Step by Step on How to Become a Family Therapist:
If a person is serious about pursuing a career in family therapy, he or she must first understand that this is not an easy or quick process. The educational pursuits required to become a family therapist can take years to successfully complete. This is not including licensure and certification processes (if applicable) and securing internships and continuing education. Obviously, then, entering into a career path to become a family therapist is not something that should be done lightly.
The first thing a person will need to do is to complete an undergraduate degree program at an accredited college or university. There is no set degree that one should obtain as an undergraduate, though it is wise to choose a somewhat related field. Most working family therapists pursued Psychology or Sociology as undergraduate majors. This process will generally take about four years to complete. Once a diploma is granted, students may be able to acquire lower level jobs in the family therapy field, but in order to qualify for the most desirable of jobs in the field students must be willing to continue their educations.
A master’s degree is the logical next step. Before obtaining a master’s degree, however, a student should have a very definite idea of what type of career he or she would like to pursue. This is because master’s degree programs are highly specialized and will relate very closely to the intended career path. After selecting a program and gaining admittance to it, a student can expect to study for approximately two years. Upon completion, most students will work to gain experience and may or may not continue their study with a doctoral program. A doctorate degree does give professionals more career opportunities and greater possibilities for advancement and higher salaries, but it is not absolutely necessary.
In some states or for some positions, licensure or accreditation may be necessary. Prospective family therapists should be aware of the laws in their particular state. For those that do require licensure or certification, the process will vary in length and in requirements. Usually, however, students will be required to complete internship or experiential learning hours, the number of which may vary by state, and to pass a national or state examination. After all of these steps have been successfully completed, a student may begin looking for work in the family therapy field.