2020 Best Online Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT) Master's Programs

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 2/26/2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Marriage & Family Therapy Badge

This list highlights the 10 best value colleges offering online master's programs in marriage and family therapy. Pepperdine University is ranked #1, offering a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology - Marriage and Family Therapy for $49,135 per year. Graduates of the school reported a median salary of $116,194. Houston Baptist University, ranked #2 on the list, costs $10,350 annually for an online Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Marriage & Family. Alumni reported earning an average mid-career salary of $91,800.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Pepperdine University $49,135 $116,194
# 2 #2 Houston Baptist University $10,350 $91,800
# 3 #3 Lamar University $6,600 $88,700
# 4 #4 Abilene Christian University $18,150 $81,300
# 5 #5 Regent University Online $17,850 $68,014
# 6 #6 Harding University $17,504 $65,100
# 7 #7 Amridge University $11,475 $59,300
# 8 #8 Liberty University $11,300 $54,300
# 9 #9 Prescott College $27,120 $56,500
# 10 #10 University of West Alabama $14,157 $49,900
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Marriage & Family Therapy Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 Pepperdine University

  • Annual Tuition: $49,135
  • Median Salary: $116,194
  • Locations: Malibu (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy program at Pepperdine University teaches students the skills necessary to pursue the licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) credential. Students in this program complete coursework online and fulfill the clinical training portion at locations convenient to them. Pepperdine graduates have the skills necessary to help individuals, couples, and families cope with a variety of life’s challenges, including conflict, divorce, mental illness, trauma, addictive behavior, and substance abuse. The online marriage and family therapy program, which includes 62–68 units of coursework and four sessions of fieldwork, can be completed in as little as two years.

#2 Houston Baptist University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,350
  • Median Salary: $91,800
  • Locations: Houston (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling degree at Houston Baptist University offers a concentration in marriage and family. This program provides students with the academic training needed to help others cope with challenges in life. The curriculum of this online marriage and family therapy program has a Christian focus with a solid mix of psychology, social work, and sociology. Students choose electives in subjects such as human sexuality, gender issues, and premarital counseling to learn theories and techniques they can apply to their practices serving a diverse range of clients.

#3 Lamar University

  • Annual Tuition: $6,600
  • Median Salary: $88,700
  • Locations: Beaumont (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Lamar University is a member of the Texas State University system. Its online Master of Education in Counseling and Development – Marriage, Couple, and Family program teaches the advanced skills needed for counselors to build an evidence-based practice. Coursework covers topics in family life, intergenerational influences, legal principles, ethics, professional conduct, mental health, and more. The 60-credit marriage and family therapy program can be completed in as few as 30 months and includes a residency, a 15-week practicum, and a 15-week internship.

#4 Abilene Christian University

  • Annual Tuition: $18,150
  • Median Salary: $81,300
  • Locations: Abilene (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program at Abilene Christian University is designed for counseling professionals who seek to help families and couples cope with challenges and obstacles in their relationships. The 60-credit marriage and family therapy program teaches Christian-based principles that counselors can apply to serving their clients in a variety of clinical or medical environments, including secular settings. Completion of this online graduate program will enable students to take the Marriage and Family Therapy national certification exam.

#5 Regent University Online

  • Annual Tuition: $17,850
  • Median Salary: $68,014
  • Locations: Virginia Beach (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online Master of Arts in Human Services – marriage & family ministry program at Regent University is designed for individuals seeking to advance their professional skills in couples and family counseling. The Christian-centered curriculum of this online marriage and family therapy program focuses on the science, theories, and techniques that will help educate and empower families as well as protect children. The graduate coursework combines lectures presented by award-winning faculty members, as well as small discussion groups, podcasts, and chat rooms. A master's degree in marriage, couple & family counseling is also available online. This program prepares students to provide mental and emotional support to people through careers in advocacy, therapy, and community leadership. Students interested in learning how to apply theories of psychology to counseling can pursue an online master's in psychology- marriage & family therapy through Regent.

#6 Harding University

  • Annual Tuition: $17,504
  • Median Salary: $65,100
  • Locations: Searcy (AR)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Harding University offers an online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy degree through the university’s Department of Mental Health and Wellness. The marriage and family therapy program requires students to complete 67 credits to graduate and is offered as a full-time cohort experience where students progress through their degree with a set group of peers. The program has one start date per year in August. The degree program includes 500 hours of face-to-face counseling and therapy with clients, 100 hours of faculty supervision, and an internship. The curriculum explores topics including family structure and dynamics, family violence, sexual abuse, and substance-related issues. Students who meet all degree requirements will be able to pursue LMFT or LPC licensure in their state. Applicants must submit official transcripts as well as official test results from the MAT or GRE. Three letters of recommendation and a current resume are also required.

