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Top 10 Low-Cost Online Graduate Degrees in Family Counseling

By: BCD Staff
January 2019

Are you interested in a career as a family counselor? We have created this list of the Top 10 Low-Cost Online Graduate Degrees in Family Counseling to help you reach your professional goal! Couple and family therapists are trained to work with individuals, couples, and families that may be experiencing a variety of mental health and relational challenges. 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.

A note on accreditation and licensure: All schools in this list of online graduate degrees in family therapy are regionally accredited and three of them are also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), and six 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 licensing board directly for further information.

Internship/ Practicum Experience: Most online master's in couple and family counseling 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 completed in your local community and provide valuable learning opportunities and skill development. Additionally, the experience you gain and the relationships you build with supervisors and program directors during this time are good resume builders and references for future employment opportunities.

Residency: Many of the online counseling 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 graduate degree in family counseling, choosing the school that is the best fit for you is the first step towards accomplishing your goal and advancing your career. We are confident you will find the best low-cost online graduate degree in family counseling to meet your goals here!

Methodology

We have done the research so you don't have to! We have looked at colleges and universities offering counseling programs across the country. We have evaluated and ranked counseling programs on numerous points of interest such as:

  • both undergraduate and graduate programs
  • all areas of concentration
  • values such as accreditation and affordability
  • online and on-campus programs

 

#10 Mid-America Christian University

Oklahoma City, OK

Master of Science in Counseling – Marital, Couples and Family Counseling/Therapy Emphasis

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A Master of Science in Counseling with an Emphasis in Marital, Couples and Family Counseling/Therapy is offered online at Mid-America Christian University. Coursework is designed to be delivered through a Christian faith-based perspective to support students in working with individuals, couples, and families in both faith-based and community settings. With the education and training students will be ready to work with children, adolescents, and adults in traditional therapeutic settings but also in schools, hospitals, residential treatment centers, and social service agencies. This program can be completed with 60-63 credits.

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; Marital and Family Treatment Techniques; Human Development; Research Methods; Multi-Cultural Treatment Planning for Individuals and Families; Ethics and Professional Studies; Assessment of Individuals and Families in Counseling; and intervention for Individuals and Families in Crisis and Trauma.

  • Cost: $639 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60 – 63

#9 Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

Master Of Science In Clinical Mental Health Counseling With An Emphasis In Marriage And Family Therapy

grand-canyon-university-online-master-of-science-in-addiction-counseling

Grand Canyon University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers this online degree focused on providing counseling to individuals and families across the lifespan. Students will learn how to counsel families coping with challenges in their marriage, parent-child relationships, or family of origin issues. Grand Canyon University works to support students on-campus and online receive valuable grants and scholarships through the university or through their communities to help make every students education affordable.

Courses include: Introduction to Graduate Studies in Counseling; Professional Counseling, Ethical, and Legal Considerations; Theories and Models of Counseling; Substance Use Disorders and Addictions; Counseling Skills; Counseling the Culturally Diverse; Group Counseling; Principles of Psychopharmacology; Human Sexuality and Issues of Aging; Lifespan and Development; Counseling Couples and Families; Career Counseling; Clinical Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment; Psychopathology; Assessment of Mental and Emotional Health Status; Advanced Family Systems Theory; and Diversity in Family Systems.

  • Cost: $515 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 74

#8 Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, CA

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

touro-university-worldwide-los-alamitos-ca-online-master-of-arts-in-marriage-and-family-therapy

An Online Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Degree Program is available at Touro University Worldwide. Students can select the track of study that matches their professional career goals with options to complete a Clinical Track, Non-Clinical Track, or Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling Track. The program is working to become accredited by the COAMFTE and is working to follow current COAMFTE standards. Students will complete supervised clinical hours working with individuals, couples, and families for graduation.

Courses include: Contemporary Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy; Foundations of Psychopathology; Couples Counseling; Child-Focused Family Therapy; Development Within the Family Life Cycle; Psychopharmacology; Society, Culture and Gender: A Multicultural Perspective; Group Counseling; Human Sexuality; Substance abuse and Recovery; Adolescent-Focused Family Therapy; Aging, Illness and Long-Term Care Concerns; Ethics and Law for Marriage and Family Therapy; and Treatment of Trauma in Families.

  • Cost: $500 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 54 – 82

#7 Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy

 

capella-university-master-of-science-in-mental-health-counseling-online-low-cost-online-masters-degrees-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling

 

Capella University offers a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy online. This online graduate degree in family counseling is accredited by both the CACREP and the COAMFTE. Students in the program will complete core coursework along with specialization courses allowing students to have both the core requirements for licensure as well as an area of speciality for enhanced professional skills. Students will complete two residencies while in the program during which they will have the opportunity connect with peers and work closely with faculty while engaging in group discussions, presentations, role-plays and counseling skill development. Capella University offers residencies at varying locations to accomodate students throughout the United States.

Courses include: Principles of Psychopathology and Diagnosis; Foundations of Addiction and Addictive Behavior; Introduction to Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling; Professional Ethics in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy; Theories of Psychotherapy; Family Therapy Theory and Methods; Marriage and Family Systems; Couple and Marital Therapy; Life Planning and Career Development; and Group Counseling and Clinical Applications in Marriage and Family Therapy.

