Best Online Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy Programs of 2022

If you're passionate about helping families heal and communicate, consider a master's in marriage and family therapy. We've found five of the best online programs.

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by Staff Writers

Published on January 10, 2022 · Updated on May 6, 2022

Reviewed by Megan Pietrucha, Psy.D.

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Ready to start your journey?

Earning an online master's in marriage and family therapy allows you to help individuals, couples, and families work through difficulties and address issues that cause strife and stress in the relationships. After meeting all state-level licensure requirements, graduates take on roles in myriad settings.

Whether a student knows without question that they want to pursue this degree or are just beginning their search for the right graduate program, this guide can help. You can find information on standard graduate admission requirements, typical courses, and various career paths available to licensed graduates.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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2022 Best Accredited Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

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#1 Online College in California

Touro University Worldwide

School Information
Location Los Alamitos, California
Graduation Rate 100%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $500
Out of State | $500

Credits to Graduate
72 (clinical track)
54 (nonclinical track)
82 (licensed professional clinical counseling track)

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education

Touro University Worldwide offers an online master's in marriage and family counseling. Degree-seekers can choose between three tracks: the clinical track, the non-clinical track, and the licensed professional clinical counseling track. For all tracks except the non-clinical track, students must complete 500 practicum hours. During the practicum, candidates work directly with clients under supervision. 

Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores. Not including practicum credits, the program accepts up to 12 transfer credits from equivalent master's-level programs. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA or a 2.75 GPA or above in graduate coursework.

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#2 Online College in California

Northcentral University

School Information
Location La Jolla, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

100% Online | Self-Paced and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $913
Out of State | $913

Credits to Graduate
45

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education

Northcentral University's online master's in marriage and family therapy prepares learners to seek state licensure. After completing the first six required courses, students begin working with local clients under supervision. They also engage in weekly online practicums with faculty members and peers. 

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, but do not need to submit standardized test scores. Prior education in a related field can benefit students, but the program does not require a specific undergraduate major.

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#3 Online College in California

University of Massachusetts Global

School Information
Location Irvine, California
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 60%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online and Hybrid | Self-Paced and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $680
Out of State | $680

Credits to Graduate
69

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

UMass Global (formerly Brandman University) offers a master's in marriage and family therapy and professional clinical counseling. The program helps prepare graduates to work in diverse clinical settings. Notable course topics include history and foundations of therapeutic practices, couples therapy, and clinical issues in human diversity. 

Applicants must submit an autobiographical essay, but do not need standardized test scores. The program may not accept applicants from all U.S. states. Prospective students can contact a UMass Global enrollment coach to find out if they meet residency requirements.

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#4 Online College in Virginia

Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Self-Paced and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $565
Out of State | $565

Credits to Graduate
60

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Liberty University's online master's in marriage and family therapy requires two on-campus intensives. Students must also complete a practicum and an internship. Featured courses cover group counseling, couple and marital counseling, and substance abuse. 

Reflecting Liberty's Christian affiliation, the master's in marriage and family therapy teaches students to incorporate faith into their practice. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.7 or above.

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#5 Online College in California

Palo Alto University

School Information
Location Palo Alto, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Online with Some On-Campus Requirements or Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $544
Out of State | $544

Credits to Graduate
93

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

Palo Alto University (PAU) delivers its master's in counseling program in both online and hybrid formats. Online learners must attend two on-campus training experiences. All students complete practicums or internships in their local communities. Degree-seekers can choose between a marriage, family, and child emphasis and a clinical mental health emphasis. 

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school along with a minimum 3.0 GPA. PAU also recommends work or volunteer experience in the mental health field.

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#6 Online College in Wisconsin

Concordia University-Wisconsin

School Information
Location Mequon, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $646
Out of State | $646

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Concordia University-Wisconsin, a Lutheran university, offers an online master's in education with a family life emphasis. This counseling-oriented program teaches students to bring a Christian perspective to family challenges. 

