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Degree-seekers interested in pursuing a master's in marriage and family therapy can review this guide to learn more about potential opportunities in the field. The guide includes a list of the best marriage and family therapy programs of 2020, common courses in marriage and family therapy programs, concentration opportunities, admission requirements, and potential career paths.

What Are the Best Marriage and Family Therapy Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
2 Concordia University-Wisconsin Mequon, WI
3 Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX
4 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA
5 Brandman University Irvine, CA

Earning a master's degree in marriage and family therapy prepares many degree-seekers to work as marriage and family therapists after graduation. That said, some graduates pursue careers as school counselors, substance abuse counselors, career counselors, and mental health counselors.

Marriage and family therapists currently have the highest employment levels and concentration of jobs in California. Additionally, they earn the highest average wages in Hawaii.

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2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

Rank School Location Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Graduation Rate: 50%

An evangelical Christian institution in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty began offering distance learning by correspondence and VHS before the internet allowed for online degree delivery. Today, Liberty offers more than 75 online master's degrees.

Students can earn Liberty's master of arts in marriage and family therapy mostly online. In addition to online coursework, the program requires two on-campus intensives and a hands-on practicum that students can complete close to their home. The program balances psychological, spiritual, and ethics training, featuring courses such as human sexuality, substance abuse, and advanced couples and marital counseling.

Liberty is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Tuition: $565 per credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2.5 years
Format: Online with two on-campus intensives
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.7 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

2

Concordia University-Wisconsin

Mequon, WI Graduation Rate: 59%

A Lutheran university in Mequon, Wisconsin, CUW was founded in 1881 as a small high school and junior college. Today, the university offers more than 70 majors and has more than 8,000 annual enrollees.

CUW's online master of science in family life trains students to educate and guide families through life challenges from a Christian perspective. Students develop counseling skills through courses such as marriage and family relations, individual counseling, and human sexuality. Participants also complete 120 practicum hours while taking their classes. Possible career fields for graduates include social work and family therapy.

CUW is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Family Life
School Status: Private
Tuition: $630 per credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

3

Abilene Christian University

Abilene, TX Graduation Rate: 67%

A Christian university in Abilene, Texas, ACU boasts alumni who have become congresswomen, Supreme Court justices, and Broadway actors.

Students in the school's master of marriage and family therapy program combine an online study curriculum with 500 practical internship hours. The program offers four tracks for specialization: child and adolescent therapy, medical family therapy, trauma treatment, and a general track. Courses like family theory, cultural diversity in family therapy, and systemic diagnosis and assessment prepare students for their field.

ACU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Tuition: $825 per course credit; $470 per internship credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 33 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE requirement waived for 2021

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

4

Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, CA Graduation Rate: 50%

A Jewish institution based in Los Alamitos, California, TUW was founded as an online learning institution in 1998. It forms a part of the wider Touro College and University System and seeks to reach students that might not have access to traditional campus-based higher education.

The school's master's in marriage and family therapy program takes a holistic, team-based approach to mental healthcare. It focuses on looking at families as systems, practical problem-solving (versus psychoanalysis), and the role of relationships in mental health issues. Students choose from three tracks: clinical, nonclinical, and licensed professional clinical counseling. Courses cover topics such as marital dysfunction, substance abuse, and eating disorders. The nonclinical track does not include any practicum or clinical hours.

TUW is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Tuition: $500 per credit
Credit Requirements: 54-82 credits, depending on degree track
Program Length: 18 months to 5 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

5

Brandman University

Irvine, CA Graduation Rate: 0%

Based in Irvine, California, many Brandman faculty concurrently work in their fields of expertise, offering timely, real-world insights to students. The school boasts diverse and international students from varied backgrounds.

Led by clinical experts, the online master's in marriage and family therapy program features a career-focused curriculum. Graduates meet licensure requirements in 41 states. Classes include clinical issues in human diversity, psychopharmacology, and assessment and treatment of substance abuse. Participants also complete nine credits of practicum classes.

Brandman is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Tuition: $670 per credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required, or 2.5 minimum with acceptable GRE/GMAT scores
Standardized Tests: GRE/GMAT scores required with a GPA of 2.5-2.99

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Program Overview

Master's programs in marriage and family therapy may differ in terms of their course requirements. However, in general, students must complete core and concentration coursework, a residency, and a practicum or internship.

Most students pursuing a master's degree in marriage and family therapy plan on pursuing careers as therapists after they graduate. Programs prepare students to complete the marriage and family therapy licensing process after graduation — all marriage and family therapists must hold licensure.

Common Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Courses

Foundations of Couple and Family Therapy

Students in this class are introduced to the marriage and family therapy career path and theories behind the profession. Degree-seekers review the philosophy and history of marriage and family therapy, and they examine various therapeutic skills needed in the discipline.

