Earning an online master’s degree in marriage and family counseling allows you to pursue a rewarding career in an in-demand subfield of psychology. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job openings for marriage and family therapists will grow 20% between 2016 and 2016. In marriage and family counseling, the individual issues of family members, such as mental illness or substance abuse, are addressed as part of the overall course of treatment. This field is growing as an integrative approach to therapy becomes more popular.
Choosing a Program
As you research online master’s in marriage and family counseling programs, you will find similarities in the general subject matter and required courses. These programs cover topics you will need in order to treat patients, including general study of counseling practice and models, communication and interviewing skills, research methods, professional ethics, and social and cultural influences which affect family dynamics. Most programs require some kind of field experience such as an internship or practicum.
However, there are some differences between the programs offered by various schools. For example, some schools may require a capstone project, while others may require a thesis instead. You also can tailor a program to your particular area of interest by choosing a concentration or specialization. The concentrations available vary from school to school, but may include couples therapy, LGBTQ couples and family therapy, military family therapy, child and adolescent therapy, and trauma and crisis counseling. Ultimately, the best online master’s in marriage and family counseling programs will prepare you to become a licensed counselor in your state.
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Online Master’s in Family Counseling Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Master’s in Family Counseling Programs
1 LeTourneau University
With educational centers spanning the state of Texas, LeTourneau University is renowned for incorporating a nondenominational Christian perspective into its 90 undergraduate and graduate programs. LeTourneau also offers dozens of online degrees including an MA in counseling with a specialization in marriage and family therapy.
LeTourneau’s online master’s of arts in marriage and family counseling trains students to make a difference in future patients’ lives by focusing on their relationships and spiritual and psychological well-being. Students complete 66 credit hours as they explore common issues in the field like family systems theory, healthy family functioning, and sex therapy. The master’s program leads to licenses in professional counseling (LPC) and marriage and family therapy (LMFT).
The MA in marriage and family counseling is a hybrid program. While much of the coursework can be completed online, the program requires a practicum and a three-part internship that provides students with experience needed to obtain licensure in the state of Texas. Again, LeTourneau University offers a uniquely integrative approach to this area of counseling, with courses emphasizing the intersection of faith and psychology throughout the degree.
Letourneau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
2 Touro University Worldwide
Los Alamitos, California
The Touro University Worldwide (TUW) system has been at the forefront of online education since the establishment of its sister school, Touro University International (TUI), in 1998. TUW offers dozens of online undergraduate and graduate degrees across four fields of study: business and management, general studies, psychology, and health and human services, the latter of which features one of the nation’s best online master’s in marriage and family counseling.
TUW’s online master’s of arts in marriage and family therapy can be completed entirely online and with no residency requirements. Applicants enjoy an accelerated admissions process, and, unlike other programs, no GRE is required. The curriculum in the MA in marriage and family therapy at TUW emphasizes a holistic approach to counseling as it focuses on family and mental health issues specific to the 21st century. Students may choose a clinical, nonclinical, or licensed professional clinical counseling (LPCC) track.
The program’s non-clinical degree track requires 18 courses. Its clinical track requires 20 courses as well as two practicum courses, 225 clinical hours, and 300 practicum hours. Finally, the LPCC track requires 25 core courses, three practicum courses, 280 clinical hours, and 450 practicum hours. TUW offers a single per-credit tuition rate for all distance courses, regardless of the program type or a student’s place of residence.
Touro University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE).
3 Indiana Wesleyan University
Founded as an undergraduate institution, Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion now offers undergraduate and graduate degrees at 16 locations throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. IWU-Marion features more than 90 programs that can be completed on campus or online, including its online master’s in marriage and family therapy.
IWU-Marion’s online master’s in marriage and family therapy leads MFT licensure in the state of Indiana. Coursework includes an examination of theories and techniques in counseling, a consideration of legal and ethical issues, and a study of human growth and development. Each of these requirements incorporates a Christian perspective and addresses the practice of therapy through interpersonal means. To complete the degree, MA students must complete a practicum and three internship courses at the Marion campus.
A pioneer in distance learning, IWU-Marion has offered courses online since 1997. While online students earn a degree identical to that of their on-campus counterparts, the university has developed programs and methods specific to the virtual learning environment, including keeping class sizes small and assigning advisors to each student. Applicants may be accepted on contingency until they have satisfied six prerequisite credit hours in Bible, which can be completed at IWU-Marion.
Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4 Pepperdine University
One of California’s leading providers of liberal arts education in the Christian tradition, Pepperdine University’s graduate school of education and psychology offers an MA in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. This degree is designed to lead to licensure as a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) or licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) in the state of California.
Pepperdine’s online master’s degree in marriage and family counseling encompasses 62 to 68 credit units, which explore common counseling topics such as interpersonal relationships, sexuality and intimacy, and substance abuse. Students must complete a clinical practicum as well as a career-development course to complete the degree.
Pepperdine’s online psychology programs are offered through 2U, Inc., a technology service that allows the university to provide the same degrees to on-campus and distance learners. Online courses are seminar-style, capped at 14 students. Additional course content is provided through virtual lectures and online case-study research. Practicum placements for online students in the FMT program can be arranged at an instructor-approved site near the student’s residence.
Pepperdine University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
5Fresno Pacific University
As the only accredited Christian university in California’s Central Valley, Fresno Pacific University serves nearly 4,000 students through its flagship campus, four regional locations, and online. The university offers more than 100 academic programs across five schools: business, natural sciences, humanities, religion and social sciences, education, and biblical seminary. An additional 10,000 students pursue professional development studies at FPU.
Located in the school of biblical seminary, FPU’s online master’s of arts in marriage and family therapy prepares students to practice in a clinical setting and leads to MFT licensure in California. The program encompasses 65 credit units in biblical/theological studies, practical studies, and personal and social formation, culminating in series of capstone experiences. Students must complete a two-part practicum, a ministry discernment requirement, and either an advanced family studies course in biblical seminary or a thesis. An additional summer practicum is optional.
FPU’s online master’s in marriage and family counseling program is blended: most coursework may be completed online, some practicums may be arranged near the student’s residence, and some in-person field experience is required. Finally, FPU’s Center for Online Learning offers students a one-stop service center for reaching tech support, submitting assignments, and paying tuition.
Fresno Pacific University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
6 Dallas Baptist University
Among the country’s leading faith-based liberal arts universities, Dallas Baptist University serves more than 5,000 students at its main campus, at two off-site locations, and online. Across eight academic colleges, DBU offers undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs as well as continuing education and certificate programs, all of which center on a service-based Christian worldview.
DBU’s online MA in family ministry gives students flexibility as the degree may be earned entirely online or through hybrid and evening/weekend coursework. Located in the Graduate School of Ministry, the program is grounded in theological, biblical, historical, and practical concepts, and introduces family counseling methods within a contemporary Christian context. Students complete 36 hours in three areas: core courses, program-specific courses, and electives such as Christian counseling, leadership, and special-needs family ministry. Core requirements culminate in a ministry mentorship that includes one fieldwork component.
Currently, DBU offers 75+ online degree programs and serves more than 1,800 online students around the world. Like traditional courses at DBU, the university’s online learning environment is dedicated to providing a Christ-centered learning experience. Though prices vary by semester and one’s level of study, on-campus and online students pay the same tuition rates per credit, regardless of their state of residence.
Dallas Baptist University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
7 Messiah College
Since its establishment in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Messiah College has grown to serve a student population of more than 3,300. Extending its evangelical mission to all Christian denominations, Messiah College offers over 170 undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for occupations in service and leadership within the church.
Messiah College’s School of Graduate Studies offers an online MA in counseling with a concentration in marriage, couple, and family counseling. Consisting of 60 credits (30 core courses and 30 field-specific), the degree leads to licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) credentials in Pennsylvania and other states. The curriculum is available in three formats: a two-year accelerated, three-year, or four-year format, each of which starts in January or July. Though specific requirements may vary, each option requires completion of multi-module practicums and internships in addition to core-intensive courses.
Messiah College delivers online courses both synchronously and asynchronously. Though the school does offer some fully residential options, the majority of graduate coursework is designed to be completed online. And while online students are afforded the same learning resources and support amenities as their on-campus counterparts, online courses at Messiah College are developed with professional students in mind.
Messiah College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE).
8 Concordia University–Wisconsin
With ties to the Lutheran Church and Concordia University System, Concordia University-Wisconsin serves students at two Wisconsin locations and online. The institution offers undergraduate and graduate programs across nine areas of study and dual-credit high school courses. Grounded in a contemporary Christian perspective, CU-Wisconsin’s unique counseling programs combine education and psychology.
CUW’s School of Education offers online master’s of science in education — family life. The degree features several required courses in topics such as marriage and family relations, Christian perspectives of family development, and curriculum and methods in family life education. Students also explore individual and group counseling from a Christian perspective and must complete a seminar-style capstone project in educational and administrative problem-solving.
The 36-credit MS in education — family life offers a set-rate tuition per credit hour, regardless of a student’s state of residence. Online courses typically take between eight and 10 weeks to complete.
Concordia University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
9Southern California Seminary
El Cajon, California
Aligned with Shadow Mountain Community Church, Southern California Seminary provides undergraduate and graduate programs in three languages at its main campus in El Cajon, as well as at a satellite Los Angeles location. The seminary offers both on-campus and online degrees and certificates in Bible and theology, biblical studies, psychology, behavioral sciences, and Christian ministry.
SCS is renowned for hosting one of the region’s best online master’s in marriage and family counseling programs. The 78-credit master’s of arts in marriage and family therapy meets state requirements for MFT licensure in California. Students who want to earn credentials as licensed professional clinical counselors (LPCC) may take an additional course in vocational counseling. SCS’s curriculum encompasses modules in marriage and family therapy, biblical foundations, and licensure preparation, culminating in a three-part counseling practicum experience. Online students are required to complete several intensive courses in counseling techniques, group counseling, and alcohol and substance abuse.
As a longstanding provider of distance education for aspiring faith-based practitioners in the state, SCS aims to offer the same content within its counseling programs to both on-campus and online students. While per-credit tuition prices vary according to program, SCS offers the same rates to all students enrolled in the MA in marriage and family therapy, regardless of their state of residence.
Southern California Seminary is nationally accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).
10John Brown University
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Founded in 1919 as an independent Christian university, John Brown University serves a student population of more than 2,500 in Arkansas and online. On-the-ground programs can be completed at the main campus in Siloam Springs or at satellite centers in Little Rock, Fort Smith, and Rogers, AR. JBU’s online programs are designed to combine the school’s holistic learning style with innovative curriculum and are delivered in an accelerated format.
JBU’s online master’s of science in marriage and family therapy is the school’s oldest and largest counseling degree with some courses offered online. The 64-hour program meets state qualifications to prepare graduates to pursue LMFT licensure in Arkansas. The curriculum explores core and MFT concepts including Christian foundations of counseling, diagnosis and case management, and principles of marital and family therapy. Though not required, students may select an additional major in clinical mental health counseling or school counseling, and/or add an emphasis in play therapy. The degree includes a two-part practicum and a two-part internship, and culminates in an applied research course.
Students accepted into the online MS in marriage and family therapy may begin the program in either January, March, June, August, or October. Delivered synchronously and asynchronously, courses are eight weeks in length, and students may complete the entire program in fewer than 18 months. Tuition for online courses is the same set rate per credit, regardless of type of program or a student’s state of residence.
John Brown University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
11 City University of Seattle
Part of the National University system, CityU has offered a master’s degree in counseling since 1994. In 2014, the program transitioned to a blended format that combines online and in-person coursework. Students attend traditional on-campus lectures and complete supervised internships, while supplementary materials and coursework are provided online.
The online master’s degree in marriage and family counseling curriculum offers concentrations in clinical mental health counseling and marriage, couple and family counseling, addiction counseling, and professional school counseling. Students on both tracks must complete core courses in areas such as counseling theory, human growth and development, and professional ethics. Coursework takes a hands-on approach to learning, and places a strong emphasis on helping students become client-ready.
CityU students can earn their degree in two ways. An intensive two-year schedule option is geared toward full-time students who wish to earn their degree as quickly as possible. The second, part-time option takes three years to finish, making it possible for working professionals to earn a master’s in counseling. The program utilizes a cohort model, in which a group of students starts and completes their studies together. This format provides a unique opportunity for cohort members to act out counseling scenarios with one another, compare methodologies, and give and receive feedback.
City University of Seattle is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent’s slogan demonstrates its commitment to developing “Christian leadership to change the world.” Founded in 1978 by Dr. M. G. “Pat” Robertson, this private university has built a reputation for its affordability and strong academic programs. Thanks to Regent’s wide variety of online program options, students in most states can earn a degree from the school without setting foot on campus, including an online master’s in marriage and family counseling.
Taking a Christ-centered approach to counseling, Regent’s MA in marriage and family counseling program is designed to build skill through a series of clinical experiences in a variety of settings, including community centers, mental health facilities, and schools. Coursework emphasizes current counseling techniques and innovative research as well as professional development, and graduates are prepared to enter the workforce or continue to a Ph.D. program.
