People who want to work with couples and families and help them deal with their interpersonal issues can take on a career as marriage and family therapists. A masters in marriage and family therapy online provides students the ability to develop their skills to handle a wide variety of delicate situations and give the appropriate guidance to their clients. It prepares students to deliver clinical intervention for families, individuals, groups, couples, and larger social systems. Additionally, MFT online programs train students to work in various employment areas such as individual and family service, local and state government, outpatient care centers, and other healthcare organizations. This guide on Online MFT programs provides in-depth information on what this degree entails and other critical aspects such as accreditation, curriculum, career options, etc.

Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Online

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Online Programs

Online master’s in marriage and family therapy degree programs are offered throughout the country in different universities. Choosing the right program which meets one’s requirements and interests is not always easy. To choose a top program, aspiring students must consider several factors such as the institution’s reputation, student services, quality and experience of the faculty, affordability, and infrastructure. To save students the trouble of finding the best marriage and family therapy online degrees, OMC teams have conducted a thorough search of the best MFT programs and colleges in the United States, presented below: 

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Messiah University
One University Avenue, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 17055
John Brown University
2000 W University St, Siloam Springs, Arkansas 72761
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515
Lancaster Bible College
901 Eden Rd, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17601
Northcentral University
11355 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037
University of Massachusetts Global
16355 Laguna Canyon Road, Irvine, California 92618
Concordia University-Wisconsin
12800 N Lake Shore Dr, Mequon, Wisconsin 53097
Abilene Christian University
Abilene, Texas 79699
Walden University
100 Washington Avenue South, Suite 900, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401
Antioch University
900 Dayton St, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
Touro University Worldwide
10601 Calle Lee #179, Los Alamitos, California 90720
California Baptist University
8432 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, California 92504
Capella University
225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Amridge University
1200 Taylor Rd, Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Houston Baptist University
7502 Fondren Rd, Houston, Texas 77074
Grand Canyon University
3300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, Arizona 85017
Prescott College
220 Grove Ave, Prescott, Arizona 86301
University of West Alabama
Station One, Livingston, Alabama 35470
Palo Alto University
1791 Arastradero Rd, Palo Alto, California 94304
Mid-America Christian University
3500 SW 119th St, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73170

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

Marriage and family therapy studies will give students hands-on experience to enter the workforce with the skills to treat diverse client populations across various issues. It focuses on a broad blend of therapeutic and theoretical approaches with the main goal of excellence in clinical training in the field of marriage and family therapy. Typically, in the online MFT degree, students are required to complete 45 to 60 credits and complete an approved internship and clinical practice under the supervision of a licensed marriage and family therapist. 

The mode of delivery of a master’s in marriage and family therapy degree is online but offline classes are not uncommon, depending on the university and program structure. To practice professionally, graduates must pass the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards– MFT National Examination. Each state’s requirements to practice as a marriage and family therapist varies. Depending on the state they reside in, an individual will have to pass the examination and complete the supervised clinical practice to meet its board requirements. 

Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Types

Masters in marriage and family therapy online programs are of two types – the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy and the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. Both these are commonly referred to as the Master of Marriage and Therapy (MMFT or MFT).  

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

The Master of Arts or MA marriage and family therapy online is more theoretical based and emphasizes more on humanities and the liberal arts. It prepares students to pursue their careers in research and apply for a doctoral program. 

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

The Master of Science or MS marriage and family therapy online is more practical and focuses on a scientific approach to the subject. It prepares students to better understand the technicalities of marriage and family therapy. 

Learn more about the differences and similarities between the MA vs. MS. 

Specializations in Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

An excellent way to go deeper into the subject of marriage and family therapy and broaden one’s knowledge in their area of interest is to take up a specialization. Specializations better impact job prospects and can enhance one’s expertise in the industry. Here are some specializations in a masters in marriage and family therapy online: 

Area of Specialization Description Institutions Career Options 
Human Development and Family Studies – Marriage and Family Therapy This specialization emphasizes evidence-based clinical practices, individual and family development, social justice, and ethics. Graduates can work as licensed therapists. 
Couples and Family Therapy This specialization takes a social justice approach to work with families, couples, individuals, and other stakeholders. Graduates can work with couples, families, and other stakeholders within their community context. 
Family and Child Studies This Specialization prepares students to work with families and individuals throughout the life span in prevention, intervention, and education programs. Graduates can work as parent educators, directors of child care centers, child development specialists, and so on. 
Marriage, Couples, and Family Counselling This Specialization teaches students to assist families and couples in navigating through interactions as well as learn about issues such as grief, anger management, and self-esteem. Graduates can work with families and couples. 
Child and Adolescent Therapy This specialization focuses on the needs of children and teenagers and teaches students how to conduct age-appropriate interventions through courses in play therapy, child and adolescent-specific challenges, and other relevant treatment and evaluation procedures. Graduates can work with pre-adolescent and adolescent children. 