Required courses explore professional ethics, human development, family resource management, and human sexuality. Electives include individual counseling and group counseling. Students must complete 120 practicum hours. 

Applicants need a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Admission does not require standardized test scores.

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#7 Online College in Alabama

University of West Alabama

School Information
Location Livingston, Alabama
Admission Rate 35%
Graduation Rate 35%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $429
Out of State | $429

Credits to Graduate
33

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The University of West Alabama's online master's in family counseling does not prepare graduates to obtain licensure as therapists or counselors. Rather, the program benefits degree-seekers who already hold licensure, or who do not need a counseling license where they intend to work. 

Required courses cover educational statistics, marriage and family therapy, and educational research techniques. Electives address topics such as lifespan development and psychotherapy systems. 

Applicants receive step-by-step guidance from an enrollment counselor.

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#8 Online College in Texas

Abilene Christian University

School Information
Location Abilene, Texas
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 61%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online or On Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $825
Out of State | $825

Credits to Graduate
60

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education

Abilene Christian University offers a master's in marriage in family therapy online and on campus. This program helps graduates prepare for clinical, medical, and counseling work in secular and religious settings. 

Course topics include family theory, couples therapy, and cultural diversity in family therapy. Degree-seekers can choose a general concentration or select a specialized focus. Specialized tracks include child and adolescent therapy, medical family therapy, therapy with military families, and treatment of trauma. Applicants must demonstrate high moral standards.

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#9 Online College in Texas

Houston Baptist University

School Information
Location Houston, Texas
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $585
Out of State | $585

Credits to Graduate
60

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Houston Baptist University's master's in marriage and family therapy features online coursework and two weeklong on-campus intensives. Students complete a three-semester, 700-hour supervised practicum. The curriculum includes core courses in professional counseling and marriage and family counseling. Degree-seekers choose between elective courses in human sexuality or gender issues and differences. 

The application requires written responses to a series of questions. Applicants may choose to attend a virtual interview or submit a video response to interview questions.

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#10 Online College in Alabama

Amridge University

School Information
Location Montgomery, Alabama
Graduation Rate 33%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

100% Online

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $675 (full time), $750 (part time)
Out of State | $675 (full time), $750 (part time)

Credits to Graduate
60

Program Information
Regional Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Amridge University's online master's in marriage and family therapy helps prepare students for licensure as marriage and family therapists in their home states. By taking more courses, learners can also seek professional counseling licensure. 

Required courses examine topics like ethics and professional identity, human sexual development, and counseling for abusive relationships. Degree-seekers must also complete a practicum and clinical training. 

Students can apply and register through Amridge's secure online portal.

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What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Program?

To pursue a marriage and family therapy master's degree, students should possess a clear desire to help others maintain and improve their close relationships. Because these professionals spend their days counseling others, they should also enjoy spending time with people of different backgrounds and personalities.

To pursue a marriage and family therapy master's degree, students should possess a clear desire to help others maintain and improve their close relationships.

Most marriage and family therapist master's degrees require two years of full-time study or three years of part-time study. Some programs may offer specializations to help degree-seekers focus their knowledge and skills on a particular topic or population.

In addition to completing all required coursework and meeting graduation requirements, every state mandates that prospective marriage and family therapists earn a license to practice. Graduates must complete about two years of supervised clinical experience under a licensed marriage and family therapist.

A master's in marriage and family therapy meets the educational and clinical requirements for licensure, but individuals interested in academic and/or research roles may decide to pursue a doctorate in family counseling.

What Are the Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Programs?

Each marriage and family therapy master's program sets its own admission requirements. Every university requires applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, but some may also require that degree to be in counseling or a related subject.

