If you are looking for a career that offers steady employment and the potential for a bright future, working as a licensed family and marriage therapist may be right for you. In order to become a licensed therapist in this field, however, you first must obtain a master’s degree in a related field (like clinical social work, psychology, or psychiatry) and then two years of specialized classroom work and passing state board exams. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you will need to take a course adding a masters’ title. Some states require additional training after getting your license. In most states, you can be licensed as a family and marriage therapist without taking any additional courses or licensing exam after two years’ experience.
The American-Turkish Psychotherapy Association, also known as ATPU, is the only recognized association in the United States that specifically accredits practices with a mental health doctorate. Their accredited degrees include a doctoral degree program and a certificate program, and they are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy. For most states, the license required to practice in this field is obtained by taking a written examination given by the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition to passing this exam, you will be required to successfully complete state licensing exams, which will be accredited by the ATPU.
Licensed family and marriage counselors must meet a number of criteria in order to practice. These requirements vary from state to state, so it is important to contact your state board for specifics. As part of this licensing process, therapists will be required to take continuing education classes each year in order to maintain their license. In some states, therapist resumes will be required to undergo a complete evaluation of their competency to treat specific disorders.
Because marriage and family counseling often involves talking to both parties, therapists in these fields tend to have a thorough understanding of each person’s experience and perspective in dealing with a marriage or family. This means that licensed therapists will be able to provide clients with the support and information needed in order to address specific needs. Because many individuals seek the help of a licensed professional in these fields, therapist salaries are often quite lucrative. In addition to meeting the state’s requirements for license, therapists will likely need to have their own private practice.
While licensure is necessary to practice in many states, there are some that do not require any form of licensing before practicing. A few examples of these states include Arizona, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Oregon. For individual therapists, licensure is not mandatory, but many states do require supervised instruction and on-the-job training in order to legally work in this field. For example, a licensed family and marriage therapist who have 3,000 supervised hours of training will be required to pass an exam administered by the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy in order to legally practice in the state of Florida.
As you can see, the position of licensed marriage and family counselor can be quite profitable. In most states, however, licensure is not required for private, domestic violence practitioners, meaning that anyone can decide to enter this field without having to go through the often tedious process of obtaining their license. For an individual looking to begin their own practice, the good news is that there are plenty of schools that offer certification programs for marriage and family counselors. After you complete your training, you can apply for a state licensing exam that most states require to become certified.