What is the Job Outlook for a Marriage and Family Counselor?

If you are pursuing a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in counseling, you may be wondering about the job outlook for a marriage and family counselor in today’s unsettling job market. Unlike other types of mental health professionals, marriage and family counselors take on a family-centered approach to solving problems with individuals, couples, and entire families. In order to address common problems like stress, substance abuse, anxiety, divorce, low self-esteem and more, marriage and family counselors evaluate family roles to better understand how relationships are affecting clients’ mental health concerns. For students who have a calling to focus their practice specifically on interpersonal issues, the following is an in-depth guide to the current job outlook for marriage and family counselors.

Expected Employment Growth for Marriage and Family Counselors

At this time, there are approximately 37,800 marriage and family counselors employed around the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for marriage and family counselors is expected to grow much faster than the average for all other occupations at the rapid rate of 31% before 2022. As a result of this growing demand, it is projected that there will be an estimated 11,600 more jobs created for marriage and family counselors throughout the nation over the next decade. While job growth is expected across all settings, marriage and family counselors will be even more in-demand for providing therapy services in rural areas that are traditionally underserved by mental health professionals.

Promising Job Prospects for Marriage and Family Counseling Graduates

With this pleasing statistics in mind, it is no surprise that marriage and family counseling is one of the most in-demand mental health professions in our current market. Therefore, graduates will experience promising job prospects as more couples and families are seeking mental health counseling services covered by their insurance policies. As federal regulations now require insurance plans to cover the costs of treatment for mental health concerns, mental health centers and private practices will need to hire more marriage and family counselors to meet the rising demand. Since society has finally overcome the stigma that was once linked with therapy, more people are also seeking professional help from marriage and family counselors to manage mental and emotional problems than in the past decades.

How to Fulfill the Rising Demand for Marriage and Family Counselors

In order to take advantage of these stellar job prospects, aspiring marriage and family counselors will need to receive a master’s degree in psychology, counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy, or a closely related mental health major. Not only do master’s degree programs prepare individuals to utilize effective therapy strategies, but they also help build the interpersonal, organizational, communication, and listening skills needed to be a marriage and family counselor. After graduation, those with marriage and family degrees must become licensed to practice by completing at least 2,000 hours of supervised clinical experience and passing a state-administered licensing examination.

Overall, the U.S. News and World Report has ranked marriage and family counseling as the 33rd best healthcare job in the United States due to the rising demand for compassionate professionals to help couples and families resolve conflicts in their relationships. With the promising job outlook for a marriage and family counselor, master’s-level students often can enjoy abundant job openings at private practices, mental health centers, substance abuse treatment facilities, hospitals, outpatient care centers, and more immediately upon graduation.