A few other concentration areas for online masters in marriage and family therapy students include: 

  • Treatment of Trauma 
  • Therapy with Military Families 
  • Family Life
  • Human Development and Family Studies 

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Online Programs

Online masters in family and marriage therapy typically require 45 to 66 credits of graduate coursework. There are various core courses and electives the students need to take up to meet the graduate coursework requirements, such as: 

  • Counselling Skills and Techniques 
  • Introduction to Family Studies 
  • Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents 
  • Theories of Counselling
  • Research Methods and Family Therapy 
  • Group Counselling and Psychotherapy 
  • Addictive Disorders 
  • Theories of Marriage and Family Therapy 
  • Marriage and Family Counseling 
  • Sexual Function and Systemic Sex Therapy 
  • Family Therapy – Skills and Practice 
  • Assessments and Counseling with Couples and Families 
  • Family Life Cycle 
  • Cross-Cultural Counseling: Research and Practice 
  • Psychological Tests and Measurements 
  • Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Family Therapy 
  • Gender and Ethnicity 

In the final year of their masters, students will have to do either a capstone project or a research project based on the program’s requirements and coursework. Some programs forgo a capstone and require a thesis to be submitted at the end of the program. It is also not uncommon for marriage and family therapy students to undergo field experiences that provide supervision for their outside marital and family therapy practice. In most instances, the curriculum includes over 1,000 hours of supervised clinical work toward the over 2,000 hours needed for licensure (varies by state). 

Upon graduating with a marriage and family therapy degree, students would have developed a host of skills, including but not limited to the ability to: 

  • understand and apply MFT ethical, legal, and professional concerns efficiently and appropriately; 
  • diagnose, treat, and assess individuals, families, and couples from both system perspectives and medical models; 
  • show knowledge of and skill in evaluation, diagnosis, treatment planning, and therapeutic treatments with individuals, couples, and families seeking therapy, in a relational or systemic framework that takes into account different cultures and requirements;
  • implement marital and family therapy interventions and techniques; 
  • undertake administrative and clinical work in human services and social work agencies; and 
  • utilize outcome metrics, client feedback, and one’s own clinical practice to assess efficacy. 

Accreditation for Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Online Programs

Accreditation assures the quality of the institution where education institutions, universities, and colleges go through a strict evaluation to meet and exceed the basic education standards. The process of accreditation is extensive, which requires the institution to successfully pass quality checks in terms of designing courses, managing accurate institutional data, and carrying out assessments to enhance and evaluate students’ performance. Accreditation may be granted by national, regional, or specialized accrediting agencies, with regional ones being the most common and popular. These regional accrediting agencies are: 

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) 
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC

Apart from colleges being nationally or regionally accredited, some colleges may offer accredited masters in marriage and family therapy programs, accredited explicitly by agencies such as the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), the Council for Accreditation of Counselling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), or the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). 

Read the Accreditation Guide to find out more about accreditation and its importance. 

Timeline for graduation from Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Online Programs

The online master in family therapy is offered in both full-time and part-time formats. Students pursuing a full-time master’s can usually complete their degree within two years, while part-time students would require longer. However, part-time students can continue their existing jobs and finish their masters in 3 to 5 years on a flexible schedule. 

Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Online Programs Admission Requirements

For entry into the MFT online program, the student must meet certain admission requirements. Although these requirements vary by school and program, here are some of the essential ones: 

  • Application Form and Fee 
  • Official Academic Transcripts 
  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally or a nationally accredited institution in Psychology or other related disciplines with a 3.0 GPA or above 
  • Graduate Résumé 
  • Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement
  • Minimum two letters of recommendation 
  • An academic writing sample (required by some universities) 
  • Interview (required by some universities) 
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores (required by some universities) 

Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Online No GRE Programs

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is typically a mandatory exam that students need to give before applying to a graduate program. But some programs do not have GRE as their requirement for admission. For example, the Houston Baptist CollegeAbilene Christian UniversityMercy College, and many others offer online masters in marriage and family therapy no GRE programs. 

