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Career and Education Opportunities for Marriage and Family Therapists in Alexandria, Virginia

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for marriage and family therapists in the Alexandria, Virginia 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.

The income of a marriage and family therapist is about $20 hourly or $43,240 per year on average in Virginia. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,590 annually on average. Marriage and family therapists earn more than people working in the category of Counseling and Therapy generally in Virginia and more than people in the Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Marriage and family therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist , and mental health therapist.

There are eighty-four schools of higher education in the Alexandria area, including six within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree to start your career as a marriage and family therapist. Given that the most common education level 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 Alexandria 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

Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University, 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059-0001. Howard University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,696 students and an admission rate of 49%. Howard University has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Social Work which graduated eighty-nine and seven students respectively in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Catholic University of America - Washington, DC

Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20064. Catholic University of America is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,705 students and an admission rate of 81%. Catholic University of America has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Social Work which graduated one, sixty-six, and two students respectively in 2008.

Bowie State University - Bowie, MD

Bowie State University, 14000 Jericho Park Rd, Bowie, MD 20715-9465. Bowie State University is a medium sized university located in Bowie, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,541 students and an admission rate of 85%. Bowie State University has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated thirty-one students in 2008.

Gallaudet University - Washington, DC

Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Gallaudet University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,389 students and an admission rate of 64%. Gallaudet University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Social Work which graduated fourteen and nineteen students respectively in 2008.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Social Work which graduated twenty and twenty-three 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.

LICENSES

Marriage and Family Therapists

Licensing agency: Department of Health Professions
Address: Board of Professional Counselors, 6606 West Broad Street, 4th Floor, Richmond, VA 23230-1717

Phone: (804) 662-9908
Website: Department of Health Professions Board of Professional Counselors

LOCATION INFORMATION: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.