Guide to Online Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Programs

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 8/28/2020
Quick Facts
Accreditation: AAMFT, COAMFTE
Average Tuition: $24,831
Average Salary: $75,085

There are many online marriage and family therapy degrees available, including programs that focus on human development, human services, and psychology. Marriage and family therapy involves the study of individuals and groups, and how to best go about helping people with various life issues using a perspective that centers on family and relationships. Those who get a master's or PhD in marriage and family therapy can go on to become licensed therapists, where they will work daily with clients of various backgrounds dealing with a range of issues, from abuse to a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression.

Students pursuing degrees in marriage and family therapy should look for programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, the predominant accrediting body for marriage and family therapy degrees. Attending accredited programs will ensure that students are receiving high quality educations that will put them on the best path for further educational or career options in the field.

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Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Marriage & Family Therapy Bachelor's Degrees

Visitors to our site are most interested in these schools
Rank School Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
# 1 #1 Purdue University Global $14,343 63% (283 reviews)
241 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
241 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • BS in Human Services - Youth/Family Services and Administ...
# 2 #2 Southern New Hampshire University Online $9,600 63% (386 reviews)
290 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
290 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • BA Human Services - Child and Family Services
# 3 #3 Arizona State University $23,483 69% (103 reviews)
256 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
256 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • BS in Family and Human Development
# 4 #4 Grand Canyon University $17,050 52% (483 reviews)
275 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
275 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • BS in Behavioral Health Science - Family Dynamics
# 5 #5 Walden University Not Provided 49% (562 reviews)
643 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
643 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • BS in Human Services - Self-Designed
# 6 #6 Eastern Kentucky University $19,444 33% (3 reviews)
127 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
127 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • BS in Child and Family Studies
  • BS in Psychology - Child and Family Psychology
# 7 #7 Geneva College $27,230 Add Review
17 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
17 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Child and Family Serv...
# 8 #8 Florida Tech-Online $16,128 65% (78 reviews)
96 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
96 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • BA Applied Psychology - Child Advocacy
# 9 #9 Lamar University $18,333 50% (14 reviews)
66 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
66 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Family Studies
# 10 #10 Abilene Christian University $34,850 100% (1 review)
90 Programs, 3 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
90 Programs, 3 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • BS: Child and Family Services
  • BS: Child and Family Services - Child Life
  • BS: Child and Family Services - General
# 11 #11 Calvary University $11,164 Add Review
103 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
103 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Biblical Counseling: Marriage & Family (Bachelor's)
# 12 #12 Texas Woman's University $17,756 100% (2 reviews)
86 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
86 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Family Studies
# 13 #13 University of Colorado Denver $25,771 100% (2 reviews)
137 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
137 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Relat...
# 14 #14 Hope International University $33,400 100% (2 reviews)
81 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
81 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • BS in Human Development - Family Studies
# 15 #15 McNeese State University $15,898 100% (1 review)
37 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
37 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology - Family Science
# 16 #16 Southern Wesleyan University $25,476 Add Review
43 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
43 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Services - Marriage and Fami...
# 17 #17 Arizona Christian University $26,796 Add Review
25 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
25 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Arts in Family Studies - Marriage and Family
# 18 #18 Bethel University - IN $28,590 Add Review
28 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
28 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral and Social Science - Ma...
# 19 #19 Brigham Young University-Idaho $4,118 100% (6 reviews)
54 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
54 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • B.S. in Marriage & Family Studies (Accelerated)
# 20 #20 Corban University $33,040 100% (1 review)
21 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
21 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Family Studies
# 21 #21 Houston Baptist University $32,530 100% (1 review)
48 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
48 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Marriage and Family Studies
# 22 #22 Idaho State University $22,940 Add Review
57 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
57 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science Secondary Education - Family Consumer...
# 23 #23 Madonna University $21,900 Add Review
43 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
43 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences
# 24 #24 Mercer University $36,894 Add Review
56 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
56 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Services - Family Services
# 25 #25 Utah Valley University $16,296 50% (2 reviews)
32 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy (view all)
32 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Family Science

Online Marriage & Family Therapy Degree Overview & Career Information

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.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.