Accelerated Online Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

An accelerated graduate program allows students to obtain their masters in less time than traditional degree programs. In most instances, accelerated programs combine a bachelor’s degree with a master’s degree, which can be completed within 5 years instead of the usual 6 years. However, some colleges allow students to fast-track and complete their degree in less than the usual two years. An example is Arizona State University, which offers an accelerated MFT degree online that can be completed in about 15 to 18 months. 

Free Marriage and Family Therapy Courses Online

Free courses are not accredited and cannot lead to a master’s degree. There are no free masters programs in marriage and family therapy. Still, free short courses could provide students with an overview and additional information on the subject. Here are a couple of free masters in marriage and family therapy courses 

Course Provided by Description 
Family Counselling, Marriage, and Couples Therapy One Education Students can learn about counseling for marriages and families. 
Counseling The Open University Students can broaden their knowledge and skills in counseling. 

How to Pay for Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Online Programs

The cost of a master’s program varies from university to university. The main expense for online students is the tuition fee, distance learning fee, and course materials. The tuition fee for an online masters in marriage and family therapy program ranges from $6,500 to $30,000. Fortunately, students can consider various funding mechanisms to fund their master’s degrees. Some of the funding options are: 


Scholarships are awarded to students based on their academic success and other factors such as cultural heritage, religious affiliation, community service, etc. They are usually awarded based on merit and can be alumnae funded, privately provided, or awarded by cultural, religious, or commercial organizations. Read about Scholarship Scams to avoid being defrauded. 

Graduate Assistantships 

Graduate assistantships are part-time employment opportunities for graduate students. Students work as assistants for professors by teaching and demonstrating for undergraduates or assisting in a lab or a workshop, and they are provided a stipend or fee rebate. Graduate students can also consider research assistantships where they help professors with their research. 

Work-Study Programs 

With work-study programs, students can work and earn some money while simultaneously pursuing their degrees. This money may not be sufficient to pay one’s tuition fee but would help reduce the overall educational expense. 

Student Loans 

Students can apply for a student loan from banks, federal agencies, or private financial institutions. Although a student loan is a common option, it can increase the cost of education because of payable interest. Failure to pay the loan can push a student into debt. 


Prospective graduate students can fill in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA to determine whether they are eligible for financial aid. 

More information on funding college education is available in the Financial Aid Guide

Scholarships for Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Online Programs

Students with excellent academic profiles can apply for various available graduate scholarships. Based on their eligibility, scholarships are offered to students by universities or associations and external organizations. Here are some examples of online masters in marriage and family therapy scholarships: 

AAMFT Research and Education Minority Fellowship Program 

The AAMFT Research and Education offers a minority fellowship program for graduate students of marriage and family therapy. 


$6,000 to $36,000 

Application Deadline 


ACC Behavioral Health academic Scholarship 

The ACC Behavioral Health Academic Scholarship program administered by the American Addiction Centers (ACC) provides scholarships for students for undergraduate and graduate programs in behavioral health and addiction-related substances. 


$2,500 to $5,000 

Application Deadline


CAMFT Educational Scholarships and Foundation Grants 

The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) offers scholarships to masters and Ph.D. students in marriage and family therapy.

Award/Amount  $4,000 

Application Deadline 

November 04, 2024 

The American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) Fellowships 

The American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) awards graduate fellowships to people who have shown the ability to advance the field of family and consumer sciences. Graduate fellows will get a commemorative certificate and financial assistance for their studies of family and consumer sciences.

Award/AmountVaries  Application Deadline 


FAQs about Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an MFT degree? 

A master’s in marriage and family therapy (MFT) degree provides students with skills and knowledge in therapy, which can be applied in a professional setting. It also prepares graduates for marriage and family therapy licensure and trains them to become clinicians to enter the research field. 

How to get a masters in marriage and family therapy degree? 

Is a marriage and family therapy degree an MS or MA? 

Where to do a marriage and family therapy master’s degree? 

What jobs are there for a marriage and family therapy degree? 

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Graduates

Graduates of marriage and family therapy online masters can work in various settings after completing their degree and obtaining their licensure to practice. They can work in settings such as out-patient care centers, individual and family services, state government departments, offices of health practitioners, rehabilitation facilities, private practices, mental health centers, substance abuse treatment centers, and hospitals. 

