Best Low-Cost Online Master’s Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy 2021

Advertisement BestCounselingDegrees.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

Best Counseling Degrees Badge

Marriage and family therapists specialize in helping people overcome issues in relationships. Currently, over 66,000 individuals work as marriage and family therapists in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of marriage and family therapists could increase by 14,800 from 2019-29 — about 22%.

Prospective marriage and family therapists can expect to complete a four-year bachelor’s program before spending two years earning a master’s degree.

If that level of full-time commitment seems intimidating, online marriage and family therapy programs may be a good option for you. Distance education offers a greater degree of flexibility and independence, allowing candidates to study from the convenience of home, saving time and money on the campus commute. Online degree-seekers can enroll part time and sometimes even choose accelerated options.

Keep reading to learn more about the best marriage and family therapy programs.

Advertisement BestCounselingDegrees.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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.

Top 10 Best Low-Cost Online Master’s Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy

Rank School Location
1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
2 Concordia University-Wisconsin Mequon, WI
3 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA
4 Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX
5 Palo Alto University Palo Alto, CA
6 University of West Alabama Livingston, AL
7 Brandman University Irvine, CA
8 Amridge University Montgomery, AL
9 Mid-America Christian University Oklahoma City, OK

Methodology

View ranking methodology here.

  1. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    As part of the Behavioral Sciences Online Department, Liberty's master of arts in marriage and family therapy is one of the best low-cost programs for helping individuals become licensed marriage and family therapists. This affordable marriage and family program uses a systems theory and Christian perspective to train students to provide effective intervention for clients with critical needs. Career opportunities in this field include positions in in-hospital programs, in-residential treatment centers, and mental health facilities.

    After completing the coursework requirements, graduates will be ready to pursue licensure as a marriage and family therapist in Virginia and other states that accept Virginia licensure. Most Liberty graduate students earn this degree in about 2.5 years. Applicants must turn in a completed application, official college transcripts indicating a minimum 2.7 GPA, two references, and a personal statement.

    Courses Include

    • Assessment Techniques in Counseling
    • Theories of Family Systems
    • Substance Abuse: Treatment and Diagnosis
    • Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning in Family Counseling
    • Advanced Couple and Marital Counseling

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $33,900
    • Credits Required: 60
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  2. Concordia University-Wisconsin
    Location

    Mequon, WI

    CUW offers a valuable yet low-cost online master's degree in marriage and family therapy. Located in the Department of Graduate Education, this master of science in family life helps students become family life educators. This affordable online marriage and family program uses a Christian perspective and understanding to equip students to address children's self-esteem issues, biases in relationships, and other family relationship challenges. The program prepares them for careers as family social workers, program directors, and family therapists.

    After completing approximately two years of required coursework, graduates of this marriage and family program become Certified Family Life Educators. They will be ready to promote family living in churches, schools, and criminal justice facilities. Prospective CUW students must submit official bachelor's degree transcripts, a resume, a completed online application, a one-page essay, and two recommendation letters.

    Courses Include

    • Human Sexuality
    • Family Law and Public Policy
    • Contemporary Issues: Family and Parenting
    • Professional Ethics
    • Family Resource Management

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $22,680
    • Credits Required: 36
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  3. Touro University Worldwide
    Location

    Los Alamitos, CA

    TUW's Edith Neumann School of Health and Human Services is home of one of the top low-cost marriage and family programs. This university's master of arts in marriage and family therapy provides a gateway to licensure as a marriage and family therapist (MFT). The program offers three degree tracks: clinical, nonclinical, and licensed professional clinical counseling.

    Within a two-year period, this online master's program fully prepares graduates to be eligible for MFT licensure in California and most other states. For students working in states with no MFT licensure requirement, the nonclinical degree track is available. Program candidates must submit a completed application and proof of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with at least a 2.5 GPA.

    Courses Include

    • Foundations of Psychopathology
    • Child-Focused Family Therapy
    • Research Methodology
    • Substance Abuse and Recovery
    • Studies in Human Communication

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $36,000
    • Credits Required: 54-82
    • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
  4. Abilene Christian University
    Location

    Abilene, TX

    ACU's master of marriage and family therapy (MMFT) program successfully prepares individuals to be licensed marriage and family therapists. Located in ACU's online graduate degrees department, this low-cost program teaches students to provide Christian service and guidance in various faith-based and secular environments like nonprofit agencies, recovery centers, adoption agencies, and community mental health centers.

    ACU's MMFT program has degree tracks in child and adolescent therapy, medical family therapy, and treatment of trauma. It typically takes less than three years to complete the degree requirements and qualify for MFT licensure in Texas. Applicants must provide a completed online application, an essay, three letters of recommendation, and maintain a 3.0 GPA in the first 12 credit hours of coursework.

    Courses Include

    • Systemic Diagnosis and Assessment
    • Family Life Cycle
    • Cultural Diversity in Family Therapy
    • Systemic Play Therapy
    • Assessment and Treatment of Childhood and Adolescent Disorders

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $48,495
    • Credits Required: 60
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  5. Palo Alto University
    Location

    Palo Alto, CA

    In the Department of Counseling at Palo Alto University, the online master of arts in counseling with an emphasis in marriage, family, and child counseling provides one of the best cost-efficient programs in this field. The program fuses scientific research and advanced clinical training to produce competent marriage and family therapists with science-based practices. Graduates may find career opportunities in health maintenance organizations, schools, private practice, and religious organizations.

    PAU's online marriage and family therapy program satisfies all the educational requirements for the pursuit of the marriage and family therapist (MFT) or the dual MFT and professional clinical counselor license in the state of California. For a minimum of 27 months, this program requires students to be enrolled continuously and finish the degree on pace with their cohort. MFT candidates must provide official transcripts, a resume or CV, a completed application, letters of recommendation, and a purpose statement.

    Courses Include

    • Community Mental Health
    • Lifespan Development
    • Multicultural Counseling Theories and Techniques
    • Family Systems Theory
    • Counseling Women

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $50,592
    • Credits Required: 93
    • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
  6. University of West Alabama
    Location

    Livingston, AL

    One of the best low-cost master's in marriage and family therapy degrees resides in the Online Psychology and Counseling Department at UA. The purpose of this master of science in family counseling is to increase students' effectiveness in working with families and family-related issues. To help students create positive change strategies, this program concentrates on using a nonpathology-based vantage point to conduct family counseling through understanding family relations and conflicts. This marriage and family degree appeals to licensed clinical practitioners, therapists outside the United States, clergy, and others exempt from licensure requirements.

    Since this online family counseling program does not require a practicum or clinical hours, UA students can complete the course requirements entirely online in 1-2 years. Admission requires applicants to submit an official transcript of undergraduate work and an online completed application.

    Courses Include

    • Techniques of Educational Research
    • Advanced Techniques in Family Counseling
    • Educational Statistics
    • The Therapeutic Relationship
    • Professional Orientation and Ethics

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $14,157
    • Credits Required: 33
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  7. Brandman University
    Location

    Irvine, CA

    Brandman's online master of arts in marriage and family therapy houses an affordable and one of the top marriage and family programs. Located in the Arts and Sciences Department, this program provides students with the qualifications to become licensed marriage and family therapists. It uses a career-relevant design to focus on vital issues that affect family relationships, such as substance abuse and sexual disorders.

    Brandman's marriage and family therapy program sets its graduated students up for licensure in California, Washington, and 39 other states. Prospective students must meet specific GPA criteria and provide official transcripts from a regionally accredited institution, an autobiographical essay, a completed application, and three recommendation forms.

    Courses Include

    • Marital Systems and Studies and Domestic Violence
    • Research and Bibliographic Methods
    • Advanced Psychopathology and Diagnosis
    • Theory and Practice of Group Counseling
    • Community and Environmental Mental Health

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $40,200
    • Credits Required: 60
    • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
  8. Amridge University
    Location

    Montgomery, AL

    Amridge has an online master of arts in marriage and family therapy that is one of the best and most affordable means of becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT). This program introduces students to the latest clinical techniques and strategies for providing therapeutic services to couples, families, and individuals. It qualifies them to work in employee assistance programs, government agencies, health maintenance organizations, and more.

