Accredited Online Marriage & Family Therapy Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 7/7/2022

Marriage and family therapy is a way for couples and groups of people to tackle life's most complex problems. Counselors and therapists — who have obtained their bachelor's in marriage and family therapy — look at ways to solve issues involving well-being and safety, such as abusive relationships and mental health disorders. 

Prospective online students with career aspirations to become a marriage or family therapist should look at a variety of ways to earn a degree and achieve licensure. For example, some students begin by earning a counseling degree with a concentration in social services before moving to an online master's program in marriage and family therapy

To start the journey, take a look at the best online bachelor's in marriage and family therapy. View our methodology for more details about our list or learn more about OnlineU.

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Most Popular Degrees

School Online Enrollment Annual Tuition Acceptance Rate
Southern New Hampshire University Online 106,375 106,375 $9,600 $9,600 78.0% 78.0%
Arizona State University 44,253 $24,413 76.1%
Brigham Young University - Idaho 17,448 $4,208 94.8%
Lamar University 8,372 $18,622 81.7%
Texas Woman's University 4,265 $18,055 85.7%
Eastern Kentucky University 3,573 $19,948 87.4%
Utah Valley University 3,274 $16,570 NA
University of Colorado Denver 2,574 $25,823 65.2%
Campbellsville University 1,857 $25,400 68.6%
Abilene Christian University 1,424 $36,300 58.1%
Southern Utah University 1,227 $20,586 75.8%
Mercer University 1,110 $37,808 73.3%
McNeese State University 802 $16,140 62.2%
Houston Baptist University 707 $33,450 69.0%
Southern Wesleyan University 628 $25,516 52.6%
Madonna University 615 $23,100 74.3%
Hope International University 562 $33,400 28.4%
Trinity International University - Illinois 150 $33,028 75.0%
Geneva College 133 $28,190 69.0%
Corban University 115 $33,040 33.0%
Arizona Christian University 109 $27,890 64.4%

Southern New Hampshire University Online

  • Annual Tuition: $9,600
  • Locations: Manchester (NH)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Online's large, public institution offers a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services - Child and Family Services. This online degree prepares students to evaluate the needs of struggling individuals and groups while applying the appropriate legal, social, political, and historical perspectives. The concentration in child and family services focuses on relationship-building through courses such as Child Growth and Cognitive Development, Family and Community Systems, and Role and Impact of Trauma on Children and Families. This program also prepares students for a master's in psychology, where they can work their way towards a career as a case manager, child-focused advocate, or family services specialist.

SNHU's bachelor's degree in human services requires 120 credits, and students can take the entire program online with a flexible schedule. At a full-time pace, they can graduate within four years. SNHU uses Brightspace for their online coursework. Additionally, SNHU offers student support services such as academic advising.

Arizona State University

  • Annual Tuition: $24,413
  • Locations: Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Arizona State University (ASU) is a large, public institution with a Bachelor of Science in Family and Human Development. Students dive deep into the issues facing child development and family relationships using theoretical and practical applications. Graduates may decide to pursue a career as a family and marriage therapist but will need additional education to do so. This program, however, does include relevant coursework such as Modern Family Relationships, Family Ethnic and Cultural Diversity, and Childhood Disorders and Family Functioning. Future career opportunities for bachelor's holders include guidance counselor, social services director, or mental health counselor.

This is a 120-credit degree that uses LearnX as its primary distance learning software. Students can finish all courses online in four years on a full-time schedule. ASU offers academic and career advising, technical support, and counseling services.

Brigham Young University - Idaho

  • Annual Tuition: $4,208
  • Locations: Rexburg (ID)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

The Bachelor of Science in Marriage & Family Studies from Brigham Young University (BYU) - Idaho is an accelerated degree centered around learning conflict resolution skills and understanding relationship dynamics. Coursework includes Family Relations, General Psychology, and four religion-focused classes, among others. Students must also complete a family studies internship consisting of up to four credits, as well as choose a certificate in Child and Family Advocacy, Human Services, or Parent and Family Education. Graduates may enter careers as a child and family advocate, case worker, or probation officer.

BYU - Idaho is a large, nonprofit university offering students access to mentorship and advising. This bachelor's degree consists of 120 credits, and with a full-time schedule, students can expect to graduate in four years. BYU's online school uses Canvas for all classes, except the required experiential internship.

