Top 10 Accredited Online Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Programs 2017

Best Counseling Degrees - Top Online Master's Programs 2017
Click here for high resolution badge.

By: Kirsten Hughes
June 2017

Are you interested in a career as a marriage and family therapist? We have created this list of the Top 10 Online Accredited Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Programs to help you reach your professional goal!

Marriage and family therapists (or more commonly referred to in recent years as couple and family therapists- in an effort to be inclusive of all relationships) work with individuals, couples, and families. Couple and family therapists are trained to work with clients who may be experiencing a variety of mental health and relational challenges.

Marriage and family therapists are recruited for employment in a range of settings such as community mental health centers, schools, churches, university health centers, and private practice. Graduates of these online programs will be prepared to work towards licensure as a marriage and family therapist or as a professional counselor with a specialization in marriage, couple, and family counseling.

Featured Programs

A note on accreditation and licensure: All schools in this list of online master’s in marriage and family therapy are regionally accredited. Two of them are also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), and five are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Students graduating from regionally accredited programs, and even more so from COAMFTE and CACREP accredited programs, have a competitive career advantage and often experience a more seamless process towards licensure. Post graduation requirements for licensure vary by state. It is recommended that you check with your state licensing board directly to determine if the program you are interested in meets the educational requirements necessary to work towards licensure in your home state. Following graduation you can begin the licensure process of completing clinical hours and supervision and taking the licensure exam. You must be licensed by your state to practice as a counselor (or work under the direct supervision of a licensed counselor). Contact your state board directly for further information.

Internship/ Practicum Experience: Most online master’s in marriage and family therapy degrees require the completion of a supervised internship and a practicum experience. Do not let these requirements dissuade you from pursuing these programs. The practicum and internship requirements are built into the programs to be completed in ways that feel manageable for even the busiest students. To support students in obtaining licensure following graduation, COAMFTE and CACREP standards require the completion of supervised direct client contact clinical hours. Practicum and internships are generally completed in your local community and provide valuable learning opportunities and skill development. Additionally, the experience you gain and the relationships you build during this time are good resume builders and references for future employment opportunities.

Residency: Many of the online marriage and family therapy degree programs listed here also require what is called a residency. The residency is a brief visit to campus where students and faculty meet face-to face. Residencies generally take place a couple of times during the course of the program for a few days to a week at a time. Residencies provide numerous benefits, including developing relationships with fellow students and faculty, developing clinical and counseling skills, and enhancing the educational experience overall. Many graduates of online counseling programs list the residency as a top highlight. Most residencies take place on the main campus. Generally, additional costs per residency apply (fees, airfare, lodging, meals etc.). All residencies listed by the programs are included here.

If you are motivated to pursue an online master’s in marriage and family therapy degree, choosing the school that is the best fit for you is the first step towards accomplishing your goal and advancing your career.

For information on how these programs were selected for the ranking, see the methodology statement at the end of the article.

#10 Amridge University

Montgomery, AL
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Online

amridge-university-master-of-arts-in-marriage-and-family-therapy

Amridge University offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy through their online programming. The program requires the completion of 60 credits with additional courses available for students who need additional coursework for licensure. The program aims to prepare graduates to pursue licensure as a marriage and family therapist and/or dual licensure as a professional counselor. Graduates will have the theoretical knowledge and clinical skills to work in the setting of their choice from community mental health clinics, churches, government agencies, or private practice. Students can choose to enroll in the program on a part-time or full-time basis.

Courses include: ethics and professional identity; community and social systems; theories of counseling and psychotherapy; theories of marriage and family therapy; human development; human sexual development; theories of personality development; marriage and family development; social and multicultural diversity; marital and family systems; systemic treatment of substance related disorders; assessment of individuals and families; and psychopathology and psychopharmacology.

  • Graduate Tuition: $650 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60

#9 Mid-America Christian University

Oklahoma City, OK
Online Master of Science in Counseling, Marital, Couples and Family Counseling/Therapy Emphasis

mid-america-christian-university-master-of-science-in-counseling-marital-couples-and-family-counselingtherapy-emphasis

An online Master of Science in Counseling with an emphasis in Marital, Couples and Family Counseling/Therapy is available at Mid-American Christian University. Students in this program will complete 60-63 credit hours in preparation to work with individuals, couples, and families as a marriage and family therapist. The program offers coursework from a Christian faith-based perspective which will allow graduates to pursue careers in secular and non-secular settings.

Courses include: psychopathology; career counseling and development; theories of counseling and psychotherapy; individual counseling and psychotherapy techniques; interpersonal communication in counseling and relationships; marriage and family systems and treatment; human development; research methods; multi-cultural treatment planning for individuals and families; and ethics and professional studies.