Other common requirements include a professional statement or letter of purpose, professional and academic recommendation letters, official transcripts, a minimum GPA, and GRE scores. You can learn more in our Graduate Admissions Guide.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

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Advice from a Marriage and Family Therapy Program Graduate

Portrait of Briana Pambakian

Briana Pambakian

Briana Pambakian is an associate marriage and family therapist (AMFT #123149) who graduated with a master's degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University. As a psychotherapist, Briana specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, and dealing with the stress of taking on life roles. She assists with developing healthy coping strategies, creating healthy boundaries, and highlighting strengths for clients to develop their insight.

She has experience working with multiple county contracted mental health agencies. She also currently works as a director of a nonprofit that specializes in caregivers dealing with a family member suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia. Additionally, she works at Heal the Hurt Counseling, a trauma-informed private practice where she works as an associate therapist, supervised by Lara Mekhitarian (LMFT #78395).

As a therapist, she works with individuals, families, and couples, and is currently trained in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing as an added specialty in her practice.

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers

What made you decide to pursue an online master's in clinical psychology?

I chose a master's degree in clinical psychology for a myriad of reasons, the main one being that I want to be the person to provide support for others in an attempt to minimize the stigma of mental health, intergenerational trauma, cyclical abuse, and overall negative attitudes about ourselves.

I specifically chose to pursue the degree online to better handle working full time. Taking on a practicum while being a full-time student and driving to Malibu every day sounded intense.

What advice would you give students considering pursuing a master's in clinical psychology online?

I strongly recommend getting in touch with current students or alumni to get the full details of a program. Asking specific questions about academic requirements as well as the practicum would lead you to a strong advantage.

How did you choose a master's in clinical psychology program? What factors did you consider?

As a mental health professional, I diagnose my patients in a variety of areas and z-codes, so I needed a clinical-based program. Additionally, I wanted a program that would allow me to start my licensure hours prior to graduating, which the practicum allowed me to do.

Another factor is that this degree allows me to use this specific education and knowledge anywhere I'd like. Something too specific may have made me feel limited.

What advice would you give a student trying to determine which master's in clinical psychology program to pursue?

A master's degree is a lot of work. It's definitely a major step up from a bachelor's degree, so answer the following questions honestly to make that determination.

Ask yourself: does this program fully interest me? Do I prefer in-person or online learning? Do the classes sound interesting? Does it allow me to keep my current position or life role? Am I ready to start? Is the university accredited by the American Psychological Association?

What were some of the most interesting courses you took in your program?

I'd say the most interesting course was mental health systems and advocacy. It inspired me to feel as though helping one person can ultimately help an entire community. I'd say the most relevant course was psychopharmacology. There is so much complexity within this field, which is why us clinicians must always be learning.

How has your online degree helped you with your career goals?

The online degree helped me maintain my job. If I went to an in-person school, I probably would've quit just knowing how bad LA traffic is. Thanks to the online platform, I am now a director. It gave me the ability to work my way up in my career while simultaneously excelling in my education.

Is there anything else students should know about pursuing a master's in clinical psychology online?

I get asked a lot if the online experience feels like real school. I'd like to confirm that, yes, it is just as it would be in person. There is a professor who lectures, and there are discussions, breakout groups, group projects, and overall engagement.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to make strong connections with my cohort, who are now colleagues, through a virtual experience.

However, I do want to clarify that online school is not for everyone. It is admittedly much more work. I recommend it for students who are especially disciplined and won't have a show on while in class.

I encourage anyone and everyone to seek higher education in whichever way works for you. You deserve it!

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Program?

Online marriage and family therapy master's programs offer both foundational and advanced therapy and counseling coursework to develop well-rounded graduates who know how to work with clients from diverse backgrounds. Classes vary by program, but we look at a few of the most common options below.

Foundations of Family Therapy

Usually offered in the first year, this course looks at both historical and contemporary approaches to providing family therapy, with an emphasis on contemporary theories and methodologies. Students learn how humans interact and how to help clients solve relational problems.

Fundamentals of Addiction

Addiction plays a role in many familial and relational disputes. This course looks at how addictions affect both the individuals facing them and their loved ones, with an emphasis on how to support both parties.