Regent is notable for its military-friendly policies, which include discounted tuition for active duty personnel and veterans and college credit for military experience. Other students may transfer up to 90 credit hours earned through regionally accredited institutions. Distance learners have a variety of resources available to them, including online tutoring and mentorship, career assistance, and religious activities.
Regent University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
13California State University, Northridge
Los Angeles, California
Dedicated to fostering an inclusive learning environment, CSUN’s strengths-based approach to learning encourages personal as well as professional development. Utilizing a hybrid cohort model, groups of students pursuing their MS in counseling and marriage and family therapy work together for the program’s duration, attending a mixture of online and on-campus classes.
Through 12 units of core counseling courses, students explore the role of diversity in counseling, legal and ethical issues in family therapy, and career intervention techniques. Marriage and family specialization coursework addresses the unique challenges of counseling children, couples, families, and those struggling with addiction. In the clinical assessment and research portion of the program, students learn techniques for patient assessment, applied research methods, and the foundations of neurobiology.
Prior to completing their online master’s in marriage and family counseling, learners perform a 50-hour practicum, during which they work under the supervision of trained mental health professionals in a clinical setting. Degree candidates may then opt to complete either a written thesis or final graduate project. While some students complete their culminating experience requirements in one semester, the majority take two to finish. Due to the program’s comprehensive nature, graduates are eligible to pursue both MFT and Professional Clinical Counselor licensure.
California State University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Western Seminary’s MA in marital and family therapy program is unique in both its content and flexibility. In addition to evening and weekend classes offered at its Sacramento and San Jose campuses, Western Seminary students have the option of completing up to 24 of the required 73 credits online. In addition to 60 credits of counseling coursework, the curriculum includes 12 credits of biblical studies and theology, making it ideal for those seeking the best online master’s in marriage and family counseling programs based in Christian principles.
Prior to graduation, students who intend to seek licensure must fulfill a 325-hour practicum requirement, which includes 225 hours of supervised work experience, 30 hours of personal therapy, and additional work in a therapeutic setting. The program can be completed in three years, and graduates are eligible to sit for the California professional counselor licensing exam.
Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, and proven foundational understanding of psychology. Prospective students who lack one or more of the admissions requirements may be admitted on provisional status, or pursue an alternative degree track developed by an academic advisor.
Western Seminary is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
15 Abilene Christian University
ACU’s mission is to develop Christian leaders through rigorous, career-focused academic programs rooted in faith as well as scholarship. Known for its innovation, affordability, and the exceptional success of many of its graduates, ACU strives to foster a learning environment in which all students can succeed, regardless of their faith, background, or even location. Through the ACU Online initiative, students can pursue one of 16 web-based master’s programs in a variety of fields, including marriage and family therapy.
Most students earn an online master’s degree in marriage and family counseling in around 32 months. However, learners can choose to take classes part-time and take a few more semesters to finish This 60-credit program offers four distinct tracks in child and adolescent therapy, treatment of trauma, therapy with military families, and a medical family therapy concentration that requires an additional 15 hours of coursework. Core classes build foundational knowledge in family dynamics and systems, methods and models of intervention and assessment, and medical research. Students on all tracks must complete a 500-hour internship and 100 hours of supervised work.
ACU’s online courses are presented in an intensive, seven week schedule, and students take one class at a time. Graduates are eligible to take the Texas counseling licensure exam. Prospective students must submit a written statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation, and complete a form detailing their psychosocial history. In some instances, the program director may request an interview with a candidate.
Abilene Christian University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
Few universities include a commitment to offering quality distance education as part of their mission statement, but Amridge University is an exception. This Christian institution believes that all students deserve access to world-class, faith-based academic programs, even if they can’t make it to the university’s Montgomery, Alabama campus.
Amridge’s MA and MDiv in marriage and family therapy are both professional-level programs intended to prepare graduates for licensure and practice, and share core requirements. However, each online master’s degree in marriage and family counseling offers a different perspective on the discipline. The 60-credit MA curriculum focuses on imparting the therapeutic skills and diagnostic methods required to build a successful counseling practice, and includes both a two-part clinical training component and a practicum, which the student must arrange at a local facility. The MDiv program also requires these experiential learning components, along with 33 additional hours of coursework in theology and religious studies. Intended for prospective Christian counselors or family ministers, the 96-credit program culminates in a comprehensive exam.
Full-time students typically earn their MA in seven semesters, while MDiv completion times may vary. Amridge is part of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA), and both programs meet the standards and requirements defined by NC-SARA as leading to potential licensure. This designation makes it easier for students to pursue their counseling license outside of Alabama.
Amridge University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
17University of West Alabama
UWA has come a long way since 1835. Originally founded in Livingston as a church-related women’s academy, it has since expanded in size and scope to become a respected coeducational regional institution and a major force in web-based education. Today, the university boasts more than 2,000 distance learners enrolled in one over 50 fully-online degree programs offered through the UWA Online initiative.
UWA’s web-based MS in family counseling program is ideal for those pursuing non-licensed careers in the field, members of the clergy, and licensed counselors seeking a specialization. The 33-credit curriculum is offered in a series of eight-week courses, letting students earn an online master’s in marriage and family counseling in is as little as one year. Coursework explores educational research techniques, educational statistics, and systems theory in psychology. Elective courses introduce advance techniques in family counseling, professional ethics, and systems of psychotherapy, as well as a three-credit internship.
Prospective students may transfer up to nine graduate-level credits for matching courses, and all applicants receive step-by-step assistance from an enrollment counselor. Upon acceptance, students are paired with a personal success coach, who is available for guidance from the first day of freshman year to graduation. All courses are taught by licensed psychologists, counselors, and therapists.
University of West Alabama is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
18Mid-America Christian University
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Earning an advanced degree can be difficult for working professionals; especially those balancing employment with family and personal obligations. Designed with busy individuals in mind, Mid-America Christian University’s MS in Marital and Family Therapy Counseling program offers a convenient, flexible degree plan that fits into nearly any schedule. Distance learners can earn their master’s entirely online, with the option of attending one evening class per week at MACU’s Oklahoma City campus.
Integrating Christian values with scientific methods, students explore counseling and psychotherapy techniques, principles of diagnostics and treatment, and intervention methods over the course of 60 credit hours. While the program includes a hands-on learning component, distance learners are free to arrange an internship at a location and time that best fits their schedule. To provide maximum flexibility, MACU offers program start dates in January, February, or March. Each accelerated course is five to eight weeks long, and most full-time students are able to graduate in roughly 30 months.
MACU is proud to offer a results-oriented MA program that emphasizes hands-on training and career preparation. Upon program completion, graduates are eligible to sit for the marriage and family therapist licensing examination. All courses are taught by PhD-holding faculty members who have extensive professional experience outside the classroom, including many who operate private counseling practices.
Mid-America Christian University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
19 Lee University
Lee University might be based in Cleveland, Tennessee, but its educational outlook is global. Known for offering accessible, affordable study abroad programs in more than 25 locations worldwide and a wide range of service learning opportunities, the university’s diverse student body includes degree candidates from 48 states and 52 countries. As Church of God affiliate, Lee seeks to promote a Christ-centered worldview while respecting and encouraging diversity of thought.
Lee’s fully-online, 36-credit MS in marriage and family studies is specially designed for those who wish to earn a degree without seeking a counseling license, including licensed professionals who want to specialize in treating families and those pursuing careers in family-oriented non-profit organizations, ministry, or schools. Courses address a variety of subjects, including human development, human sexuality, stress and resilience within families, and systems theory. Students take 12 credits each semester, and most full-time students complete the program in around two years. Part-time scheduling options are also available. Students intending to pursue a doctorate after graduation may fulfill their final requirement through a written thesis, while those who wish to enter the workforce can take a comprehensive final exam.
Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited institution, although those with 18 hours of social science coursework and a GPA of 3.0 or higher will receive preference.
Lee University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
20Houston Baptist University
Blending online and on-campus learning, HBU’s MA-LMFT program provides a flexible, comprehensive learning experience that allows students to connect with others. Course materials combine state-of-the-art research and theory with Baptist teachings, instilling degree candidates with the knowledge and professional skills required to compassionately counsel couples and families.
The LMFT MA curriculum is career-focused, emphasizing licensure preparation and making graduates client-ready. In addition to advanced concepts in counseling theory and ethics, required courses review licensure standards and explore methods of integrating Christian principles with counseling and psychology. Students must also fulfill a three-semester practicum requirement at a facility selected by HBU. After completing the practicum and passing a comprehensive exam, graduates are eligible to pursue counseling licensure in the state of Texas.
In addition to submitting official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a current resume, and official GRE results, prospective students must complete an interview with HBU staff. Applicants should have completed at least 100 hours of undergraduate coursework, including classes in statistics, introductory psychology, and abnormal psychology. A bachelor’s degree in any field is required for program admission.
