Most states require marriage counselors to be licensed in order to practice their profession. The requirements stipulated by each state board of counselors may vary from one to another. It will definitely take you several years in order to finish your studies, be licensed and finally practice the profession. Generally, what are the requirements to become a marriage counselor?
- Educational Requirement
The educational requirement may vary depending on the state. But most states require aspiring marriage counselors to have completed a master’s degree in counseling. Having said that, the prerequisite of most accredited colleges and universities offering master’s degree require applicants to have completed a bachelor’s degree in counseling or other related field such as psychology, psychiatry or sociology.
Some states or school may accept aspirants to complete an associate degree in humanities or social studies, working primarily as a social worker after graduation and eventually pursue to a higher degree.
- Post-degree Requirement
Most states require candidates to have completed a master’s degree in order to sit for the licensure exam. A master’s degree in marriage or family counseling is commonly required. This program focuses more on psychology, family systems, theories, principles and techniques of counseling.
- Clinical Experience
Most colleges offering master’s degree in counseling require their students to have completed two years or 2000 credit hours of supervised clinical experience. Most states also require these practical experiences as a part of the prerequisite for the licensure exam. Some states may require you to have specific hours in specific tasks, for example, 600 hours in family counseling and 400 hours in couple counseling.
All states require marriage counselors to be licensed. The licensure exam provides the counselors a sense of competitiveness and eligibility to practice their profession. Depending on the state or employer, you may be required to complete a certification program which will add more credentials and will serve as another proof of your competence in the field aside from your license.
- Continuing Education
In order to maintain your license, all marriage counselors who wish to continue practicing their profession must obtain continuing education every year. You may be required to attend formal classes or participate in seminars and workshops for you to learn and apply the latest techniques in counseling.
Every state board of counselors in the U.S has stipulated a certain requirement for aspirants. Prerequisites may vary from one to another but most of it is required in order to ensure the competitiveness of marriage counselors who wished to work in their state.
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