Marriage and family therapy graduate programs prepare students for careers in helping couples, parents, and children who are experiencing anxiety, depression, psychological issues, relationship problems, and substance abuse. A master’s in marriage and family therapy (MFT) qualifies graduates to pursue licensure and specialty certification.
The number of MFTs has increased 50-fold since 1970, and marriage and family therapy remains one of the fastest growing professions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22.3% increase in MFT employment from 2019-29.
Prospective MFTs can finish their online master’s degree in 2-3 years, including completion of onsite supervised clinical experiences. Distance learners can expect synchronous (scheduled virtual classes at set times) and/or asynchronous (pre-recorded lectures accessible 24/7) courses. If learners live far from campus, they can usually log their clinical hours in their home communities.
The typical MFT curriculum includes courses in practice, theory, clinical treatment, law and ethics, and multicultural issues.
The Top Most Accessible Online Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s Degree
Featured Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
Touro University Worldwide
Los Alamitos, CA
The fully online master's in marriage and family therapy program at TUW requires 54-82 credits and 500 direct contact hours, depending on which of the three tracks students select.
Available tracks include marriage and family therapy (MFT) clinical track, MFT non-clinical track, and MFT licensed professional clinical counseling (LPCC) track. The MFT clinical track requires 18 courses and six practicum courses. The non-clinical track omits clinical requirements, and the MFT LPCC track requires an additional four courses.
The curriculum consists of eight-week courses and concludes with a capstone project. The 500 direct contact hours must consist of 200 practicum couple and family hours.
The program is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, the Board of Behavioral Sciences, and the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.
- Contemporary Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy
- Foundations of Psychopathology
- Group Counseling
- Human Sexuality
- Transfer in up to 12 credits
- No GRE required
- Accelerated admissions process
- No residency
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Applying to an Online Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s Degree Program
Master’s programs for marriage and family therapy accept students with a bachelor’s degree in fields such as psychology, social work, nursing, counseling, and education. Accredited MFT programs typically require transcripts showing a 2.5 or higher grade point average (GPA), 2-3 recommendation letters, personal statements, and resumes. Some admission requirements include Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores, paid or volunteer experience in mental health, and/or prerequisite coursework in undergraduate human development, psychology, and statistics.
After completing the master of marriage and family therapist degree, graduates spend approximately two years gaining additional supervised clinical experience, then sit for their state licensure exams. Many states use the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards examination. Optional national certification exams lead to credentials in one of three specialty areas: addictions, clinical mental health, and school counseling.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a marriage and family therapist do?
Many marriage and family therapists work in private practice using a variety of methods to help clients, including cognitive behavioral theory to help replace harmful thoughts and emotions with alternative or more objective ways of thinking. MFTs also guide clients’ decision making for moving forward, help them develop strategies for managing challenging situations, and refer clients to other resources.
What are the requirements to become licensed as a marriage and family therapist?
MFTs need a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited program, two years of postgraduate supervised clinical experience, and a passing score on a licensing exam. Requirements vary by state, but common titles include licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed marriage and family counselor, licensed clinical marriage and family therapist, and certified marriage and family therapist.
What is accreditation and why is it important?
Accreditation demonstrates that an MFT program undergoes regular and rigorous curricular review, and meets high academic standards that prepare graduates for professional counseling and therapy roles. The main accrediting organization for marriage and family therapy programs is the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.
Where do marriage and family therapists work?
Just over one-third of MFTs work in individual and family services, and 21% find employment in offices of other health practitioners. The remainder can be found in outpatient care centers, self-employment ventures, and state government agencies. Other work settings include employee assistance programs, hospitals, mental health facilities, and substance abuse treatment centers.
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