According to BLS.gov, marriage and family therapists are expected to grow 23% (much faster than average) and social workers are expected to grow 16% (much faster than average) through 2026. Social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. Clinical social workers also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. If you are a Sun Devil student or alumni in the career interest community of public, social, and human service, you might be interested in learning more about the counseling, therapy, or social work field. Read on to learn more about what you should consider if you are interested in joining this growing profession.
Consider burnout and emotional fatigue. While rewarding and emotionally satisfying, being a social worker and/ or therapist often involves vast amounts of emotional labor with often limited resources to help clients. Reflect on what settings you thrive in. If you are a person that prefers working behind a desk, marriage and family therapy and/ or social services may not be the right fit.
Earn a bachelor’s degree. The entry level point for most careers that involve working directly with others require a bachelor's degree. Great positions (at the BA/BS level) to get your foot in the door might be case manager jobs, applied behavior analysis gigs, or behavioral health tech positions. Despite this, to work with clients in a therapeutic capacity, you will most often need a masters degree and a license. Depending on the state, you might also need several thousand hours of supervised practice and an additional license as well.
Consider a master’s degree. A Master of Social Work (MSW) degree or a Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) degree may be required for clinical, school, and administrative positions. Such programs generally take two years of full-time study to complete.
Remember to look for an accredited program. All social workers and therapists in the U.S. are required to be licensed. Requirements vary by state, but there are generally several categories of licensure. If you want to be licensed, it is a good idea to look for an accredited program, as behavioral health licensure boards only accept licensees that have graduate degrees from accredited programs.
- Consider licensing - as it differs in every state. Licensing can differ in each state and it is important to be aware of the requirements in the potential state in which you wish to live. Check out this page to discover more on social work licensing across state lines. With that said, any social worker or marriage and family therapist should also directly contact the board which regulates licensing in the state where they wish to apply.