Lamar University

  • Annual Tuition: $18,622
  • Locations: Beaumont (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Lamar University offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Family Studies that focuses on maintaining and strengthening family relationships through research-based practices. Coursework includes Historical Context of Families, Community Resources, and The Whole Child. All 120 credits can be completed online through Blackboard LMS in four years on a full-time schedule.

LU is a medium-sized, public university offering a digital library and technology support for all online students. Upon graduation, students may look into careers in family wellness, community services, or family intervention.

Texas Woman's University

  • Annual Tuition: $18,055
  • Locations: Denton (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Texas Woman's University (TWU) is a medium-sized, public institution with counseling, psychological, and legal services for online students. The Bachelor of Science in Family Studies from TWU looks at the complexity of family relationships through socioeconomics. Students take courses in Development of Infants and Toddlers, Research Methods in Family Sciences, and Crisis in the American Family.

Most of the 120 credits can be taken online through Canvas LMS over the course of four years on a full-time schedule. There is an in-person practicum that requires supervised work with a family services organization. Graduates may pursue careers in outreach agencies, adult and child protection services, or adoption and foster care agencies.

Eastern Kentucky University

  • Annual Tuition: $19,948
  • Locations: Richmond (KY)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Eastern Kentucky University's (EKU) is a medium-sized, public institution that offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Child and Family Psychology. This concentration helps prepare students for licensure in a clinical career as a family or child therapist. Meanwhile, EKU's Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies is an online program that emphasizes early childhood development studies in a family context. Some of the core courses include Interaction and Guidance, Family Involvement with Young Children, and Child Development: Conception-Eight Years. Two in-person practicum experiences are also required.

To obtain EKU's bachelor's in child and family studies, students are required to complete 120 to 125 total credits through the Blackboard learning system. This is a four-year program, which students take on a full-time schedule. Additionally, EKU offers career advising that may lead to work as a child development program director or social services worker.

Utah Valley University

  • Annual Tuition: $16,570
  • Locations: Orem (UT)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Utah Valley University (UVU) is a large, public institution offering a Bachelor of Science in Family Science. This online program focuses on family dynamics and systems, and it also delves into human development, family law, and marriage. Specific coursework includes Marriage and Relationship Skills, Ethics for Family Interventions, and Teaching Human Sexuality. UVU also offers technology support and career advising, where students can explore work as program administrators or case workers.

A two-credit internship is required, while the remaining courses can be taken online through Canvas, a learning management system. The program is flexible, giving students the ability to work while they study. In four years, students can typically complete the required 120 credits.

University of Colorado Denver

  • Annual Tuition: $25,823
  • Locations: Denver (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Relations from the University of Colorado (UC) Denver is a fully online program through Canvas that explores diverse family relationships through the lens of culture. To graduate, students must finish 120 credits — including courses in love, family, and human development, Black and Latino children in families and schools, and family systems and social justice. This is a full-time program, which may take up to four years to complete on a full-time schedule.

UC Denver is a medium-sized, public institution with support services for online students, such as digital writing centers and libraries, academic advisors, and student success coaches.

Campbellsville University

  • Annual Tuition: $25,400
  • Locations: Campbellsville (KY)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Campbellsville University's (CU) Bachelor of Science in Marriage and Family Ministry is a four-year, online program that looks at the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of complex relationships through the lens of Christianity. Because of the heavy emphasis on religious studies — with courses such as Pastoral Care and Counseling as well as Innovative Educational Ministries — this program will likely not be sufficient for students who wish to pursue a professional therapy or psychology license. However, it will be suitable for those interested in a career as a marriage and family minister, lead pastor, or coordinator of marriage and family ministries.

CU is a medium-sized university that has tech support and online advisors for their remote students. CU uses Engrade for online coursework, which consists of 120 credits for this bachelor's degree and may take four years to complete.

Abilene Christian University

  • Annual Tuition: $36,300
  • Locations: Abilene (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Abilene Christian University (ACU) is a medium-sized, nonprofit institution offering a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services, with a concentration in child life as well as a general education concentration. The program as a whole looks at research and theory surrounding child and family services from the perspective of Christianity. To graduate, 120 credit hours are required, including coursework in Parenting and Family Skills, Family Communication, and Family Crises and Resiliency.

