In addition to valuable educational options, this guide can also provide you with some insight into various career opportunities for graduates and licensees in this practice area. Read more below to learn about the COAMFTE and what it can mean for your educational experience.
What is the COAMFTE?
The COAMFTE or the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education is the leading accreditation agencies for MFT degree programs. The goal of this organization is to provide a review process for current MFT degree programs to ensure quality and utility of programs offered across the U.S.
The COAMFTE provides accreditation options for both traditional and online degree programs in Marriage and Family Therapy. There are 3 types of programs that can receive accreditation through this organization: master's degrees, doctoral degrees, and post-graduate degree clinical training programs.
Since 1974, the COAMFTE has worked to create a reliable set of standards for degree programs in this field and moved on to accredit only the most reliable degree options for incoming learners. Through its website, you can view different options for in-person or online degree programs at multiple levels.
Before you begin your search for the right online degree program, you should familiarize yourself with the COAMFTE and its review process. Each degree program that has received accreditation holds only the highest level of quality within its curriculum and instructional process.
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Why Consider an Online COAMFTE Accredited Counseling Program?
In current society, many adults may be forced to pursue higher education while working full time careers. Online degree programs can pave the way for individuals without the option to pursue their degree on-campus and can provide the same opportunities and quality of traditional learning programs.
The COAMFTE Ensures the Quality of the MFT Program
When deciding to pursue an online degree program, students should also consider the quality of the degree program they are reviewing. One way to ensure that a degree program can provide learners with the opportunity of licensure is to review the program's accreditation status.
The COAMFTE Ensures Material and Practicum Align with LMFT Licensure
The COAMFTE accredits reviewed and approved degree programs in Marriage and Family Therapy. If the program being review holds this type of accreditation, learners can rest assured that their program contains the correct material and practicum experiences required for future licensing.
Choosing COAMFTE online programs can mean a great quality education with the flexibility needed by busy adult professionals looking to advance their careers.
Online COAMFTE MFT Master’s Degrees
Alliant International University’s Online MA MFT Program
Program: Online Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy
Alliant International University offers an online Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy for incoming students to pursue. In addition to the standard MFT track, students may also choose to pursue a specialization in Chemical Dependency as part of their degree program.
Courses included within this degree program include those focusing on Counseling Theories and Counseling Techniques, Ethics pertaining to individual and group counseling, and Community Practice. Students can also participate in classes focused on natural family cycle development and Psychopathology.
Alliant University offers additional degree programs in Clinical Counseling and School Counseling for interested learners. The PsyD option of the MFT degree program is currently only available on select campuses through this university.
Capella University’s Online MS MFT
Program: Online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy
Capella University offers a completely online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. This accredited online program can be an excellent option for learners interested in increasing the qualify of life of their clients in a therapeutic setting.
The curriculum required for graduation of this program includes classes such as Diversity and Social Justice in Systemic Family Therapy, Psychopathology, and the Impact of Addiction and Addictive Behavior on Family Systems. Specific courses in Individual and Group Therapy Theory may also be a part of students’ learning experiences.
Capella also offers master’s degrees in alternative counseling fields such as Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Addiction Studies. Each of these degree options can put learners in touch with populations in need of therapeutic guidance.
Northcentral University’s Online MA MFT
Program: Online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
The online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy offered through Northcentral University can provide learners with the flexibility needed to advance their career. This online program currently holds accreditation through the COAMFTE and includes 45 credit hours of course work.
This program offers multiple specializations including a California Licensure Track, Couple Therapy, LGBTQ Couple and Family Therapy, Military Family Therapy, Systemic Treatment of Addictions, Child and Adolescent Family Therapy, Medical Family Therapy, Trauma Informed Systemic Therapy, and Systemic Sex Therapy.
Courses included within the curriculum include Diagnosis and Systemic Treatment, Recover-Oriented Care and Postmodern Family Therapy, and Treatment Planning. Each of these courses is designed to provide learners with different types of skills relevant to family treatment.
Northcentral University also offers other diverse degree options at the master’s level, including some in General Psychology and Gender Diversity Psychology. The Master of Social Work can be another popular option for professionals interested in counseling careers in the future.
Syracuse University’s Online MA MFT
Program: Online Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy
Syracuse University currently provides an online Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy to incoming counseling prospects. This program consists of 60 required credit hours – with all course work provided in the online setting.