Marriage and Family Therapist is one of the main job titles upon graduating, but there are other job titles related to this profession, including: 

  • Adolescent Counsellor 
  • School Therapist 
  • Therapy Program Coordinator 
  • Social Service Therapist 
  • Marriage Counsellor 
  • Family Counsellor

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), marriage and family therapists earn a median salary of $49,880 with a job outlook of 14% between 2021 to 2031which is much faster than average. The following list highlights the statistical data of some job positions of graduates with an online MFT degree: 

Occupation Skills Required Median Annual Salary Job Growth (up to 2030) Job Description 
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors Compassion, listening skills, patience, speaking skills, interpersonal skills $48,520 23% (much faster than average) Counselors specializing in substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health concerns offer guidance to those struggling with drug addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, mental health problems, or other mental or behavioral challenges. They offer therapy and support to those trying to overcome addiction or dealing with problematic behavior. 
School and Career Counselors and Advisors Interpersonal skills, speaking skills, listening skills, analytical skills, compassion $60,510 11% (faster than average) School counselors assist students in creating academic, social, and post-graduation plans. Career counselors and advisors assist students and other clients with skill development, employment exploration, and selection of educational paths leading to various careers. 
Social and Community Service Managers Problem-solving skills, communication skills, managerial skills, analytical skills, time-management skills $74,000 15% (faster than average) Programs and organizations that promote public well-being are coordinated and managed by social and community service managers. They give instructions to employees who deliver these services to customers. They also determine the essential programs and services, collaborate with community members and other stakeholders, oversee program administration to ensure the set goals are met, and improve programs and services using new ideas and actions. 
Marriage and Family Therapists Interpersonal skills, speaking skills, organizational skills, compassion, listening skills $49,880 16% (much faster than average) Marriage and family therapists assist clients in resolving issues involving their families and other relationships. They assist their clients using various methods and resources, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teaches clients how to identify negative emotions, attitudes, and beliefs and how to swap them out for more beneficial ones. 

Certifications and Licensing for Marriage and Family Therapy Graduates

Certifications are an excellent approach to increasing one’s job prospects and income potential while enhancing one’s knowledge in the subject. In the marriage and family therapy domain, certification and licensure are, in a manner of speaking, combined. By obtaining a license, professionals prove they have the necessary skill and knowledge in marriage and family therapy and can legally work in the field. The titles “Marriage and Family Therapist” and “Marital and Family Therapist” are most commonly used by licensed professionals. 

Licensing is mandatory for graduates who want to practice as marriage and family therapists after completing their masters. Each state has its own licensing requirements. Before writing the licensure exam, graduates must acquire clinical experience under supervision. After the stipulated requirement, they can take the national or state licensing exam for marriage and family therapists conducted by the Association of Marital and Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB). In most states, this exam is used as the licensure. 

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFTprovides complete information on certification and licensing by state. 

Additional Resources for Marriage and Family Therapy Professionals

After pursuing an online masters in family therapy, students should tap into various resources to keep themselves updated to stay relevant in their field. Doing so helps individuals gain a broader perspective and better exposure to the subject. Some ways to stay ahead of the competition and grow in knowledge and skill are to attend webinars and seminars, connect with peers, and read journals and publications. Here are some additional resources for online master in marriage and family therapy students and professionals: 

  1. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) – The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) is a go-to destination for all things related to marriage and family therapy. More than 50,000 marriage and family therapists throughout the United States represent their professional interests through this association. AAMFT promotes family and marital life through education, research, and special projects in family science, marriage, family therapy, and family policy. 
  2. Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) – The Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFRTRB) is responsible for state licensing of marriage and family therapists. It protects the public by ensuring clinical competencies of licenses, handling disciplinary actions, managing renewals, revising regulations and statutes, and establishing initial licensure requirements in 52 member boards. In addition, AMFRTB also provides various other services, such as conducting the Marriage and Family Therapy National Exam, facilitating communication among stakeholders, and providing avenues for research and information. 
  3. International Family Therapy Association (IFTA) – The International Family Therapy Association (IFTA) collaborates with other professionals and organizations worldwide to raise the standard of family therapy. IFTA offers global conferences that instruct participants on a range of subjects that raise the bar for family therapy practices. 
  4. American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA) – The American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA) consists of about 400 of the top academics, practitioners, researchers, program directors, and policymakers in family therapy and related fields. AFTA encourages research, investigation, training, and consumption of theories, models, systemic theory and practice models, and investigations. The site offers podcasts, videos, publications, and more. 
  5. National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) – The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) is “the oldest nonprofit, nonpartisan, multidisciplinary professional association focused solely on family research, practice, and education.” Besides organizing annual conferences, NCFR publishes three scholarly journals – Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Family Theory & Review, and Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Science. 
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