Professional Ethics in Marriage and Family Therapy

Students review the ethical and legal responsibilities of marriage and family therapy and learn about the licensing requirements they must satisfy after graduation. Learners explore the impact of a therapist's values and culture, as related to clinical practice.

Family Therapy Theory and Methods

This course covers the major theories of family therapy, looking at the family as a system that influences and is influenced by individuals living within that system.

Research Methods in Marriage and Family Therapy

Students evaluate the complexities of data collection, analysis, and family research design. Coursework prepares learners to understand scales of measurement, experimental and non-experimental designs, and approaches to incorporating clinical research with practice.

Diversity and Social Justice in Systemic Family Therapy

Learners review research, theories, and models that focus on ethical, culturally aware clinical work and social justice advocacy.

Related Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Concentrations

Military Family Therapy

Students in this concentration consider the unique structures and challenges of military families and military culture. The concentration explores post-traumatic stress disorder, repeated deployments and their impact on a military family, substance abuse, and emotional and physical trauma.

General Family Therapy

Degree-seekers focus on broad topics in family therapy, preparing to work in global and multicultural environments. Graduates can go on to work as clinicians, supervisors, researchers, and academic professionals.

Couples Therapy

Degree-seekers pursuing this concentration explore infidelity, communication, substance abuse, and impending divorce. Throughout their coursework, students learn about methods and tools to help clients.

Child and Adolescent Therapy

This concentration teaches students how to deliver culturally informed, evidence-based, contextually sensitive, and developmentally appropriate therapy services to children and adolescents in need.

Systemic Leadership

This concentration prepares graduates for leadership roles across a variety of settings, particularly in public and nonprofit community organizations. Students focus on ethical decision-making and promote conscientious company cultures.

Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate Transcripts

    Students interested in applying to a master's program in marriage and family therapy must provide their undergraduate transcripts. Some institutions might require applicants to complete a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as social work, counseling, or psychology. Alternatively, other institutions might simply require a bachelor's degree in any discipline.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Many master's programs require applicants to provide letters of recommendation with their application. Typically, institutions require 1-3 letters written by educational and/or professional contacts.

  • Statement of Purpose/Essay

    Applicants to master's programs are often asked to submit an essay or a statement of purpose. This document requires learners to explain their professional and educational goals and how obtaining a master's degree in marriage and family therapy from the institution in question will help them find success.

  • GRE Test Scores

    Many master's programs in marriage and family therapy ask applicants to submit these scores so they can get a holistic idea of a student's competencies and skills. Minimum test scores vary depending on the college or university.

  • Resume

    Although professional experience is not typically a requirement when pursuing a master's degree in marriage and family therapy, applicants may be asked to submit their resume so the admissions office can get an idea of relevant experience, skills, and competencies a candidate might already possess.


Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Career Paths

Most students who pursue a master's in marriage and family therapy graduate with the intention of pursuing careers as marriage and family therapists. A master's degree is required for individuals to pursue these careers.

After earning a master's degree, individuals can develop hands-on experience in the field through clinical components, such as an internship or residency. Every state in the nation requires marriage and family therapists to hold licensure and 2,000-4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience after earning a master's degree.

Additionally, candidates for licensure must complete an exam specific to their state, and all marriage and family therapists are responsible for maintaining their license by completing continuing education requirements.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Marriage and family therapists must hold a master's degree before they can practice professionally. The median annual pay for this occupation is $50,090, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of these jobs will grow by 22% from 2018-2028 — much faster than the average growth rate for all jobs in the U.S. Some of the highest-paying states for marriage and family therapists include Hawaii, Maine, Colorado, New Jersey, and Utah.

Is marriage and family therapy a good career?

Professionals pursuing marriage and family therapy job opportunities can experience a variety of benefits. Industries with the highest levels of employment in the occupation include individual and family services and offices of other health practitioners. Professionals looking for the highest-paying opportunities can seek opportunities working for state government agencies.

What does a marriage and family therapist do?

Marriage and family therapists use a variety of resources and tools to aid their clients, encouraging them to discuss their thoughts and emotions. They may be responsible for helping clients effectively process difficult changes, such as losing a job or going through a divorce.

How many hours does a marriage and family therapist work?

Typically working 40-hour work weeks, marriage and family therapists may also work on weekends and during evening hours to accommodate their clients' schedules. Thirty percent of marriage and family therapists work in individual and family services, while 20% work in the offices of other health practitioners. The other 50% work in various employment settings, such as outpatient care centers and state government agencies. Workers may also be self-employed.

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

While most graduates who hold a master's degree in marriage and family therapy pursue careers as marriage and family therapists, graduates can also explore career opportunities in other areas of counseling, like substance abuse and mental health.

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Additional Reading and Resources

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