Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) play a pivotal role in guiding individuals, couples, and families through the complexities of relationships. Beyond the altruistic drive to foster emotional well-being, many aspiring therapists also have a pragmatic career consideration: What are the prospects for MFT salaries and career growth? 

The financial landscape for those earning a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, completing two years of clinical experience, and acquiring their state licensure can vary based on experience, location, and specialization. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for marriage and family therapists was $56,570 in May 2022. The lowest 10% in the profession earned $32,550, while the highest 10% earned more than $88,590. 

Location and Specialization Impact MFT Salaries 

Location is a crucial determinant in shaping MFT salaries. Metropolitan areas often boast higher average salaries, reflecting the cost of living and demand for mental health services. States such as New Jersey ($83,590), Maryland ($81,320), and Virginia ($75,990) offer some of the highest marriage and family therapist salaries. Cities with the highest number of MFTs include New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, Minneapolis, and Miami, according to the BLS. 

Additionally, specialization can significantly impact marriage and family therapist salaries and earning potential. MFTs focusing on niche areas like addiction counseling or working with specific populations like children or older adults are often in higher demand, thus commanding higher fees. 

Career Trajectory for Marriage and Family Therapists

Beyond the initial curiosity about salaries, individuals contemplating a career as an MFT often consider the potential for career growth. The demand for mental health services is increasing, contributing to a positive career outlook. 

The BLS projects a 15% growth in employment for marriage and family therapists over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. This surge is attributed to an increasing awareness of the value of mental health and the removal of the stigma once associated with seeking therapy. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, an expanding body of research demonstrates the effectiveness of marriage and family therapy in treating mental and emotional disorders and health problems. 

As society recognizes the integral role MFTs play in promoting mental wellness, opportunities for career advancement multiply. Experienced therapists may transition into supervisory or leadership roles within their organizations, taking on clinical supervision or program management responsibilities. 

Furthermore, some MFTs establish private practices, affording them greater autonomy and the potential for increased financial rewards. While building a private practice requires strategic planning and marketing, the payoff can be substantial for those willing to invest the time and effort. 

Strategies for Aspiring MFTs 

For those embarking on becoming an MFT, it’s essential to navigate the educational and licensure requirements strategically. Investing in a master’s degree in marriage and family from an accredited institution is the foundational step. 

Licensure is required in every state, and the requirements vary. Aspiring therapists should familiarize themselves with the licensure process in their desired location and ensure they meet all criteria. 

The role of MFTs is becoming increasingly integral to the fabric of societal well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of mental health, fueling a growing demand for therapeutic services. Telehealth and online counseling have also expanded the reach of MFTs, creating new avenues for client engagement. 

Aspiring MFTs should view their career trajectory not just as a path to financial stability but as a contribution to the broader narrative of mental health advocacy.  

The Touro University Worldwide MA in Marriage and Family Therapy 

The MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Touro University Worldwide prepares graduates to work with individuals, families, and groups. They typically work as part of a patient’s care team, focusing on client relationship issues. TUW offers students the chance to concentrate their education in one of three tracks: clinical, non-clinical, or licensed professional clinical counseling.  

Potential job titles for graduates include Marriage and Family Therapist, Couples Therapist, Family Therapist, Child and Adolescent Therapist, Addiction Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, and Community Mental Health Counselor. 

The TUW program prepares graduates to become competent, ethical, culturally sensitive, and systems-oriented marriage and family therapists. They learn to assess, diagnose, and treat a diverse population of individuals, couples, and families. TUW grounds the program in the scientist-practitioner model, preparing students to make unique contributions to marriage and family therapy. Some graduates go on to earn a Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy.