all part of the role of the marriage counselor. In some cases, a professional in this role would also evaluate one or both parties and refer them to another specialist for additional help.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a rapidly growing field and the median salary for 2016 was $44,170.
#2 Grief Counselor
An individual with a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy could work in the specific field of grief counseling. In this role, you would help parents, siblings and spouses cope with the loss of a loved one. You could work in a private setting, as a consultant or even in a group therapy setting to help people who have experienced a loss cope.
Greif counselors are also called in to work in specific settings after a tragedy or event; schools, businesses and other locations may need the services of an MFT specializing in grief counseling after a loss or emergency event. In this role, a counselor would help groups learn to cope with Some of the responsibilities of a grief counselor include:
- Meeting with individuals to offer support and help after a loss
- Lead group therapy sessions for families who have experienced a loss
- Visit a school or other setting after an event to help students and families cope in a healthy way
- Create a supportive environment for those who have experienced loss and provide healthy coping activities
- Counsel teachers and administrators after a family or school has experienced a loss so they can support their student body in a positive way.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an MFT working in this field is $44,170; at 19%, this field is experiencing much faster than average growth.
#3 Hospice Counselor
As an MFT, you could fill a valuable role in a hospice setting. Families who have placed a member in hospice care are struggling with a variety of issues. The individual in care could be a senior or of any age and would require your help in a variety of ways. The patient’s spouse, children and other relatives can also use your support and some strategies and activities for coping with this troubling time,
As a hospice counselor, you would work in a hospital like setting or visit patients at home; your patients would be receiving palliative, end of life care and saying goodbye to family members and loved ones. Your role would be to help both the patient and their loved ones with a variety of therapy and coping strategies. You’d work with a team of healthcare providers and other specialists and those dealing with terminal illness, providing support and care.
The median salary mental health counselors in a clinical, inpatient setting is $46,050, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
#4 School Counselor
Different from a guidance counselor, a school-based MFT would work with families and students to help kids form healthy behaviors and habits at home and at school. A school counselor could work in an elementary school, middle school or high school and help kids with mental health troubles or those coping with difficult family situations. Some of the regular duties of an MFT in this role include:
- Helping identify the needs of specific students and teaching coping strategies and methods to help that child succeed in school and at home
- Running awareness and mental health activities to benefit students
- Assisting parents and families who are struggling with specific issues or situations
- Identify and assist at-risk kids and teens with a variety of program and initiatives
- Create programs for crisis assistance and intervention
As a school counselor, you could serve one particular school or float between schools in a district or county. The median salary for school counselors is $77,801, according to the National Association of School Psychologists; actual salaries vary based on experience, location and other factors.
#5 College Adjunct Professor
Your Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy qualifies you to work at the college level as a professor. Community colleges, private and public universities hire adjunct professors to teach classes and programs; you’ll be able to help the next generation of family therapists learn everything they need to know about the field.
An adjunct professor could teach one class or program or handle an entire course load. You could teach in addition to working and using your MFT in another role. Common teaching duties of a college professor include:
- Creating a synopsis and coursework for one or more classes
- Teaching students the fundamentals of family and marriage therapy
- Conveying key strategies and elements for success with marriage and couples therapy
- Using real world examples and strategies to give students insight into therapy methods and processes.
An adjunct college professor can expect to earn a median salary of $75,430 per year when working full time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Many adjunct positions are contract based or part time, so this figure will vary.
#6 Marriage and Family Therapist
A marriage and family therapist assists those struggling with serious or chronic illness find ways to cope emotionally with their conditions and the difficulties they are experiencing. An MFT in this role could counsel the patients themselves or family members; a marriage and family therapist can work with parents with children experiencing disabilities, illness or injury to help the whole family cope and recover.
A marriage and family therapist is most likely to work in an inpatient or clinic setting with patients and families experiencing significant medical issues and difficulties.
According to the Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, this is a rapidly growing field; the median salary for a medical family therapist is $53,860, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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- Marriage and Family Counselor (2017, August 18). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
- Grief Counselor (2017, August 22). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics4_611100.htm
- School Counselor. (2017, August 25 Retrieved from https://www.nasponline.org/about-school-psychology/becoming-a-school-psychologist/a-career-in-school-psychology-frequently-asked-questions
- College Adjunct Professor (2017, August 20). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htmx
- Medical Family Therapist. (2017, August 27). Retrieved from https://www.aamft.org/imis15/Documents/JFFTMSINGLEPAGEreduce.pdf