Marriage Counseling Certification and License

Marriage counselors help the core dynamics of a family by focusing on the conflicts that exist between two people. Read about the requirements for becoming a marriage counselor, such as earning a master's degree and accumulating work experience. Review the process for earning licensure as a marriage counselor and learn about voluntary certification options. Schools offering Marriage & Family Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Marriage counselors are mental health professionals who bring a family-oriented perspective to treating individuals, couples, and families with relationship issues. While certification in this industry is voluntary, licensure varies by state.

Responsibilities Meet with people and provide them with theoretical insight and methods to improve their relationships; listen to clients and ask appropriate questions to best assess the client's situation to offer advice and recommend strategies to overcome these problems
Certification Certification is voluntary; provided by the National Board for Certified Counselors and may improve chances of employment
Licensing All states require marriage counselors to be licensed, although specific details vary by state; usually requires a master's degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of experience

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Marriage Counselor?

A marriage counselor meets with patients who are suffering through marital distress and provides them with theoretical insight, methods to overcome communication problems and behavioral recommendations. Although as a marriage counselor you will primarily work with couples, you may also provide counseling focused on family dynamics to groups, entire families or individuals.

What Certification Do I Need?

Certification for marriage counselors is typically voluntary. Unless otherwise directed by your state, you can receive certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The certification exam you need to take is the National Certification Examination (NCE). This exam contains 200 multiple-choice questions and can usually be taken once you complete a master's degree in counseling or marriage counseling. You may need to investigate if your state offers a similar certification exam for counselors in case the state has a different or supplemental exam for certification (www.nbcc.org).

How Do I Receive a License?

States have authority over licensing for marriage counselors, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (ww.bls.gov). Licensing is also guided by the American Counseling Association (ACA), which is the professional organization representing all counselors. Although each state varies, the ACA explains that most states require licensed counselors to have completed a master's degree in counseling and around 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work within a 2-year timetable. Additionally, passing the NCE or equivalent state certification exam (www.counseling.org) is required. Again, each state varies; New York, for example, only requires 1,500 hours of supervised work (www.op.nysed.gov).

To be specially licensed in marriage counseling, the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board (AMFTRB) is the organization to turn to. The AMFTRB provides a license in Marital and Family Therapy, the license needed in most states to become a marriage counselor. Each state asks that you complete the exam with the AMFTRB and meet any other state requirements before a marriage counseling license is given to you (www.amftrb.org).

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

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
      • Master - in Christian Counseling
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Maryville University

    Maryville University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Maryville University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • New England College

    New England College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at New England College:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »