Family Counseling Certification and Requirements

Family counselors apply the theories and techniques of counseling to address a number of mental health issues. Get facts about education programs and certification options as well as job duties. Schools offering Marriage & Family Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

As a professional in this field, you can be trained to provide counseling to individuals, families, couples and groups to improve their emotional health. Gaining licensure as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) is the standard requirement to counsel families in a professional setting. This licensure is usually completed in the course of completing a master's degree in the field.

Degrees Master's degree in marriage and family therapy or counseling
Courses Techniques in family therapy; couples therapy; family studies; mental health diagnosis; counseling children, adolescents and parents
Certification & Licensing State licensure is required to practice family counseling professionally

What Kind of Certification Is There for Family Counselors?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all 50 states have licensure requirements for marriage and family therapists (www.bls.gov). Each state has different criteria for obtaining credentials as a LMFT, but most commonly you'll be required to graduate from an accredited master's degree program in marriage and family therapy or counseling, pass an examination approved by your state's counseling board, complete two years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical post-graduate work and maintain continuing education credits.

What Do Master's Degree Programs in Counseling Require?

Many master's programs in counseling offer an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. Accredited programs require 48-60 hours of study and supervised clinical experience in counseling, according to the BLS. Many programs require that you complete core coursework in subjects like counseling techniques, human development and counseling theory before you begin coursework in your specialty of marriage and family therapy. Classes specific to marriage and family counseling may include:

  • Techniques in family therapy
  • Couples therapy
  • Family studies
  • Mental health diagnosis
  • Counseling children, adolescents and parents

What Do Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists Do?

LMFTs treat the emotional and mental states of their clients, applying knowledge of human behavior to improve the relationships and communication between clients. Marriage and family counselors apply a systemic approach to their work, analyzing how environmental, gender, cultural and economic factors influence clients. You may work in many different settings, including community mental health centers, non-profit organizations, day treatment programs or in private practice.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Saybrook University

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    Popular programs at Saybrook University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

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  • Northcentral University

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  • Capella University

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    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
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  • Walden University

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    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Florida Tech

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    Popular programs at Florida Tech :

    • Bachelor Degrees

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