5 Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy Career Paths

  • Clinical Therapist
  • Researcher
  • Professor
  • Agency Administrator
  • Department Director

For those who enjoy helping people, a family counseling career might be a good fit. A Ph.D. in Family Counseling opens doors in clinical work, higher education and administration that don’t exist with a bachelor’s or master’s alone. The field of family counseling, also known as marriage and family therapy, is growing. Continue reading to discover more about this growing branch of counseling and the types of jobs it offers.

1. Clinical Therapist

One of the better known positions within this area of specialty is that of a clinical therapist. Family counselors who serve in this capacity work directly with couples, families or other related groups to determine problems and to teach ways to overcome issues. These practitioners might work in a healthcare facility or within a community organization. They might also run their own independent private practice.

2. Researcher

Those who want to use their knowledge to inform others within the profession might become researchers. These professionals might be employed by a university. They could also work for a governmental agency. They conduct research and do studies in order to make discoveries relevant to their area of expertise. Their work is usually featured in professional journals, and they help to shape further study and policy.

3. Professor

One of the most popular careers for a Ph.D. in Family Counseling might be that of a professor. Many strive to teach the future practitioners within the field. If you enjoy imparting your knowledge onto others, becoming a professor might be the ideal family counseling career for you. Depending on your institution, research might also be an expected part of your role.

4. Agency Administrator

If you enjoy leading individuals and teams, you might wish to consider becoming an administrator. These professionals are leaders of agencies, organizations or facilities. They provide direction and oversight. They also engage in activities such as budgeting, program development and accountability. A human services agency would be the most likely type of organization that would hire someone with a family counseling specialization.

5. Department Director

Your degree can also prepare you to become a department director within the field of marriage and family counseling. For example, you could be hired as the director of a university counseling center or some other department within a larger organizational framework.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of marriage and family therapy is expected to grow faster than average. A doctorate in marriage and family therapy will give you the expertise in the core subject matter, as well as in such topics as administration, leadership and teaching that are needed to reach the upper levels within the field. These five family counseling careers are just an overview of the kind of work you could do with a Ph.D. in Family Counseling.