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2022 Best Marriage and Family Therapy Degrees Online

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 11/15/2022
2022 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Marriage & Family Therapy Badge

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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Online Marriage & Family Therapy Bachelor's Degrees You May Be Interested In


List Of Accredited Online Marriage & Family Therapy Schools

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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What Is Marriage and Family Therapy?

For those who want to make a difference for the families and children in their community, becoming a marriage and family therapist may be an excellent career choice. However, this occupation requires a master's degree in marriage and family therapy (MFT), so students may wonder what they should study as an undergraduate. One option is a bachelor's degree in MFT, which can also lead to careers in community service.

Couples and families who are struggling with issues — from poor communication to behavioral problems to significant health problems or loss — often seek couples therapy or family counseling from mental health professionals. Many prefer to work with licensed marriage and family therapists who have been specially trained to provide therapeutic guidance that helps people replace unhealthy beliefs and behaviors with healthy, productive approaches. To be effective in this role, therapists must have well-developed listening and communication skills, plus the ability to demonstrate compassion and empathy.

Most marriage and family therapists work in private practice, but they can also be found in hospitals and mental health treatment centers. Some therapists work evenings and weekends to accommodate their clients' schedules. They may work with individuals, couples, or family groups.

All states require marriage and family therapists to be licensed. Licensure requirements usually include a master's in marriage and family therapy or counseling, 2,000-4,000 hours of supervised clinical practice, and a passing score on a state exam. A bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for a master's degree, although the undergraduate degree can be in MFT, counseling, psychology, or other related fields.

Online Bachelor's in Marriage and Family Therapy Degrees

MFT degree programs go by many names. Most are Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees, but the degree name could be family studies, family science, human development and family relationships, or something similar.

Like most undergraduate degrees, a bachelor's degree in marriage and family therapy typically requires the completion of 120-126 credit hours. Full-time students usually complete a bachelor's program in four to five years, while part-time students may need a little longer.

About half of the courses in an online MFT program will be general education courses, while the other half will focus on the major. Some programs also require at least one internship or practicum, and a few also require some type of capstone project. Admission requirements for a marriage and family therapy program may include a 3.0 or higher GPA in high school, strong letters of recommendation, and a persuasive personal essay.

In general, marriage and family coursework is structured to help graduates understand family relationships and marriage, as well as human development across the lifespan, cultural diversity, and child socialization. One of the primary objectives of these programs is to prepare graduates to work in service-oriented organizations where they can assist families in pursuing wellness, preventing conflict, and dealing with common life challenges in effective ways.

Courses in an Online Bachelor's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy

Online bachelor's programs in marriage and family therapy include a diverse array of courses. Some introduce students to human services by looking at community resources and case management, while others provide background information such as nutrition and the historical context of marriage and family. At the core of every program, however, are several psychology courses focused on children, adolescents, and adults, including:

Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Families

Today's families take many forms, including single-parent, multigenerational, LGBTQ+, and blended families. This course explores family systems and common family life issues from a variety of historical, cultural, and demographic perspectives.

Human Development

This course looks at how individuals grow and develop from conception through consecutive life stages and finally to death. Coursework covers topics such as personality, emotion, behavior, human sexuality, and communication patterns, particularly among family members.

Modern Family Relationships and Issues

In this course, students are introduced to the science behind the stages of family development, including dating, cohabitation, marriage, child-rearing, and retirement. Coursework also addresses some of the many issues families may face, such as divorce, financial hardship, and substance abuse.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor's in Marriage and Family Therapy Cost?

The total cost of earning an online marriage and family therapy degree varies dramatically. Typical annual tuition fees for MFT bachelor's programs range from approximately $4,400-$38,800. Although online students do not have to pay for room and board or for transportation to and from school, they will need to pay for books, supplies, and other fees.

Eligible students may be able to help fund their college degrees by receiving financial aid from the federal or state government or from the schools they attend. Online learners may also apply for private scholarships available to students enrolled in mental health and counseling programs.