Since this program can lead to licensing, it includes an in-person practicum requirement that provides guidance and learning opportunities for future professionals in the field. Course work within this program focuses on Divorce Mediation, Family Systems and Therapy, and Couple Therapy: Theory and Techniques.
Syracuse offers dynamic online master’s programs in both MFT and Social Work for students interested in providing therapeutic services to individuals in need. Certificate programs in Child Therapy and Trauma-Informed Practice may also be available after completing these master’s programs.
Online COAMFTE MFT Doctoral Degrees
Loma Linda University’s Online DMFT
Program: Online DMFT
The Doctor of Marital and Family Therapy offered by Loma Linda University is currently the only COAMFTE accredited online DMFT program in the U.S. This incredible doctoral program can provide you with a high-quality curriculum developed for leaders in the MFT field.
The curriculum for the DMFT program can include courses like Social Ecology of Individual and Family Development, Law and Ethics, and Family Therapy and Chemical Abuse. Additional courses in Human Sexual Behavior and Child Abuse and Family Violence may also be a part of the learning experience in this program.
Alternative online doctoral programs offered through Loma Linda University include the PhD in Systems, Families, and Couples. This research-oriented degree program can allow learners to develop meaningful solutions and treatments to common relationship struggles within the family network.
Northcentral University’s Online PhD MFT
Program: Online Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy
Northcentral University offers the Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy to learners in the online environment. This program requires that students complete 63 credit hours that can be completed in around 56 months total.
Specialization options for the PhD-MFT program include Child and Adolescent Therapy, General Family Therapy, Therapy with Military Families, Culture, Diversity, and Social Justice, Couple Therapy, Medical Family Therapy, Education and Supervision, and Systemic Leadership.
The courses within this program include Advanced Family Therapy Theory, Cultural Diversity, and Family Violence. Research oriented courses such as Research Methods and Qualitative Research Methods in Family Therapy can also be included as part of student graduation requirements.
Northcentral University also provides learners with the option of pursuing a Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy, which would allow learners to view the field from a clinical perspective. PhD programs in Psychology can also be an option for students considering this university.
Individuals interested in becoming Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) may be subject to licensing guidelines within their state. Each state may have its own unique requirements for learners in this field, with most pulling from a generalized set of educational and practical expectations.
View the full writeup on LMFT licensure.
The minimum degree requirement for LMFTs in most states is a master’s degree. A student’s master’s program should focus on Marriage and Family Therapy and hold the right type of accreditation for this program, such as COAMFTE accreditation.
Why a Masters in MFT for Licensure?
Most MFT master’s programs offer students a practicum or internship experience throughout. This option can provide learners with the on-site experience they may require before engaging in later supervision requirements.
Expect Many Hours of Supervised Clinical Experience
One state that currently licenses Marriage and Family Therapists requires that graduates complete around 1,000 hours of clinical experience under supervision of a qualified supervisor. Supervisors are required to have at least 2 years of experience in the MFT field or a 36 hour training in supervision.
During the total experience, interns for licensing will need to accrue at least 200 hours of direct supervision from their supervisor. This portion of the requirement can allow time for feedback about performance and requirements for improvement.
Sitting for the AMFTRB MFT Exam
After completing all supervision requirements, candidates for licensure must sit for the AMFTRB MFT Examination, by the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (website). This exam can test applicants on their knowledge of the field, as well as common practice guidelines learned during field training.
Completion of supervision and the board examination can lead to licensing within each state. Applicants are encouraged to review their state’s licensing requirements prior to submitting a final application.
What Career Options Are There for a MFT?
Most people entering into MFT degree programs believe that their career will involve working families through difficult periods within their relationships. However, there are multiple diverse career options for students graduating from this incredible degree program.
Family Behavioral Therapists
Some licensed MFT pursue careers as Family Behavioral Therapists. This career option can include identifying interfering behaviors and implementing plans for alternative behaviors within the home environment.
School Social Workers
School Social Workers may also be required to have MFT degrees since a lot of the work completed in this position is completed with students and their families. Some social work positions outside of education may also be occupied by MFT graduates.
MFT in Human Service
Human Service positions at multiple levels can also employ MFTs for positions of leadership and counseling within their organizations. In this career option, employees may be responsible for coordinating care for specific community groups or supervising case manager specialists in the field.
Other MFT Areas
Specific counseling career options like Substance Abuse Counselors and Child and Family Counselors may also be available to graduates of this field. Having the right type of licensing within a state could also potentially lead to careers in independent practice.