Although this service is meant to be helpful in finding paid MFT internships, I thought it would be beneficial to inform you all that there are opportunities for paid MFT traineeships! *collective gasp*
Let’s face it, the time and effort that goes into collecting hours as a student is part of the training that is needed for the field. But why does it have to go uncompensated? Merely gaining experience isn’t enough when you are trying to pay the bills and remain emotionally/mentally healthy (which may include paying out-of-pocket for your personal therapy, depending on whether your MFT program requires it).
Here are three ways that I got compensated for my work while studying at California State University, Northridge:
Position: Case Manager
Employer: Ventura County Behavioral Health (Santa Paula Adult Outpatient)
Bilingual Required?: No
I obtained a case manager position (which was considered a Mental Health Associate Internship) at the Santa Paula Adult Outpatient site of Ventura County Behavioral Health (VCBH), for which I was compensated with a stipend total of $6,000 for a 9 month commitment from September to May.
NOTE: Since this position did not allow me to conduct therapy, I was unable to collect hours as a trainee.
Position: MFT Trainee Clinician
Employer: Ventura County Behavioral Health (Fillmore Youth and Family Clinic)
Bilingual Required?: Yes
I decided to apply for the traineeship at VCBH, as I had previous experience with the employer and wanted to actually conduct therapy/collect hours as a trainee. After submitting my application, letters of recommendation, and attending an interview, I found out that I been offered the position. The compensation? $12,000 for another 9 month commitment. The second placement was at VCBH’s Fillmore Youth and Family Clinic.
Both positions at VCBH required that I commit 16 hours a week to the site, and this could be divided in whatever way was agreed upon by the student and the supervisor.
Position: In-Home Outreach Counselor
Employer: Strength United (Family Preservation)
Bilingual Required?: Yes
This employment was offered after my time spent with the organization without compensation (about 1 year), where I built up my experience and my supervisor’s trust in my abilities. I was hired on as a part-time In-Home Outreach Counselor for Strength United’s Family Preservation program. I was compensated for my hourly work for the last 6 months of my program.
Disclaimer: Other students in my MFT program received employment offers, depending on the organization’s funding and that specific student’s flexibility/experience (i.e., ability to conduct assessments at odd times of day, willingness to work in newly-developed programs, and/or being bilingual in languages such as Armenian or Farsi).
There are opportunities out there, and sometimes even part-time opportunities afford you a wealth of knowledge/experience for your future work as a clinician. You might as well get compensated for them!
Were you surprised to learn that MFT trainees can get hours and get paid, just like MFT registered interns can? Let us know by leaving a comment below!