  • Graduate Tuition: $642 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60 – 63

#7 (tie) Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, CA
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Online

touro-university-worldwide-master-of-arts-in-marriage-and-family-therapy

Touro University Worldwide (TUW) offers an online graduate degree in marriage and family therapy. This program is offered fully online with no residency requirements. The program is designed to allow students to build their education around their personal and professional career goals. An emphasis of the program is training graduates to work effectively with health care teams, including other medical and mental health professionals in a collaborative capacity. Graduates will be prepared to work in a range of clinical settings and treat a wide variety of clinical issues that impact individuals, couples, and families.

Unique feature: A unique feature of the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy at TUW is that it offers students the ability to select the track of study that best meets their individual professional goals. Students can select one of three tracks of study: the non-clinical track (54 credits); the clinical track (60 credits); or the licensed professional clinical counseling track (73 credits). Requirements for practicum courses, as well as practicum and clinical hours, vary by track.

  • Graduate Tuition: $500 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 54 – 73

#7 (tie) Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ
Online Master Of Science In Professional Counseling With an Emphasis in Marriage And Family Therapy

grand-canyon-university-master-of-science-in-professional-counseling-with-an-emphasis-in-marriage-and-family-therapy

A Master of Science in Professional Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy is available at Grand Canyon University. The program prepares students to work with individuals, couples, and families, as a professional counselor in a variety of settings. Graduates will be trained to apply systems theory to complex clinical issues including: communication challenges; parenting; couple relationships; intimate partner violence; trauma; and substance abuse. Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure as professional counselors with a foundational understanding of how to work therapeutically with couples and families.

Courses include: introduction to graduate studies in the health sciences; professional counseling orientation and ethics; counseling theories; introduction to addictions and substance use disorders; group counseling theories and practice; social and cultural diversity issues in counseling; psychopharmacology and addictions; human sexuality, aging, and long term care; counseling skills in the helping relationships; human growth and development; marriage and family therapy; spousal and child abuse, crisis, and trauma counseling; psychopathology and counseling; evaluation of mental and emotional status; advanced family systems theory; and diversity in family systems.

  • Graduate Tuition: $500 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 74

#6 Northcentral University

San Diego, CA
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Online

northcentral-university-master-of-arts-in-marriage-and-family-therapy

Northcentral University offers a COAMFTE accredited Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, and was the first MFT program offering a distance education to be accredited by the COAMFTE. Northcentral University strives to train ethically and culturally aware professional marriage and family therapists. Students in this program have the unique opportunity to choose an area of specialization within the degree with a number of areas of specialization available including: California licensure; general family therapy; military family therapy; child and adolescent therapy; LGBTQ couple and family therapy; couple therapy; and medical family therapy. Start dates for the program are available every Monday, allowing applicants to start the process of pursuing their professional career goals as soon as they are ready!

Courses include: foundations for graduate study in marriage and family therapy; treatment planning and traditional family therapy; recovery-oriented care and postmodern family therapy; legal, ethical, and professional development in marriage and family therapy; systemic evaluation and case management; and psychopathology, diagnosis, and systemic treatment.

  • Graduate Tuition: $873 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60

#5 Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA
Online Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

regent-university-virginia-beach-va-master-of-arts-in-marriage-couple-and-family-counseling

The School of Psychology and Counseling at Regent University offers an online Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling. This 60 credit CACREP accredited online counseling degree offered from a Christ-centered perspective will provide students with online courses and two on campus residency experiences. Students will learn to apply theory and research to clinical practice at field placements in their community. Graduates will be prepared to work in a variety of public and private settings as a professional counselor and/or continue their education and pursue a doctoral degree.

Courses include: orientation to the counseling profession; research and statistics; counseling skills and techniques; theories of counseling; assessment techniques in counseling; addiction therapies for individuals and families; career and lifestyle development; psychopathology and diagnosis; human growth and development; concepts of family systems; marital and couple therapy; models of family therapy; theories of human sexuality; ethics, professional orientation and legal issues in counseling; multicultural counseling; and counseling and christian thought.

  • Graduate Tuition: $710 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60

#4 Messiah College

Mechanicsburg, PA
Online Master of Arts in Counseling, Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling Track

messiah-college-online-master-of-arts-in-counseling-marriage-couple-and-family-counseling-track

A Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling Track for the Master of Arts in Counseling is available online at Messiah College. Students in the program will connect with faculty through the week-long intensive courses on campus as well as through synchronous online courses, email, Skype, and phone. Counseling program faculty at Messiah College, a private Christian college, work professionally as counselors and therapists and will actively support students in considering their own and their clients’ faith in their clinical practice. Graduates of this 60 credit CACREP accredited program will be prepared to pursue licensure as a marriage and family therapist.