Houston Baptist University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
21Palo Alto University
Palo Alto, California
Founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, this nonprofit California university has since expanded to offer undergraduate programs, but its focus remains on training tomorrow’s leaders in psychology and behavioral science. In 2002, PAU introduced a practitioner-scholar training program for graduate students, formed in collaboration with Stanford University. The university maintains partnerships with several nearby institutions, and has recently established a cohort in China.
PAU’s MA in counseling program offers an emphasis in marriage, family, and child counseling. Each course focuses on one or more of four core subjects: professional ethics, clinical assessment, interventions, and research, and special emphasis is placed on diagnosis and treatment methodologies. Prior to graduation, degree candidates must complete a capstone project and fulfill the practicum requirement in a nearby clinical setting.
Graduates leave the program fully prepared to take the California LFMT exam, although distance learners may face somewhat different requirements.
All courses are presented in a live, streaming format, during which students use web cameras to hold discussions, engage with faculty, and comment on lectures. While major coursework is presented entirely online, all students must complete a one-week residency on campus. Most are able to remain employed full-time throughout the first year of their studies, and typically graduate in around 27 months. Applicants should provide a current resume, written statement of purpose, and professional or academic recommendations.
Palo Alto University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
This Louisville, Kentucky university ensures that each of its course offerings are grounded in both Christian principles and academic excellence. In keeping with this mission, Campbellsville created a master of marriage and family therapy program that gives students the tools needed to incorporate their faith into counseling practice. Designed for working professionals who wish to become licensed family counselors, this hybrid program consists of online coursework as well as one weekly, on-campus evening class.
The program’s 60-credit curriculum covers topics in premarital and marital counseling, cultural competency, addictions counseling in MFT, and group counseling methods. Each class lasts only eight weeks, and most full-time students earn their degree in two years. The program culminates in a cumulative exam, and graduates may apply for Kentucky licensure to become a practicing family and marriage therapist.
Prospective Campbellsville students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. In addition to an online application, applicants should submit official transcripts from all former institutions, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement of intent which demonstrates that the degree candidate understands Campbellsville’s mission and is fully prepared to enter a master’s program. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
Campbellsville University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
This Arizona school got its start in 1963, when Dr. Charles Franklin Parker recognized the growing need for leaders equipped to handle the unique environmental and social challenges of the late 20th century and beyond. Taking a holistic approach to higher education, Prescott was founded on the principles of diversity, academic innovation, ecological stewardship, and the importance of experiential learning.
Prescott’s 60-credit MS in clinical mental health counseling stresses care of the mind, body, and environment. Core coursework introduces fundamental counseling theories, assessment methodologies, and ethical concepts, along with contemporary issues in social justice and substance abuse. Students may pursue additional concentrations in marriage and family counseling, addictions counseling, social justice, and somatic counseling. The program includes an internship component, which may be completed locally, and all students must pass a comprehensive final exam to graduate.
While all coursework is presented online, distance learners must attend one on-campus orientation at the start of the program, and are required to attend a colloquium at Prescott each semester. Graduates are eligible to sit for most state licensing exams. Prospective students should submit their previous transcripts, current resume, complete application, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
Prescott College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Online Master’s in Family Counseling Careers
As a graduate of an online master’s program in marriage and family counseling, most of your career options will be within the field of therapy or counseling. You may decide to start a private practice or be part of a larger organization. The specialty you choose likely will influence the career path you ultimately take.
- Marriage and Family Therapist: Marriage and family therapists specialize in treating couples and families who are experiencing difficulties in their relationships. They may counsel families who are dealing with life changes such as divorce or separation, grief, or other sources of stress and conflict. These therapists establish strategies to cope with troubling situations and change behavior for healthier outcomes.
- Median Annual Salary: $49,170
- Projected Growth Rate: 20%
- Mental Health Counselor: Mental health counselors treat people who are experiencing issues including depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, grief, or relationship problems. They may facilitate therapy sessions for individual patients, couples, families, or groups. Depending on type of practice and the laws of your state, a license may be required and a master’s degree often is preferred.
- Median Annual Salary: $42,150
- Projected Growth Rate: 20%
- Rehabilitation Counselor: Rehabilitation counselors work with disabled individuals so they can live or work independently. Patients are usually adults with physical, psychological, or developmental disabilities. They may need assistance transitioning from a school environment to a workplace or adapting to life changes resulting from injury or illness. These positions usually require a master’s degree and some may require a license.
- Median Annual Salary: $34,670
- Projected Growth Rate: 10%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics