Best Online Marriage and Family Counseling Programs 2021

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Online marriage and family therapy programs

open doors to a profession with an above-average projected job growth rate of 22%. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers should add 14,800 positions for marriage and family therapists (MFTs) through 2029. MFTs serve in integrated care teams, working with counselors who treat behavioral disorders, mental health issues, and substance abuse.

Online MFT programs train students to help clients face relationship challenges. Online coursework explores couples counseling, family therapy, and human sexual development, along with ethics and theories of psychotherapy. Distance learning may consist of recorded lectures or live online sessions. Students gain supervised clinical experience in person at work sites near their homes.

Check out our rankings below for information about the best online marriage and family therapy programs.

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.

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The Best Online Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

  1. Abilene Christian University
    Location

    Abilene, TX

    Through the College of Biblical Studies of Marriage and Family Therapy, Abilene Christian University offers an online master of marriage and family therapy. This online MFT program produces Christian servant leaders with the potential to practice in churches, youth facilities, mental health agencies, or schools. Students can learn to apply a compassionate and professional approach to difficult issues facing their clients.

    Completion of ACU's online MFT program leads to a high probability of acceptance into a doctoral program. The curriculum features a 500-hour internship which builds on the experience gained from theory and clinical training. Students can finish this MFT degree online program within two years, whether they pursue the thesis track or not.

    Courses Include

    • Family Therapy Across the Lifecycle
    • Addictive Disorders
    • Cultural Diversity in Marriage and Family Therapy
    • Systemic Diagnosis and Assessment
    • Theological Perspectives on Human Behavior

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $1,64 per credit hour
    • Credits required: 60
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  2. Touro University Worldwide
    Location

    Los Alamitos, CA

    Touro University Worldwide’s online master of arts in marriage and family therapy originates from the Edith Neumann School of Health and Human Services. This online MFT program prepares students for the changes in the healthcare market due to the Health Care Reform Act. With the emphasis on team healthcare, this MFT program opens up the students to more career opportunities as marriage and family therapists.

    TUW’s master’s in marriage and family therapy online has three degree tracks: clinical, Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling (LPCC), and non-clinical. All three degree options meet the requirements to make graduates eligible for California’s MFT Licensure (and secure licensure in most other states). This master’s in marriage and family therapy has very affordable tuition and free textbooks.

    Courses Include

    • Child-Focused Family Therapy
    • Psychopharmacology
    • Research Methodology
    • Human Sexuality
    • Treatment of Trauma in Families

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $500 per credit
    • Credits: 72 clinical, 82 LPCC, 54 non-clinical
    • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC)
  3. Amridge University
    Location

    Montgomery, AL

    From its School of Education and Human Services, Amridge University offers an online master of arts in marriage and family therapy that helps students acquire marriage and family therapy licensure in their home states. It also prepares students to practice therapy in government agencies, private practice, and community centers.

    Amridge’s online MFT degree serves as an excellent springboard to the Ph.D. program in family therapy. Also, students may be interested in completing extra courses for the dual licensure in marriage and family therapy and professional counseling. Students seeking dual licensure can receive advice from the dean of the School of Human Services. Full-time students can complete this online MFT program in seven semesters.

    Courses Include

    • Human Sexual Development
    • Counseling for Abusive Relationships
    • Systemic Treatment of Substance-Related Disorders
    • Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology
    • Marital and Family Systems

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $675 per credit (full time), $750 per credit (part time)
    • Credits required: 60
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  4. University of West Alabama
    Location

    Livingston, AL

    University of West Alabama’s online master of science in family counseling attracts licensed therapists interested in starting a clinical practice. Located in UWA’s Psychology and Counseling department, this online marriage and family therapy program teaches students to use systematic methods to break down family dynamics and develop effective strategies for improving relationships and mental health.

    UWA’s online master's in family counseling features licensed marriage and family therapists, psychologists, and professional counselors as course instructors. Within one to two years, students can get this vital career-advancing degree for a low cost. The university’s admission system provides step-by-step guidance by enrollment counselors.

