Marriage & Family Therapist Degree and Career Guide

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Marriage and Family Therapy: What You’ll Earn

Read about salary and job outlook predictions for marriage and family therapists.

Median Annual Salary

financial composite
financial composite

Marriage and family therapists focus on how people interact within marriage and family units, rather than the traditional emphasis on the individual. A marriage and family therapist generally takes a holistic, or mind-body, approach to his or her duties, working together with clients to solve issues and establish a plan of action for resolution of domestic problems. Here are some statistics on salaries, job growth, and employers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics, the median annual salary for marriage and family therapists is $49,880. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

How does a marriage and family therapist’s salary compare to other counseling careers?

Career Median Annual Salary
Marriage and Family Therapists $49,880
Rehabilitation Counselors $38,560
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $48,520
Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors $60,510

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics

What is my earning potential?

Marriage and family therapists in the top 10% may earn more than $96,520 annually according to the BLS. Those working in private practice generally earn a higher income than their counterparts, but the BLS reports that most MFTs are employed within individual and family services industries and organizations.

Is there demand for this career?

According to the BLS, career employment for marriage and family therapists is expected to grow much faster than average as more people turn to professionals to help them cope with relationship and family issues and the stress of daily obstacles such as depression, substance abuse, behavioral problems and infidelity, among others.

What is the job growth for the field?

Employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow 16% through 2030, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Take a look at what some of the other counseling occupations can expect as far as job growth:

Job Outlook Comparison Through 2030

  • School and Career Counselors—11%
  • Mental Health Counselors—23%
  • Substance Abuse Counselors—23%
  • Rehabilitation Counselors—10%

How much competition will I face for a job?

U.S. News and World Report named marriage and family therapists as one of its top 100 careers in 2021, ranking it at #20 in their survey. Although states such as California have suffered layoffs and budget cuts in health care, the Veteran’s Administration has been hiring MFTs. So finding a job may largely depend on where you seek employment.

What kinds of companies hire MFTs?

According to the BLS, marriage and family therapists are most frequently employed by the following types of industries or offices:

  • Individual and family services
  • State Government
  • Outpatient Care Centers
  • Offices of Other Health Practitioners

How do I advance in my MFT career?

Some MFTs go on and earn a Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) degree. This allows them to move past therapy-only practice and attain the flexibility to become an administrator.

Other MFTs may decide to earn a Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT), which is similar to a PhD but is a practitioner-oriented program that differs in that it prepares professionals to contribute to their chosen specialty in the clinical rather than academic arena. Degree-holders can then work as top-level practitioners, agency administrators, clinical supervisors or senior clinicians.

To learn more about the education required before becoming a therapist, read more about marriage and family degrees.