A 120-hour supervised practicum is required in addition to the coursework through Canvas. Students who study at a full- time pace can graduate in approximately four years. Career advancement opportunities may include adoption counselor, childcare director, or youth services coordinator. ACU offers students academic, career, and spiritual resources.

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Overview of Online Marriage & Family Therapy Degrees

While only degrees at the master's and doctoral level qualify an individual to work as a licensed therapist, there are programs at the undergraduate level that allow an individual to earn a degree that will prepare them to work with children and families in other social service settings. At the associate level, a student could complete a degree which prepares them to move on to bachelor's and eventually master's level work as a therapist. They could also use their degree to find work as a paraprofessional in various areas, such as within the foster care system or at intervention centers. Bachelor's level students will be able to move on to master's level study in marriage and family therapy, and may find work in various positions as community managers or child advocates. Master's level graduates can pursue licensure as a marriage and family therapists, as can PhD graduates. PhD graduates can also go into teaching at the university level or research.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Marriage & Family Therapy

Like the associate degree, a bachelor's is not enough to become a licensed marriage and family therapist, and there are no fully online degree programs specifically in marriage and family therapy. However, an individual wishing to become a therapist must first earn their bachelor's degree before moving on to a master's, and there are online bachelor's programs that can better prepare the aspiring marriage and family therapist for graduate work. Individuals looking to pursue this type of degree program may be interested in earning their bachelor's in something like psychology with an emphasis in child advocacy, behavioral health science with an emphasis in family dynamics, or family and human development. Admission to one of these programs will require a high school diploma or GED, and applicants usually must also submit an admissions essay. A bachelor's degree generally takes four years and 120 semester credit hours to complete, and can be found at colleges and universities across the country. Depending on the specific program students can expect to take part in coursework such as ethics of behavioral health sciences, marriage and family ethical and legal issues, lifespan development and psychology, social psychology, human development, and marriage and family relationships. Upon completing their degree, graduates will be prepared to enter a master's program in marriage and family therapy. They will also be qualified to work in such positions as child advocate, case manager, community manager, behavioral health technician, and other social service careers.

The Importance of Accreditation

When choosing a marriage and family therapy program one factor to consider is the school's accreditation. Regional accreditation is the first type of accreditation to look for in a school. Regional accreditation means that an independent agency had evaluated the school and made sure that it meets a certain set of standards. This accreditation is important for a variety of reasons, such as the fact that federal financial aid will only apply to regionally accredited schools, and credit transfers are much easier if they are made between accredited institutions.

Another type of accreditation to look at is program accreditation. The Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) is the group that oversees marriage and family therapy degree accreditation. If a program has COAMFTE accreditation it means that an independent organization has evaluated the program and determined that it meets a set of high standards. Students who enroll in one of these programs can be assured that they are receiving an education that will prepare them for their future career. Additionally, some states require that a marriage and family therapist have a degree from a COAMFTE-accredited institution in order to obtain a license, which is another reason to choose a program that has this accreditation.

Marriage and Family Therapy Licensing

In order to work as a marriage and family therapist an individual must receive licensure. Each state will have its own requirements for licensure, so aspiring therapists will need to check on the specific requirements for the state they wish to practice in. However, there are some general guidelines that many states stick to. First of all, a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy must be obtained. Some states require that this degree be earned through a COAMFTE-accredited school. Even in the states that don't require this accreditation level for licensure, having a degree from a COAMFTE-accredited school might still make the licensure process easier, as an individual may not need as many supervised practice hours post-graduation. During their degree program students will need to complete an internship. In addition to a degree, those seeking licensure will need to accumulate a certain number of supervised clinical hours after that have graduated, typically two years of full-time work. There will also be an examination that the individual must pass in order to earn their license. There will also likely be a continuing education requirement in order to keep the license up-to-date.

Careers in Marriage and Family Therapy

Those who get a degree in marriage and family therapy typically become mental health professionals that work specifically with couples and families. They help these groups deal with issues such as addiction, lack of self-esteem, stress, mental health disorder, and other problems. They also work with individuals and tackle problems with a family-centered perspective, addressing the person's relationships and their own actions. On a day-to-day basis, they will meet with their patients and create plans for treatment. As most marriage and family therapists work within a private practice, they will also spend time advertising their practice and dealing with other business needs. Professionals who have received a PhD can go on to teach at the university level and conduct their own research.

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