What does a marriage counselor do?
Marriage counselors help married couples resolve their problems through a variety of counseling techniques. They help them work through problems such as emotional conflicts, child and adolescent behavior problems, depression, domestic violence, bereavement, infidelity, substance abuse, and infertility. They dissect the structure of the relationship so they can assess the problems and issue and establish a realistic resolution plan. Marriage counselors help individuals modify their behaviors and perceptions, establish better communication and understanding, and help prevent further problems and crises. Counseling typically consists of talking sessions and related activities to help clients identify their needs, fears, and issues.
What kind of training does a marriage counselor need?
Marriage counselors typically need a master degree in counseling. A bachelor degree with supporting counseling courses is acceptable in some states. Marriage counseling programs typically focus on counseling theories, group therapy, marriage and family systems, human sexuality, and counseling techniques and principles. Most programs also require students to complete supervised clinical experience. Many marriage counseling students complete internships while attending school to gain practical experience. Some employers provide on the job training for new marriage counselors.
All states require marriage counselors to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state and employer, but all marriage counselors must abide by ethical codes and standards. Marriage counselors must also complete continuing education courses every year to maintain their license, and many do so by participating in graduate studies, conferences, and workshops.
What are the prospects for a career as a marriage counselor?
Employment of marriage counselors is projected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 30% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Job growth will be driven by more people seeking help for their marital problems and trying to reconcile their relationship.
Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for marriage counselors with extensive experience. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace marriage counselors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do marriage counselors make?
As of October 2009, marriage counselors with less than 1 year experience earned average annual salaries between $29,938 and $46,452. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earned average annual salaries between $32,016 and $45,553 (2).
A career as a marriage counselor is an excellent choice for individuals who have a strong desire to help people work through their marital problems. Marriage counselors must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and be sensitive and compassionate when dealing with sensitive issues. They must be patient, motivating, encouraging, and instill respect, confidence, and trust in their clients.