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Where Do Marriage and Family Counselors Work?

Marriage and family counselors work with patients who need extra help dealing with problems relating to their personal relationships. They might work with couples on the brink of divorce, children dealing with the loss of a loved ones and kids facing serious health problems. These counselors are the ones responsible for ensuring that their patients develop good coping mechanisms and learn how to handle their stress. As you usually need a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree to work in this field, you may want to find out where you can work after you graduate.

Outpatient Centers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, outpatient centers employ more than 5,000 of these counselors and the average salary of those counselors is more than $50,000 a year. Outpatient centers can refer to community health centers that accept all patients and private firms that only accept those with insurance. Public or community health centers often accept patients with financial problems and those who fall below the poverty line. This means that you’ll deal with issues like gang violence, money struggles and other issues that you might not face in a private center.

Medical Centers and Hospitals

Family counselors also work in medical centers and hospitals, especially in pediatric facilities. When a child enters a pediatric hospital, he or she may leave with a serious diagnosis of cancer or another medical condition. Counselors working in these facilities help children cope to terms with that diagnosis. They can also offer assistance to the parents and siblings of that child as well as other loved ones. Counselors can also help families learn about programs that cover some of their medical bills and make arrangements for home nurses or other medical professionals who can visit the child at home.

Government Agencies

Depending on the type of patients you want to work with, you might consider working for a government agency. Many local government agencies have a need for marriage and family counselors. You might work in a local jail and offer classes designed to help prisoners make amends to their loved ones, or you might work a department that specializes in child abuse or elder abuse. Those counselors can work with patients in their offices or in the homes of their patients. They investigate claims of abuse and perform many of the same functions as a social worker.

Religious Institutions

Those with deep religious beliefs and convictions may prefer working for a religious institution like a local church. Some churches offer counseling and other services for both church members and those living in the surrounding community. You’ll help couples learn how to communicate with each other and work through any problems they share to tighter their relationship and prevent them from filing for divorce. Counselors working in and for churches often need a deep understanding of the Bible and typically include passages from the Bible during counseling sessions.

Related Resource: Top 10 Online Marriage and Family Counseling Degree Programs

As a counselor specializing in marriage and family, you help couples, their children and entire families come to terms with issues like a new medical diagnosis or the loss of a loved one. These counselors work in a variety of different fields and for different employers. Marriage and family counselors can work for the government, in religious institutions, in outpatient centers and in other medical facilities.