    Once students complete the coursework and degree requirements, they will be eligible to pursue MFT licensure in 40 states and Washington, D.C. Students can complete the seven semesters of degree requirements and coursework on a full- or part-time basis. Aspiring Amridge students must submit a completed online application and official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions.

    Courses Include

    • Interpersonal and Family Dynamics
    • Theories of Personality Development
    • Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology
    • Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
    • Theories of Personality Development

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $40,500
    • Credits Required: 60
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  9. Mid-America Christian University
    Location

    Oklahoma City, OK

    The marriage and family counseling degree at MACU is one of the best low-cost pathways to a fulfilling career as a licensed marriage and family counselor. MACU's master of science in counseling with an emphasis in marital, couples, and family counseling focuses on producing counseling professionals capable of using a biblical perspective and scientific methodology to establish a faith-based practice. Some graduates of this online marriage and family degree program have gone on to work as alcohol and drug counselors, professors, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors.

    MACU specifically prepares its students for Oklahoma marriage and family therapist licensure. Students can complete all coursework for this affordable marriage and family therapy degree 100% online though there may be a requirement to live on campus. Applicants must present a photocopy of their U.S. driver's license, official transcripts from a regionally accredited institution showing a 2.75 GPA, a minimum 139 GRE or 365 MAT score, and a personal statement.

    Courses Include

    • Clinical Issues of Aging, Death, and Dying
    • Intervention for Individuals and Families in Crisis and Trauma
    • Child/Adolescent Psychopathology and Counseling
    • Group Dynamics and Counseling
    • Marital and Family Treatment Techniques

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $38,520
    • Credits Required: 60
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Applying to a Low-Cost Online Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy

Most schools offering marriage and family therapy master’s programs online expect applicants to hold an accredited bachelor’s degree. Some prefer to see candidates with a degree in psychology, counseling, or a related field. However, other marriage and family programs consider applicants with unrelated degrees, provided those students submit impressive undergraduate transcripts.

Admission committees usually set a minimum GPA requirement between 2.5-3.0. However, a 2.6 GPA does not guarantee success. Applicants can increase their chances of gaining admission with a higher GPA.

In addition to transcripts, prospective students are typically expected to submit other materials, like personal statements and academic letters of recommendation. Some schools also require applicants to submit GRE or MAT scores.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take to become a marriage and family therapist?

    Marriage and family therapists must complete extensive schooling and supervised work experience to earn licensure. They need a four-year bachelor’s degree, two-year master’s degree, and at least two years of supervised work — about eight years in total. Part-time students may spend even longer on their studies.

  • What is accreditation and why is it important?

    Prospective students rely on the accreditation process to ensure that a school offers a high-quality education. Accreditation guarantees that degree-seekers will earn a valuable degree, while unaccredited programs should be avoided. Look for programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

  • What is the difference between a marriage and family therapist and a psychologist?

    The main difference in the two professions involves their clientele. Marriage and family therapists meet with couples or family groups, whereas psychologists tend to guide people with serious mental health issues. Psychologists work one-on-one or in group settings, while marriage and family therapists work specifically with the two-person couple or family unit.

  • How much do marriage and family therapists make?

    According to the BLS, marriage and family therapists made an annual median salary of about $49,610 in 2019. Salaries vary by location, with the top paying states including Hawaii (where the annual mean wage reaches $79,660), Maine ($75,640), and Colorado ($74,900).

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.


Most Affordable Online Master’s in Counseling Programs

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Counseling Programs

February 22, 2021   |   Staff Writers

A master's degree in counseling online provides an affordable option for students interested in helping people through challenges and difficulties. See our rankings for details.

Comparing Psy.D. vs. Ph.D. Programs

Comparing Psy.D. vs. Ph.D. Programs

March 2, 2021   |   Staff Writers

When choosing between a Psy.D. and a Ph.D., psychology students can find help from this guide. The best path hinges on interests and career goals.

Advertisement BestCounselingDegrees.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

ARE YOU READY TO DO IMPACTFUL WORK IN YOUR COMMUNITY?

Choose what you’d like to specialize in, and discover which schools offer a counseling degree that can help you make a difference.