You can't take it with you when you die, the old saying goes. Studies have proven time and time again that relationships – the friends, family, and lovers that fill our lives – are the most influential variables to leading a happy life.

Relationships, and the issues that can damage them, are intensely personal and subjective in nature. Because both people in the relationship may be coming from different but equally legitimate perspectives, misunderstandings and arguments are seldom clear-cut.

Marriage and family counselors, also sometimes called therapists, are the counseling professionals hired to bring a fresh perspective to such disputes. Marriage counselors help couples at all stages of their relationships, advising them on simple problems like divergent interests and serious problems like infidelity. Family counselors work with families of all sizes to insure that all members feel heard and valued.

Marriage and family counselors are licensed in all states, and are generally required to have at least a master's degree in relationship counseling. They will draw on the techniques and considerations they learn in advanced marriage and family counseling programs throughout their professional careers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008:

  • 37% of marriage and family therapists worked in individual and family service
  • 18% worked for state government organizations
  • 10% worked for local government organizations
  • 10% worked in outpatient care centers
  • 8% worked in the offices of other healthcare practitioners
Where to work Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Marriage and Family Counseling Career Opportunities:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 27,300 marriage and family counselors in 2008. Career opportunities are expected to be favorable, as increased recognition of the value of relationship counseling spurs job creation. Marriage and family counselors are expected to add 3,900 new jobs over 10 years, for a 2018 total of 31,300 positions. That's a 14% growth rate, significantly higher than the 8.2% expansion of the civilian workforce expected over the same time period.

Projected Growth
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics