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Career and Education Opportunities for Marriage and Family Therapists in Columbia, South Carolina

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for marriage and family therapists in the Columbia, South Carolina area. The national trend for marriage and family therapists sees this job pool growing by about 14.5% over the next eight years. In general, marriage and family therapists diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems.

Income for marriage and family therapists is about $17 per hour or $35,540 per year on average in South Carolina. Nationally, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,590 yearly. Earnings for marriage and family therapists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Counseling and Therapy in South Carolina and better than general Counseling and Therapy category earnings nationally. Marriage and family therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: therapist, family counselor, and marriage counselor.

The Columbia area is home to twenty schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a marriage and family therapist. The most common level of education for marriage and family therapists is a Master's degree. You can expect to spend about six years studying to be a marriage and family therapist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and Family Therapist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, marriage and family therapists diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. They also apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of professional services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.

Marriage and family therapists ask questions that will help clients identify their feelings and behaviors. They also design and implement individualized treatment plans addressing family relationship problems. Equally important, marriage and family therapists have to maintain case files that include efforts and recommendations. They are often called upon to encourage individuals and family members to evolve and use skills and strategies for confronting their problems in a constructive manner. They are expected to collect data related to clients, using techniques such as testing and observation. Finally, marriage and family therapists follow up on results of counseling programs and clients' adjustments to establish effectiveness of programs.

Every day, marriage and family therapists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation.

It is important for marriage and family therapists to furnish public education and consultation to other professionals or groups regarding counseling services and methods. They are often called upon to gather data from doctors, schools, social staff, juvenile counselors, law enforcement personnel, and others to make recommendations to courts for resolution of child custody or visitation disputes. They also write evaluations of parents and children for use by courts deciding divorce and custody cases, testifying in court if needed. Somewhat less frequently, marriage and family therapists are also expected to supervise other counselors, social service staff, and assistants.

And finally, they sometimes have to encourage individuals and family members to evolve and use skills and strategies for confronting their problems in a constructive manner.

Like many other jobs, marriage and family therapists must have exceptional integrity and have a strong concern for others.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Career Advisor. Counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.
  • Health Education Specialist. Promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. Collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies and environments. May also serve as a resource to assist individuals, other professionals, or the community, and may administer fiscal resources for health education programs.
  • Mental Health Counselor. Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health. May help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; suicide; stress management; problems with self-esteem; and issues associated with aging and mental and emotional health.
  • Substance Abuse Specialist. Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Marriage and Family Therapist Training

Benedict College - Columbia, SC

Benedict College, 1600 Harden Street, Columbia, SC 29204-1086. Benedict College is a small college located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,892 students. Benedict College has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Midlands Technical College - West Columbia, SC

Midlands Technical College, 1260 Lexington Drive, West Columbia, SC 29170-2176. Midlands Technical College is a large college located in West Columbia, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,157 students. Midlands Technical College has an associate's degree program in Social Work which graduated thirty-three students in 2008.

Columbia College - Columbia, SC

Columbia College, 1301 Columbia College Dr, Columbia, SC 29203. Columbia College is a small college located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,405 students and an admission rate of 77%. Columbia College has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated one student in 2008.

University of South Carolina-Columbia - Columbia, SC

University of South Carolina-Columbia, , Columbia, SC 29208. University of South Carolina-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,500 students and an admission rate of 59%. University of South Carolina-Columbia has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Social Work which graduated 188 and six students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Distance Credentialed counselor: A Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC) will be nationally recognized as a professional with training in best practices in Distance Counseling.

For more information, see the Center for Credentialing & Education, Inc. website.

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant: An IBCLE or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant is a specialist that has taken and.

For more information, see the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina photo by Akhenaton06

Columbia is located in Richland County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 127,029, which has grown by 9.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia cost $142,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred thirty-four new homes were built in Columbia, down from seven hundred the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and public administration. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 35.7% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 16.1%, which is greater than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Progressive Church, Bishop Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church and Lutheran Seminary are among the churches located in Columbia. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Columbia is home to the Booker T Washington Center and the Longstreet Annex as well as Irwin Park and Columbia Historic District II. Shopping centers in the area include Five Points Shopping Center, Market Place Shopping Center and Columbiana Centre Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Marriott Columbia, Hampton Inn Columbia-SE-Fort Jackson and Embassy Suites Hotel for temporary stays in the area.