Family Counseling and Therapy Degree Programs

The therapy specialty of family counseling is usually studied at the graduate level. Read about master's and doctoral degree programs in family counseling, and explore some of the typical coursework. Review some undergraduate majors that you could choose to prepare you for advanced study in family counseling. Schools offering Marriage & Family Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Family Counseling Degree?

A degree in family counseling is earned by individuals who want to make a career by providing therapy to individuals who have problems that are specific to family relationships, such as marriage problems, sibling troubles or even kids having trouble at school. Degrees specific to family counseling usually begin in graduate school, where you can earn a master's or a doctoral degree in family counseling from either a psychology or education department, depending on the school you attend. Although there are differences, every graduate program will provide you with the skills and experience necessary to become an effective and licensed family therapist.

Degree Levels Master's, doctoral
Undergraduate Majors Psychology, social work, education, sociology, counseling
Course Topics Relationship counseling, family dynamics, human sexuality, group counseling, human development

What Should My Undergraduate Major Be?

In order to gain admission to a graduate program in family counseling, you'll first need to earn a bachelor's degree as an undergraduate. Some schools offer bachelor's degrees in counseling, but this isn't common, so graduate programs accept students with other majors as well. The major that is most related to counseling is psychology, and many future counselors do earn degrees in psychology, or in related fields, as undergraduates. Other undergraduate majors that you can consider include social work, sociology or education. Although many graduate programs accept students with any major, having a major that is more related to counseling may improve your chances of gaining admission.

What Courses Will I Take?

As a counselor, you'll be responsible for the mental well-being of your clients, and you must be able to effectively communicate advice to them and be a good listener. Many of the classes you take will focus on these issues, as well as train you to be an effective counselor overall. Examples of these class topics include the following:

  • Legal issues in counseling
  • Communication
  • Relationship counseling
  • Group counseling

In addition to increasing your skills in conducting counseling sessions, you'll also need to gain a solid knowledge base on topics related to families and relationships. Some classes you may take to help you include these:

  • Human sexuality
  • Family dynamics
  • Human development
  • Familial abuse

Aside from taking courses, you'll also be required to gain practical counseling experience. You usually gain this experience by working in an on-campus clinic or undertaking an internship at a local clinic or hospital. This hands-on experience is vital for improving your counseling skills, and it also provides you with the number of counseling and supervised counseling hours you may need in order to become licensed in the state in which you'd work.

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:

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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.

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