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Career and Education Opportunities for Marriage and Family Therapists in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for marriage and family therapists. About 480 people are currently employed as marriage and family therapists in Tennessee. By 2016, this is expected to grow 40% to about 680 people employed. This is better than the national trend for marriage and family therapists, which 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.

Marriage and family therapists earn about $14 hourly or $30,020 yearly on average in Tennessee and about $21 hourly or $44,590 annually on average nationally. Incomes for marriage and family therapists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy in Tennessee, and better than the overall Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Marriage and family therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: clinical services director, licensed clinical social worker , and group counselor.

There are twenty schools of higher education in the Chattanooga area, including three within twenty-five miles of Chattanooga where you can get a degree to start your career 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 training to become 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 Chattanooga include:

  • Career Advisor. Counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Marriage and Family Therapist Training

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga - Chattanooga, TN

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 615 McCallie Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a medium sized university located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 9,807 students and an admission rate of 79%. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Southern Adventist University - Collegedale, TN

Southern Adventist University, 4881 Taylor Cir, Collegedale, TN 37315-0370. Southern Adventist University is a small university located in Collegedale, Tennessee. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,731 students and an admission rate of 70%. Southern Adventist University has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Dalton State College - Dalton, GA

Dalton State College, 650 College Drive, Dalton, GA 30720-3797. Dalton State College is a small college located in Dalton, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 4,892 students. Dalton State College has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated thirteen students 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.

LICENSES

ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE COUNSELORS

Licensing agency: Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37247-1010

Phone: (615) 532-5097
Website: Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

CERTIFIED MASTER SOCIAL WORKER

Licensing agency: Board of Social Workers Certification
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37243-1010

Phone: (615) 367-6249
Website: Board of Social Workers Certification Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

Clinical Pastoral Therapist

Licensing agency: Board of PC, MFT, & CPT
Address: Department of Health, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37243

Phone: (615) 367-6225
Website: Board of PC, MFT, & CPT Department of Health Department of Health

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROFESSIONAL

Licensing agency: Board of Employee Assistance Professionals
Address: Department of Labor, Andrew Johnson Tower 8th Floor, 710 James Robertson Pkwy, Nashville, TN 37243-0657

Phone: (615) 532-2784
Website: Board of Employee Assistance Professionals Department of Labor

LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK

Licensing agency: Board of Social Workers Certification
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37243-1010

Phone: (615) 367-6249
Website: Board of Social Workers Certification Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

MARITAL AND FAMILY THERAPIST

Licensing agency: Bd of Professional Counselors & Family Therapists
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37247

Phone: (615) 532-5132
Website: Bd of Professional Counselors & Family Therapists Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee photo by Avala

Chattanooga is situated in Hamilton County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 170,880, which has grown by 9.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chattanooga, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Chattanooga are priced at $141,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-two new homes were built in Chattanooga, down from four hundred forty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Chattanooga are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 21.5% of Chattanooga residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chattanooga is 9.5%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Chattanooga residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.2%, is more than both the national and state average. Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Kings Point Church and Stanley United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Chattanooga. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Chattanooga is home to the Creeks Bend Golf Club and the Concord Golf Course as well as Warner Park and Ross Landing City Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northgate Mall, Northgate Crossing Shopping Center and Lee Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Chattanooga can choose from Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Crystal Air Sport Motel and Hampton Inn Chattanooga I-75 North for temporary stays in the area.