Understanding the Differences Between LPCC vs MFT Fields

If you are drawn to a career that helps others, becoming a therapist or counselor is a good choice. But what type of certification do you need? Which degree will help you achieve your goals?

There are two types of certification that may help you meet your needs. Licensed professional clinical counselors (LPCC) offer treatment and counseling to those with mental health and substance abuse issues. Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) professionals also provide counseling, but they focus on families and individuals whose problems are social and relationship based.

Understanding the differences between LPCC vs MFT — education requirements, job possibilities and salaries — can help you make the best decision for your future.

An Introduction to LPCCs

Who they treat: LPCCs are trained to work with everyone, including individuals, families or groups, on any issue that impacts mental health.

Where they work: These professionals are employed by all kinds of groups, including hospitals, health centers and government agencies.

Education requirements: Becoming an LPCC requires a master’s degree, completion of a minimum of 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical experience and passage of the National Counselor Examination.

LPCC salary: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPCCs earn a median salary of $48,520. In government agencies, the salary rises to $60,450 annually.

Median Salary – $48,520
Government Salary – $60,450

An Introduction to MFTs

Who they treat: Marriage and family therapists focus on families and individuals whose problems are social and relationship based. Typical issues could include depression, parent-child conflicts, self-esteem issues and even the family consequences of substance abuse.

Where they work: MFTs work in similar settings to other mental health professionals, including hospitals, private practice and government agencies.

Education requirements: The path to licensure is similar to that of LPCCs, including completing a minimum of 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical experience and sitting for the National Counselor Examination. However, MFTs may pursue a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy specifically.

MFT salary: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for MFTs is $49,880. As with LPCCs, working for the government can pay more, with a median annual salary of $77,960. To learn more specifics, please read “Salary Opportunities with a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy.”

Median Salary – $49,880
Government Salary – $77,960

Choosing Your Path

LPCCs and MFTs have plenty in common, including where they work, certification requirements and the types of treatment they provide. So how can you know which field is right for you? The most significant difference between these two careers is that LPCCs deal with a broader scope of mental health issues. LPCCs focus on individual and development challenges that prevent growth and cause mental health issues. Because of this breadth of interest, LPCCs also can offer a number of different services. Instead of individual therapy, for example, an LPCC may specialize in offering career-based counseling. This depends on each individual counselor, however.

MFTs, on the other hand, focus on issues that stem from marriage and family relationships. MFTs seek to treat their clients by identifying issues in relationships past and present while offering strategies for change. Interpersonal skills, communication and group dynamics are important areas of focus for MFTs.

A Degree That Prepares

Although both careers are worthwhile, if you decide to pursue a career as a marriage and family therapist, the fully online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Touro University Worldwide offers a path to this career. Get the foundational knowledge you need for licensure, in a flexible and convenient format designed to fit your schedule. Learn from professors with experience in the field and gain the skills you need to change the lives of others.

Learn how to get started today.

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