Family Therapy Schools and Training Programs

A family therapist counsels couples, families and individuals about how to overcome obstacles, end conflict and interact more effectively. Find out about educational and licensure requirements. Schools offering Marriage & Family Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Family therapists are more commonly known as marriage and family therapists (MFTs). This is typically a master's-level position that requires substantial clinical experience and licensure.

SchoolsCompletion of undergraduate and graduate school is required
TrainingMaster's degree programs typically require an internship of approximately 500 hours; two years of supervised clinical experience are required for licensure
LicensingRequired; candidates typically must hold a master's degree, have the necessary clinical experience and pass an exam to earn licensure

What Would I Do as a Family Therapist?

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), as a family therapist, you would help families cope with a crisis, deal with problems in interpersonal interactions or solve conflict between members (www.aamft.org). You would provide this help through therapy sessions, either with a single family member or multiple members. Sometimes, you may provide group therapy, but other times conduct private sessions.

What Degree Do I Need?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most states require family therapists to have at least a master's degree (www.bls.gov). Examples of degrees you can earn include a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy, Master of Science in Applied Family and Child Studies with a specialization in marriage and family therapy or a Master of Science in Counseling with a concentration in marriage and family therapy. For admission to a master's degree program, you will likely need a bachelor's degree in psychology, counseling, social work or a related field.

Most master's degree programs require 2 years of study. In these programs, you study wellness and spirituality, child development, parent-child interaction, family social policy, abuse counseling, aging in the family, ethnic diversity in families, behavior assessment and adolescent health. You also complete approximately 500 internship hours at a local community, counseling or mental health center or at a physician's office.

Do I Need Licensure?

The BLS states that most states require family therapists to be a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and only offer licensure to graduates of master's degree programs. In addition to a master's degree, most states require that you have two years of supervised clinical experience and pass an exam to become licensed.

Graduation from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) may make it easier to become licensed. Usually, the COAMFTE only accredits graduate-level programs.

What Are My Career Prospects?

The BLS expects job opportunities for marriage and family therapists to increase by 31% over the 2012-2022 decade. A 2014 report by the BLS stated that there were 30,050 MFTs in the nation at that time, not including self-employed therapists, and that these professionals earned an average of $51,730 per year. The three states with the highest number of employed MFTs were California, New Jersey and Florida.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Northcentral University

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  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Argosy University

    Argosy University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Argosy University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Certificates

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  • Herzing University

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  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

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  • Baker College Online

    Baker College Online responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Baker College Online:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

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