Marriage and family therapists (MFT) counsel individuals, couples, families, and groups to help them resolve personal, emotional or relationship problems. MFTs in California must have a license to practice, which requires completing a minimum of a master's degree and 3,000 hours of supervised experience, along with passing two exams. Salaries for MFTs in the Los Angeles area are higher than the national average for this occupation.
About 26,450 MFTs worked throughout the United States in 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The bureau does not include self-employed workers in its employment figures. Around 5,960 of these therapists worked in California in 2009. The BLS provides salary data for two Los Angeles metropolitan areas. About 1,690 MFTs were employed in the metropolitan area that includes Long Beach and Glendale, and about 2,190 in the metro area that includes Long Beach and Santa Ana.
MFTs in California had an average salary of $24.81 per hour as of May 2009, or $51,600 per year, according to the BLS. The average salary in both Los Angeles metropolitan areas defined by the BLS was $24.18 per hour, or $50,300 per year. The average salaries in both California and Los Angeles were higher than the national average salary of $49,020 for this occupation.
The salary range for MFTs in the two defined metropolitan areas of Los Angeles were nearly the same. In the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale region, the middle 50 percent of MFTs were earning salaries ranging from $41,570 to $59,110 per year, the bottom 10 percent $34,110 per year and less, and the top 10 percent $66,480 and higher. In the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana area, the middle 50 percent of MFTs had salaries of $40,710 to $59,780 per year, the bottom 10 percent $34,210 per year and less, and the top 10 percent $67,520 and higher.
California MFTs were earning the highest average pay in the Santa Rosa-Petaluma area, at $64,500 per year in 2009. The lowest average pay for California MFTs was in Stockton, at $40,790 per year. The most similar MFT average salaries to that of the Los Angeles metro area were in Fresno at $49,630 and the Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine region at $50,310.