Think you have what it takes to be a therapist? This means that you're likely patient, understanding, compassionate, organized and a genuine people person. You're willing and able to guide individuals, couples and families out of some of the most trying times they'll ever experience. While all of these traits can be a real boon to any good therapist, you could be missing an important piece of this career-field puzzle: The right degree.
According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all states require that therapists have a master's degree and a state-issued license to practice. Generally, therapists have earned their degrees in counseling, social work, or marriage and family therapy. These advanced degree programs should prepare future therapists to recognize mental and emotional health issues and teach them the ins-and-outs of effective counseling techniques and strategies. Family and marriage therapists also need to know about how relationships between spouses and families function, and how emotions and mental health can impact relationships. Both courses of study take about two years and usually involve a supervised internship required for certification. Specifically, most mental health counselors and therapists may find they need to accrue between 1,000 and 2,000 hours of supervised clinical experience before they can become board-certified and licensed to practice.
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