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Master Of Counseling Degree (M.Coun.) - Marriage, Couple, And Family Counseling

Program Goals and Objectives:

The master’s degree major in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program specialty is designed to prepare individuals to specialize in providing marriage, couple, and family counseling in a variety of settings. Some of the settings where students will serve practicum and internships are mental health centers, rehabilitation counseling offices, juvenile homes and youth ranches, and alcohol and substance abuse centers. In addition to the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) common-core objectives, Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling majors will:

  1. Possess knowledge of the history of marriage, couple, and family counseling including philosophical and etiological premises that define the practice of marriage, couple, and family counseling.
  2. Understand the structure and operations of professional organizations, preparation standards, and credentialing bodies pertaining to the practice of marriage, couple, and family counseling (e.g., International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors-IAMFC).
  3. Know the ethical and legal considerations specifically related to the practice of marriage, couple, and family counseling (e.g., American Counseling Association [ACA] and IAMFC Code of Ethics).
  4. Understand the implications of professional issues unique to marriage, couple, and family counseling including, but not limited to, recognition, reimbursement, and right to practice.
  5. Understand the roles of marriage, couple, and family counselors in a variety of practice settings and in relations to other helping professionals.
  6. Understand the implications of social, cultural, spiritual, diversity, and equity issues relevant to marriage, couple, and family counseling.
  7. Understand the marriage, couple, and family life cycle dynamics, structures, and development in a multicultural society, family of origin and intergenerational influences, cultural heritage, socioeconomic status and belief systems.
  8. Know the human sexuality issues and their impact on family and couple functioning, and strategies for their resolution.
  9. Understand the societal trends and related treatment issues such as working with families in transition, non-traditional families, and blended families.
  10. Know a variety of family system theories and other relevant theories and their application in working with couples, families, individuals, and other systems (e.g., legal, legislative, and community systems, etc.).
  11. Possess interviewing, assessment, and case management skills for working with individuals, couples, families, and other systems, as well as skill in the appropriate implementation of systemic intervention.
  12. Understand preventive approaches for working with individuals, couples, families, and other systems (e.g., pre-marriage counseling, parenting skills training programs, and relationship enhancement) and the skills necessary for program development and implementation.
  13. Understand the specific problems that impede family functioning, including issues related to socioeconomic disadvantage, addictive behaviors, person abuse, and interventions for their resolution.
  14. Understand research and technological applications in marriage, couple, and family counseling.

Program Planning Sheet

Master in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

General Residency Requirement:

For the Master of Counseling (M.Coun.) degree, the student is required to complete the equivalent of at least four full semesters of resident graduate study beyond the bachelor’s degree. The minimum Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program must total 60 semester hours.

Career Opportunities:

  • Pre-marital Counseling
  • Couples' Counseling
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Divorce Mediation
  • Sexual Counseling
  • Child/Spousal Abuse Counseling


  • Private or group practice
  • Local, state, and federal government agencies
  • Social service agencies
  • Religious and Pastoral organizations
  • Hospitals


The median annual wage for marriage and family counselors was $51,340 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 8,500 openings for marriage and family therapists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

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