Marriage and Family Therapist Salary and Career Outlook
Marriage and family therapists are mental health care practitioners who diagnose and treat people with marriages or other family issues. Marriage and family therapy (MFT) relies on psychotherapeutic best practices to help individuals, couples, and families through challenges associated with behavioral, cognitive, social, and emotional issues.
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As with many careers in therapy, marriage and family therapist careers will continue to be in high demand over the next ten years. The median annual salary for all marriage and family therapists as of May 2018 was just over $50,000, but the demand and actual therapist salary averages vary by work environment and location.
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Once credentialed, an MFT career varies depending on where the therapist practices and what types of patients they see.
Marriage and Family Therapists in Outpatient Care Centers
Many marriage and family therapists practice in private or nonprofit outpatient care centers as part of a team. Many of these centers have programs dedicated to addiction, abuse, and behavioral disorders, as well as traditional individual and group therapy sessions. In outpatient care settings, counselors play a key role in addressing social, emotional, and mental health needs of families, couples, children, and adults. Therapy is usually just one part of a more substantial patient care plan.
Self Employed Marriage and Family Therapists
With a state-issued business license and appropriate MFT credentials, therapists can open a private practice.. Successful marriage and family therapists market themselves well and handle their own accounting and coordinate with insurance companies.Private practice is a popular option for many marriage and family therapists. As of 2016, about 8% of the MFT workforce was registered as self-employed.
Marriage and Family Therapists for Individual and Family Services
State government (excluding education and hospitals)
Outpatient care centers
Offices of other health practitioners
Individual and family services
Average marriage and family therapist salaries vary by state as well. Therapists working in Hawaii, Maine, Colorado, New Jersey, and Utah can earn over $70,000 per year while the average salary for therapists working in Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, Alabama, and the Dakotas is under $46,000, according to the BLS.
Employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow by 23% over the span of 2016-2026. This is more than three times the 7% projected growth of all jobs in the United States over the same time span. The main reasons for this projection is a combination of therapists retiring (or leaving the profession for other reasons) and an increased public awareness of mental, emotional, and social health issues.