What Can You Do With a Marriage and Family Therapy Bachelor's Degree?

Graduates with bachelor's in marriage and family therapy are equipped to work in community service. Marriage and family therapy jobs, however, typically require candidates to have a master's degree in MFT, counseling, social work, or a similar subject.

Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers

Annual Median Salary:  $48,860
Job Growth Rate: 17%

Community health workers typically work with members of a specific group or who have a specific condition or illness. They work with individuals, educating them on health issues and providing informal counseling and support. Community health workers also collect data, help identify the needs of the community they serve, and report findings to social service and health care providers.

Social and Community Service Managers

Annual Median Salary:  $74,000
Job Growth Rate: 15%

Social and community service managers typically work for government-funded or nonprofit agencies where they oversee programs geared toward a particular demographic, such as children or people experiencing homelessness. Some of their administrative duties include managing outreach activities, developing educational programs, analyzing data on their program's efficacy, and implementing improvements to their program.

High School Teachers

Annual Median Salary:  $61,820
Job Growth Rate: 8%

MFT degree holders may be interested in working with high school students as life skills teachers. Teachers design and implement lesson plans that help students develop essential skills, such as basic financial management, food preparation, and housekeeping, as well as soft skills like active listening and problem-solving. Life skills teachers can also be found working with younger children and adults. Regardless of class level, you will probably need a teaching credential in addition to your bachelor's degree to work as a teacher.

What to Look for in an Online Marriage and Family Therapy Program

When you're determining which program is the best online bachelor's in marriage and family therapy program for your needs and goals, there are many factors to take into account. Besides cost, some other important considerations regarding an online degree include the following:

Accreditation

Is the school accredited by an approved agency? To check, use the databases provided by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education. Accreditation is important because enrollment in an accredited school is required for you to be eligible for federal financial aid, and it may be required to transfer credits to another school or for acceptance into graduate school. 

Location

Does the college or university's location matter to you? If you're studying online, this may not be an important consideration. However, you may want to consider the school's location as it relates to resident and nonresident tuition fees.

Faculty and Staff

Are the online marriage and family therapy program's faculty members experienced practitioners? Studying with a combination of academics and practicing professionals may give you both the scientific grounding and practical knowledge you need. These instructors and other staff members may become mentors or members of your professional network.

Online Program Format

Does the program's online format work for you? Some online MFT programs feature asynchronous courses, meaning that you complete assignments on your own time as long as you meet the deadlines. Other programs, however, feature synchronous courses, which require you to join in virtual class meetings at designated times. Choose a format that fits with your schedule and personal learning preferences.

Student Services

Does the school offer resources, such as career coaching, for online students? If you're considering an online program, you may want to confirm that these resources are available to you before enrolling.

Questions About Online Bachelor's Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy

How Much Do Marriage and Family Therapists Make?


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual marriage and family therapist salary was $49,880 as of May 2021. Those who work for state governments tend to earn higher salaries, with a 2021 median of $77,960.

Is Marriage and Family Therapy a Good Career?


Marriage and family therapy can be a rewarding career for those who enjoy talking with and offering guidance to others. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy reports that the majority of MFT clients find this type of therapy to be very effective in improving relationships and would recommend counseling to a friend. Many therapists find fulfillment in knowing they've made a significant difference in others' lives.

Is a Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Worth It?


If your objective is to become a marriage and family therapist, you must earn a master's or doctoral degree in this subject or in counseling psychology or a related mental health field to become a licensed, certified practitioner. Earning a bachelor's degree in marriage and family therapy is a smart first step toward becoming a therapist, although you could also earn a bachelor's degree in counseling or psychology.

What Does a Marriage and Family Therapist Do?


Marriage and family therapists help clients improve their relationships with their spouses, life partners, family members, and others. They often counsel couples and families, but even when they're working with individuals, they typically focus on helping clients modify their beliefs and behaviors as a means of enhancing their relationships. They may also help clients find additional resources and services to support their goals.

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