  • Cost: $487 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 92
  • Accreditation: CACREP & COAMFTE

#6 Walden University

Minneapolis, MN

Master of Science in Marriage Couple and Family Counseling

A Master of Science in Marriage Couple and Family Counseling is available online at Walden University. Students working to complete this CACREP accredited degree can select from several specializations in areas including: Addiction Counseling; Forensic Counseling; Military Families and Culture; and Trauma and Crisis Counseling. Courses are offered with attention to evidence-based practices in order to prepare graduates to be leaders in the field of mental health counseling. Graduates will be prepared to work towards professional licensure as a family therapist with the skills to work in a range of settings such as social service agencies, universities and research centers, residential treatment centers, and private practice.

Courses include: Introduction to Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories; 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; and Social Change in Action: Prevention, Consultation, and Advocacy.

  • Cost: $465 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 90 – 96
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#5 Alliant International University

Various Location

Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy

Alliant International University offers a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy online. The program focuses on training students to work with multiculturally diverse clients with an appreciation for inclusion and acceptance of all individuals and relationships. All students will engage in an internship to complete client contact hours with individual and group supervision to enhance clinical learning and growth. Graduates of the COAMFTE accredited program will be prepared to pursue professional licensure and careers in the setting of their choice. Alliant International University focuses on offering all students flexible learning options with full and part-time schedules, day and evening classes, and the opportunity to choose between various campuses across California or online study from anywhere the student calls home.

Courses include: Diversity and the Family; Individual and Family Life Cycle; Introduction to Psychotherapy; Preparing for Community Practice; Chemical Dependency and the Family; Group Therapy; Parent-Child Therapy Techniques; Couples Therapy; Trauma and Crisis Intervention; Sex Therapy in Marriage and Family Therapy; and Psychopharmacology.

  • Cost: $925 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: COAMFTE

#4 Northcentral University

San Diego, CA

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

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

A Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy is offered online at Northcentral University. This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The program is committed to training future professional family therapists with the capacity to provide skilled, ethical, culturally competent therapeutic services to diverse populations. Students in the program have the opportunity to select from a variety of specializations including: Couple Therapy; LGBTQ Couple and Family Therapy; Military Family Therapy; Child and Adolescent Family Therapy; General Family Therapy; and Medical Family Therapy.

Courses include: Foundations for Graduate Study in Marriage and Family Therapy; Treatment Planning and Traditional Family Therapy; Legal, Ethical and Professional Development in Marriage and Family Therapy; Psychopathology, Diagnosis, and Systemic Treatment; Human Development and Family Dynamics Across the Lifespan; Cultural Diversity, Gender, and Family Development; and Couple and Sex Therapy.

  • Cost: $882 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: COAMFTE

#3 Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple & Family Counseling

regent-university-psy-d-in-clinical-psychology

Regent University offers a Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling online or on-campus. Students in this CACREP accredited program can choose to complete coursework with the convenient online format while maintaining the benefit of networking and connecting with peers and faculty throughout their time in the program. Courses are designed to integrate counseling theory and faith with courses presented from a Christian worldview. Students will work closely with faculty to set up a local internship site for their fieldwork experience. Graduates of this 60 credit program will be prepared to pursue professional licensure as a counselor and work in settings such as private practice, community mental health clinics, or Church Counseling Centers.

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; Ethics, Professional Orientation and Legal Issues in Counseling; Multicultural Counseling; and Counseling and Christian Thought.

  • Cost: $710 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#2 Messiah College

Mechanicsburg, PA

Master of Arts in Counseling with a specialization in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

messiah-college-master-of-arts-in-counseling-online

An Online Master of Arts in Counseling with a specialization in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling is offered at Messiah College. This CACREP accredited Online Master of Arts in Counseling also offers specializations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and in School Counseling. Students in the program are supported by faculty with small class sizes and individual attention as needed from faculty. While most courses are offered online, weeklong intensive residential courses are offered on-campus to support students in connecting with peers and faculty while developing professional counseling skills that are best learned in an in person setting. Messiah College is committed to supporting students in integrating Christian faith throughout their academic program and future professional role as a counselor for individuals, couples, and families.

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; Contemporary and Integratie Theories of Family Counseling; Human Sexuality; Substance Abuse/Addiction and Families; and Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling Skills and Practice.

  • Cost: $660 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#1 Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA

Master of Arts in Counseling: Marriage, Family and Child Counseling Emphasis

palo-alto-university-psy-d-in-clinical-psychology

Palo Alto University offers an online Master of Arts in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. This CACREP accredited program is available both on-campus and online allowing applicants to choose the program of study that best meets their individual needs. Online students will complete a one week on-campus residency to engage in face-to-face clinical skills training. Graduates will have the education and clinical training to pursue licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) or as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). Both certifications are ideal for students that plan to work professionally with individuals, couples, and families. The program meets educational requirements for the State of California however, students that plan to pursue licensure outside the State of California are encouraged to consult their home state licensing board.

Courses include: Lifespan Development; Professional Identity; 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; Research and Program Evaluation; Human Sexuality; Psychopharmacology; and Career Development Theories and Techniques.

  • Cost: $523 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 93
  • Accreditation: CACREP

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.