    Courses Include

    • Systems of Psychotherapy
    • Educational Statistics
    • Systems Theory in Psychology
    • Techniques of Educational Research
    • Lifespan Development and Learning

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $429 per credit
    • Credits required: 33
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  5. Brandman University
    Location

    Irvine, CA

    Offered within the School of Arts and Sciences, Brandman University’s online Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family therapy prepares students for licensure in California, Washington, and 39 other states. The online MFT program best suits scholar-practitioners with clinical experience and the ambition to become marriage and family therapists.

    online master’s degree in marriage and family therapy prepares students for licensure in California, Washington, and 39 other states. The online MFT program best suits scholar-practitioners with clinical experience and the ambition to become marriage and family therapists.

    To satisfy various state requirements, Brandman’s marriage and family masters online offers three clinical emphases. By clicking on the state of residence on this Brandman webpage, students can access the state-specific requirements.

    Courses Include

    • Clinical Issues in Human Diversity
    • Psychological Assessment
    • Lifespan development/Aging and Long Term Care
    • Advanced Psychopathology and Diagnosis
    • Psychopharmacology

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $670 per credit
    • Credits required: 60
    • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC)
  6. Palo Alto University
    Location

    Palo Alto, CA

    Hosted by the Department of Counseling, Palo Alto University’s online master of arts in counseling with a family and child counseling emphasis prepares students for marriage and family therapist licensure by combining scientific research with clinical training. The design of this online MFT program appeals to students at various stages of their careers with a desire to practice in social service agencies, religious organizations, and medical and mental health centers.

    PAU's online MFT program also trains students for licensed professional clinical counseling. The curriculum includes mandatory fieldwork, workshops, and a capstone project. Online students can complete the program in 9 quarters.

    Courses Include

    • Family Systems Theory
    • Addiction Counseling
    • Legal and Ethical Foundations
    • Community Mental Health
    • Multicultural Counseling Theories and Techniques

    Unique Features

    • Cost: $544 per credit
    • Credits required: 93
    • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC)

Applying to an Online Marriage and Family Counseling Program

Many marriage and family therapy master’s programs online require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in a mental health or related field with a 2.5 GPA or higher. Candidates submit transcripts, 2-3 letters of recommendation from professors or supervisors, and a resume. Applicants may also need to provide GRE scores, personal statements, and prerequisites in psychology, human development, and statistics, although work or volunteer experience may substitute for specific coursework.

All U.S. states require MFTs to be licensed, so students should ensure that their programs hold accreditation. After earning their marriage and family therapist degree online, graduates must log 2,000-4,000 supervised clinical experience hours and pass a licensing exam. Aspiring MFTs should check with their state’s specific licensure requirements for additional details.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

    The process includes earning a four-year bachelor’s degree and a 2-3-year MFT master’s degree, followed by participation in a postgraduate internship or residency, which takes about two years to complete. Students can expect a time commitment of at least eight years, which may vary with full- or part-time enrollment.

  • What is accreditation and why is it important?

    Accreditation indicates that an online MFT program meets rigorous academic standards and prepares graduates to pass their licensing exams. Students should look for programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, or the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council.

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

    MFTs counsel couples and families struggling with relationship dynamics and problems. Psychologists specialize in a range of patient populations, some of which — such as couples and families, substance abusers, and those with mental health issues — overlap with MFT clients. Psychologists, however, generally earn doctoral degrees and must satisfy different educational and licensing criteria.

  • How much do marriage and family counselors make?

    MFTs earn an annual median wage of $49,610. According to the BLS, MFTs who make higher salaries work for state governments and earn a $72,230 median annual wage, along with those working at outpatient care centers, who earn $52,140. Top-paying states for MFTs include Utah, New Jersey, and Maine.

Online College Resources

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

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

June 3, 2021   |   Staff Writers

Curious about what it takes to earn an online marriage counseling degree? This page lists the best marriage and family therapy programs.

Best Online Marriage and Family Counseling Programs 2021

Best Online Marriage and Family Counseling Programs 2021

June 3, 2021   |   BestCounselingDegrees.net Staff

Earning a master's in marriage and family therapy online allows graduates to help people with relationship problems. Our rankings provide the information needed to launch this fulfilling career.

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