#7 Amridge University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,475
  • Median Salary: $59,300
  • Locations: Montgomery (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Amridge University offers two options for students seeking an online master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy is a 60-credit program designed to prepare students for licensure in marriage and family therapy in their state. The degree can be completed in as little as seven semesters, and students can enroll either part-time or full-time. The school also offers a Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Therapy, which provides teaching in theology and practical ministry. This 96-credit degree prepares students to pursue LMFT licensure in their respective states. For this degree, students are responsible for coordinating practicum and clinical hours to fulfill face-to-face clinical practice requirements. Online courses are administered through the Canvas learning management system, and students are expected to meet weekly deadlines and participate in online discussion forums on a regular basis. Students have full access to virtual career services and the entire library catalog.

#8 Liberty University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,300
  • Median Salary: $54,300
  • Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Liberty University offers multiple options for students pursuing an online master’s in marriage and family therapy. The Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling is available in three concentrations: Family Advocacy, Public Policy and the Future, Marriage and Family Studies, and Marriage and Family. The degree requires students to complete 30 credit hours and takes an average of one and a half years to finish. Liberty University also hosts an online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program, which requires students to complete 60 credits hours and takes an average of two and a half years to finish. This degree requires two on-campus intensive courses that take place over a week and are designed to prepare students for LMFT licensure. The online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling degree is also available, and students can choose from three concentrations: Marriage and Family Studies, Parent and Child/Adolescent, and Marriage and Family. This degree requires students to complete 36 credits and takes an average of two years to finish. It is designed to prepare students to provide counseling services in their current ministry. Finally, the Master of Divinity Youth and Family Ministries is a 75-credit degree that usually takes two years to complete and is meant for students pursuing a career in ministry. Online courses at Liberty University are administered in an eight-week format with eight start dates per year. Students have access to academic support through the library, writing center, tutors, study aids, and IT support.

#9 Prescott College

  • Annual Tuition: $27,120
  • Median Salary: $56,500
  • Locations: Prescott (AZ)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Prescott College offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. The 60-credit program is designed to prepare students for licensure in their respective states. There are entry dates in August and January of each year. The curriculum takes a client-centered approach and requires a short residency where students will report to campus to network with peers and faculty members. Degree participants will be required to complete a supervised counseling practicum, participate in a supervised counseling internship, and sit for the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam at the end of their marriage and family therapy program. Online courses are administered through the MyClassroom learning platform, and classes are flexible to fit with schedules of working professionals. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and must submit official college transcripts, a personal essay, a current resume, and two letters of recommendation to be considered for admission.

#10 University of West Alabama

  • Annual Tuition: $14,157
  • Median Salary: $49,900
  • Locations: Livingston (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of West Alabama offers a Master of Science in Family Counseling that can be completed entirely online. The 33-credit marriage and family therapy program takes an average of one to two years to complete, and students can enroll either part-time or full-time. Courses take eight weeks to complete. UWA has six terms per year, with summer terms lasting six weeks. The degree program is meant for professionals who already have obtained licensure and are looking to expand their knowledge of family counseling issues. The curriculum explores topics like systems of psychotherapy, marriage and family therapy, educational statistics, and life-span development and learning. Online classes are delivered asynchronously through the Blackboard learning management system, and students are expected to participate in weekly class discussions and submit assignments to meet regular deadlines. Students have access to online academic advising and technical support through the university’s help desk. Applicants are required to submit official college transcripts along with their online application.

Overview of an Online Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy

An online master's in marriage and family therapy will take two to four years to complete and will require between 45 and 60 semester credit hours. In order to be admitted to a program, an applicant will need to have completed a bachelor's degree. This bachelor's degree does not need to be in a related field, but it can be helpful if they have a bachelor's in psychology or similar. Applicants will also need to supply at least two letters of recommendation, an admissions essay, and a resume. Classes will cover such topics as theories of personality, counseling and advocacy with diverse populations, professional ethics, and methods of family research. Upon completion of one of these programs graduates will be qualified to work as licensed therapists, whether that is in their own practice or as a member of group practice.

References

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