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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.

  • Avg. Salary $61,978.00
  • Avg. Wage $33.93
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 6,100
  • In Demand Medium
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

61%
61%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Marriage and Family Counsellor is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors
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

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 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 More

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

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.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
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.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Gonzaga University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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.

What You Need

Registration as a Social Worker requires a diploma or degree from an approved social work program. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the ACSW website.

Working in Alberta

Social workers who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory body elsewhere in Canada may be eligible to register in Alberta if the 2 jurisdictions require similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the ACSW website.

To learn about certification for internationally educated social workers, see Social Worker Registration Process.

Contact Details

Alberta College of Social Workers
550 - 10707 100 Ave. NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 3M1
Canada

Call: 780-421-1167
Toll-free in Alberta: 1-800-661-3089
Fax: 780-421-1168
Website: www.acsw.ab.ca

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.

What You Need

Registration requires successful completion of:

  • A post graduate degree in psychology that meets the academic requirements established by the College
  • At least 1,600 hours of approved work experience under the supervision of a Registered Psychologist, approved by the College
  • An established core knowledge in areas as defined by the College .

For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit CAP.

Working in Alberta

Psychologists who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered psychologists in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada?" and CAP.

To learn about certification for internationally educated psychologists, see Psychologist Registration Process.

Contact Details

College of Alberta Psychologists
Sun Life Place
2100, 10123 - 99 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3H1
Canada

Call: 780-424-5070
Toll-free within Alberta: 1-800-659-0857
Fax: 780-420-1241
Website: www.cap.ab.ca

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 E023: Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.3% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 205 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

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

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.

Family, marriage and other related counsellors

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.00 $37.42 $28.50 $28.41
Overall $20.07 $51.60 $33.93 $30.19
Top $20.90 $56.21 $38.76 $35.72

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.

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.


Industry Information
Educational Services
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

61%
61%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

34%
34%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

8%
8%

Vacancy Rate

3%
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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