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Marriage and Family Counsellor

Marriage and family counsellors provide counselling to families, couples, and individuals. They strive to help clients resolve interpersonal difficulties, develop effective and satisfactory relationships, and build meaningful support systems.

Also Known As

Family Counsellor, Marriage Counsellor

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors (4153) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors (E023) 
  • 2011 NOC: Family, marriage and other related counsellors (4153) 
  • 2016 NOC: Family, marriage and other related counsellors (4153) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors

2006 NOC: 4153

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
SOCIAL

Interest in mentoring in order to counsel clients, and provide therapy and mediation services; and in assisting individuals and groups of clients to identify, understand and overcome personal problems and achieve personal objectives

INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to develop and implement counselling and intervention programs to assist clients in determining goals and the means of attaining them; may conduct research, publish research papers, educational texts and articles

directive

Interest in following up results of counselling programs and clients' adjustments; and in conducting vocational testing and psychometric assessment; may supervise other counsellors, social service staff and assistants

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Marriage and family counsellors help individuals, couples, and families understand and improve relationships, resolve emotional issues left over from past relationships, and enhance personal well-being. They help clients build their own strengths, resources, and resilience, and set out clear and realistic goals for the future.

In general, marriage and family counsellors assess and intervene in relational difficulties. They:

  • Identify factors contributing to their clients’ problems, such as family violence, stress substance use and addictions, or mental health problems
  • Ask questions and invite reflection to understand and facilitate change in the client’s thinking and behaviour
  • Help clients identify, express, and manage feelings and behaviour in healthy ways
  • Help clients identify and use their existing skills, resources, and abilities
  • Help clients develop and maintain effective communication skills
  • Help clients identify, confront, and resolve problems in constructive and affirming ways
  • Act as coach and collaborator to help clients develop skills and strategies for dealing with family-related concerns
  • Teach and support flexible, consistent, age-appropriate parenting skills
  • Consult with or refer clients to other professionals as needed
  • Maintain confidential records of clients’ progress

With requisite training, marriage and family counsellors may also:

Conduct crisis counselling sessions to help clients deal with suicidal impulses, divorce, job loss, grief, and other life changes

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Most counsellors work in offices. However, they may work in residential, health-care, or in-home settings. They may work some evenings or weekends to accommodate client needs. They may work overtime when clients need urgent help. The work can be stressful, emotionally demanding, and challenging.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Marriage and family counsellors need:

  • A genuine interest in people
  • Emotional maturity
  • Creativity to develop new programs or ways of doing things
  • Sensitivity to ethnic and cultural issues, religious and spiritual beliefs
  • Sensitivity to issues relating to sex and gender, sexual orientation and preferences
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Strong decision-making skills
  • The ability to listen in a non-judgmental manner and demonstrate empathy for a client’s situation regardless of their background or issues
  • The ability to keep information confidential

They should enjoy counselling people, synthesizing information, and helping clients solve problems.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Family, marriage and other related counsellors

2011 NOC: 4153

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 28 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 30, 2021 and Sep 23, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Develop and implement counselling and intervention programs to assist clients in determining goals and means of attaining them
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Dependability
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Personal Suitability: Values and ethics
Follow up results of counselling programs and clients' adjustment
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Judgement
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

Most marriage and family counsellors have at least a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, social work, psychology, or a related discipline. A few Canadian universities offer an accredited master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. For more information, see the Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (CAMFT) website.


To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

In Alberta, the majority of marriage and family counsellors must be registered with a professional college depending on their scope of work. Some professionals may provide marriage and family counselling in related professions, but these may be regulated differently. See details below.

Social Worker

Social workers help individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations develop skills and resources. Their goal is to enhance social functioning and social environments.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf] and the Social Workers Profession Regulation [pdf], social workers must meet identified educational requirements and register with the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW). Registration is necessary if you wish to provide professional services directly to the public, teach social work practice to ACSW members or social work students, or supervise registered members who provide services to the public. The College authorizes some registered members to perform restricted activities defined in the Regulation. Only registered members may use the protected titles Social Worker or Registered Social Worker. To use the protected title Clinical Social Worker, registered members must meet additional requirements.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Social Worker.

Psychologist

Psychologists assess, diagnose, treat, guide, and support persons or groups of persons to enhance development, effective living and quality of life or to prevent, remedy or ameliorate mental, emotional, cognitive, behavioural and interpersonal difficulties; and teach, supervise or consult in the practice of psychology.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf] and Psychologists Profession Regulation [pdf], registration with the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP) is mandatory if you meet identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public, teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession, or supervise registered members who provide services to the public. Registered members, who are authorized by the College, provide restricted activities specified in the Regulation. Only registered members may call themselves psychologists.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Psychologist.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Marriage and family counsellors may work in:

  • Addiction treatment centres
  • Counselling and family therapy centres
  • Government or private social-service agencies
  • Health-care and rehabilitation clinics and hospitals
  • Play therapy centres
  • Private practices

Advancement opportunities depend on the size and nature of the employing organization.

Marriage and family counsellors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4153: Family, marriage and other related counsellors. In Alberta, 81% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 4153: Family, marriage and other related counsellors occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 206 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Family, marriage and other related counsellors

2016 NOC: 4153
Average Wage
$33.81
Per Hour
Average Salary
$62,160.00
Per Year
Average Hours
35.8
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4153 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.00 $38.43 $28.83 $27.00
Overall $21.28 $52.11 $33.81 $30.07
Top $22.33 $55.25 $36.31 $35.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
58%
58%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
26%
26%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
18%
18%
Vacancy Rate
4%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Sciences
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Alberta College of Social Workers website: www.acsw.ab.ca

Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy website: camft.ca

Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) website: caswe-acfts.ca

College of Alberta Psychologists website: www.cap.ab.ca

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) website: www.cswe.org

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

Psychologists’ Association of Alberta website: www.psychologistsassociation.ab.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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