Courses include: professional issues and ethics for counselors; lifespan development; multicultural issues for counseling professionals; counseling theories; career counseling across the lifespan; group counseling; spiritual formation and faith based counseling; counseling techniques; assessment techniques for individuals, couples, and families; research design and statistics; foundations of marriage, couple, and family counseling; psychopathology and diagnosis across the lifespan; contemporary and integrative theories of family counseling; premarital and marital counseling; human sexuality; substance abuse/ addiction and families; marriage, couple, and family counseling skills and practice.

  • Graduate Tuition: $645 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60

#3 Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA
Online Master of Arts in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling

palo-alto-university-online-master-of-arts-in-counseling-with-an-emphasis-in-marriage-family-and-child-counseling

Palo Alto University offers an online Master of Arts in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. This CACREP accredited degree emphasizes a commitment to multicultural diversity and can be completed online in 11 quarters. Students enrolled in the online Marriage, Family and Child Counseling program at Palo Alto will engage in online courses offered through virtual classrooms with live lecture and discussion over videoconferencing. Students will move through their program with the support of their cohort and complete a one week summer residency in Palo Alto. Graduates of the program will be prepared to pursue licensure as a marriage and family therapist or professional clinical counselor.

Courses include: lifespan development; professional identity; introduction to the clinical advancement project; counseling theory; family systems theory; legal and ethical foundations; diagnosis and treatment planning; clinical interviewing; community mental health with cognitive behavioral and brief therapy; child and adolescent counseling; crisis and trauma counseling; multicultural counseling theories and techniques; substance abuse; couples counseling; group counseling; advanced family counseling; human sexuality; and career development theories and techniques.

  • Graduate Tuition: $508 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 93

#2 Capella University

Minneapolis, MN
Online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy

capella-university-master-of-science-in-marriage-and-family-counselingtherapy

The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy at Capella University is accredited by both the CACREP and the COAMFTE. Students at Capella University will be supported in their theoretical learning and clinical skill development through two residencies. Residencies are offered throughout the United States at different locations each year. Students will have the opportunity to select fieldwork sites in their hometown based on their program requirements as well as their personal and professional goals. Graduates will not only be prepared to pursue licensure but will also have the support of Capella’s licensure team throughout the process and ongoing throughout their professional career.

Get Free Info

Courses include: survey of research in human development for professional counselors; assessment, tests, and measures; principles of psychopathology – diagnosis and treatment; foundations of addiction and addictive behavior; introduction to marriage and family counseling/therapy; professional ethics in marriage and family counseling/ therapy; theories of psychotherapy; counseling and advocacy with diverse populations; systemic approaches to gender and sexuality; family therapy theory and methods; marriage and family systems; and group counseling and clinical applications in marriage and family therapy.

  • Graduate Tuition: $487 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 92

#1 Walden University

Minneapolis, MN
Master of Science in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

walden-university-master-of-science-in-marriage-couple-and-family-counseling

Walden University offers an online Master of Science in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. This CACREP accredited program requires the completion of 90-96 credits of coursework, internship, and practicum experiences. A unique feature of the online graduate counseling degree at Walden University is that they offer students the opportunity to select an area of specialization. Students can choose from the general program of study or a specialization area. Specializations are unique topics that would lead graduates to bring a level of expertise to their professional career as a marriage and family therapist. Areas of specialization include: addiction counseling; career counseling; forensic counseling; military families and culture; and trauma and crisis counseling.

Courses include: foundations for graduate study in counseling; introduction to marriage, couple, and family counseling; counseling and psychotherapy theories; techniques in counseling; ethics and legal issues in counseling; theories and techniques in marriage, couple, and family counseling; lifespan development; multicultural counseling; crisis, trauma, and disaster response; child and adolescent counseling; career counseling; counseling addictive disorders; assessment in counseling and education; human sexuality; and prevention, intervention, and consultation.

  • Graduate Tuition: $465 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 90 – 96

Methodology:This list was created using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs and the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. We looked for programs offering master’s degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling. We retained schools that offered this degree in a distance education format. Additionally, we evaluated schools based on regional accreditation and only accepted regionally accredited schools. We evaluated each program’s website and tuition (per credit hour). Schools that were accredited by CACREP/COAMFTE were grouped then ranked by tuition, the remaining schools were then grouped and ranked by tuition.

Related Rankings