Diversity and Inclusion

Taking this often-required course provides degree-seekers with the cultural and social awareness needed to provide therapy services to diverse populations. Students consider questions around political and social contexts of treatment and learn how to provide culturally sensitive care.

Research in Marriage and Family Therapy

This course looks at both quantitative and qualitative methods of relational research and data analysis, focusing on both process and outcome approaches and how to apply research data in practical ways.

Family System Development

This course looks at how human growth and development plays a role in relational evolution, focusing on how individual development changes dynamics across the relationship timeline. Students consider factors, such as marriage, divorce, financial considerations, and cultural influences to better understand shifts over time.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree?

After earning an online master's in marriage and family therapy, completing postgraduate supervised hours, and earning a license, you can enter an in-demand field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 16% job growth for marriage and family therapists between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than average.

See where a master's in marriage and family therapy can take you. Learn more about counseling careers.

true Outpatient Services

Many family and marriage therapists get their start in outpatient services and go on to build lasting careers. Whether helping children, teenagers, adults, or seniors, therapists can use their knowledge of counseling techniques in both individual and group settings.

Inpatient Services

Inpatient services include hospitals, long-term care facilities, and inpatient centers for those facing mental health challenges. Working in inpatient services involves both one-on-one and group therapy and may center around shared challenges, such as addiction, abuse, and illness.

Schools and Colleges

Whether working in an elementary school or graduate department, marriage and family therapists can help students and their families work through relational issues. Along with providing therapy, experienced professionals may eventually decide to take on a faculty role at the university level.

Family Services Agencies

Nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and even for-profit companies that work with individuals and communities to provide family services often hire marriage and family therapists. In addition to providing counseling services, some individuals may decide to take on administrative roles managing other therapists.

Private Practice

After working for various organizations and companies for a time, some marriage and family therapists decide to pursue their own practice or join a group practice. By renting a small space, sometimes with other therapists, these individuals can develop a portfolio of clients to whom they offer both individual and family counseling sessions.

Marriage and Family Therapy Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Psychology Careers Behavioral Psychology Career Child and Adolescent Psychology Careers

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

What does a marriage and family therapist do?

Marriage and family therapists work with individuals and groups to resolve conflict and challenges within relationships. They may work specifically with couples or use their skills to help families address challenges in their dynamics.

Is marriage and family therapy a good career?

Marriage and family therapy is a great career for individuals who want to use their understanding of psychology, counseling, group dynamics, and cultural factors to help others repair and improve their relationships. By running a private practice, you can gain more control over your schedule.

How do I become a marriage and family therapist?

Marriage and family therapists must earn at minimum a master's degree to practice. All states also require these professionals to hold licensure. They must complete supervised professional hours during an approved internship or residency.

How much does a marriage and family therapist make with a master's degree?

According to the BLS, marriage and family therapists earned a median annual salary of $51,340 in 2020. Those working in state government positions earned a median annual salary of $78,450, while those in individual and family services made a median salary of $47,590 that year.

What jobs can I get with a master's in marriage and family therapy?

Earning a master's in marriage and family therapy online provides the qualifications needed to offer counseling services across the lifespan. Whether helping a high school student navigate challenges with their siblings or a married or partnered couple sort through relationship troubles, you can serve many people after getting this degree.

How many hours does a marriage and family therapist work?

It can depend on the setting in which the therapist works. Marriage and family therapists often work the standard 40 hours per week. If you plan to start your own private practice, you can gain more control over your working hours.

Learn about some of the fastest-growing jobs that require a master's degree in 2022, including a variety of positions in the healthcare industry. Attending graduate school allows you to conduct research and gain critical skills for your career. Learn about the pros and cons of earning a graduate degree. BestColleges has created a guide for future graduate students to keep track of deadlines and get tips on submitting the best school applications.

BestColleges.com 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.

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