Online Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy

Helping people work through their personal and professional issues is a rewarding attribute of becoming a marriage and family therapist. Marriage and family therapists have the opportunity to help individuals manage problems with their families and other relationships. They work to examine how family life and affects their clients’ mental health. To accomplish this, marriage and family therapists need to possess a variety of skills including patience, sensitivity of gender and cultural differences and leadership skills to name a few.

A typical master’s program in marriage and family therapy (often referred to as MFT programs) helps you develop these skills so that you can handle a diverse range of situations and provide the guidance that clients need. A successful marriage and family therapist encourages clients to discuss their emotions and experiences and provides advice to clients about positive decision making.

A master's degree in marriage and family therapy from an accredited institution is essential to becoming a practicing marriage and family therapist. Often, degrees from online MFT programs are easier to obtain than degrees from traditional programs, as they allow students to work on their own time without sacrificing current income. Gaining a degree from an online MFT program is the perfect way to jumpstart your career in therapy. This, along with licensure, will allow you to become a marriage and family therapist in any setting.

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The Online MFT Experience

A key difference between traditional and online MFT is the “classroom” experience. Depending on the program, classes can be taught online through synchronous and/or asynchronous models. These models make use of interactive video, instructional media and online learning resources. Many online programs require students to have some basic technologies, a camera and a microphone to start, in order to be successful.

Many online marriage and family therapy programs often feature the following elements:

  • Virtual Live Classes: your built-in camera and microphone enable you to participate in face-to-face online classes and discussions, which allow you to interact with your teacher and classmates in real time
  • Learning Management System: this is the central hub where you can access course materials, homework, live sessions, and forums or message boards
  • Mobile and Offline Access: one of the major perks of online classes is being able to bring your courses with you anywhere you go, across multiple devices and platforms. Some programs even offer coursework that is available without a wifi connection
  • Access to Tech Support: a strong tech support team is a must when dealing with time-sensitive, tech-dependent assignments

To help ensure that students are getting an identical, or even superior, educational experience to that of a traditional program, online degree programs provide a few benefits. These benefits include on-campus immersions featuring real-world experience and small class sizes of around 15 students - at least for cutting edge programs.

Online MFT Program Admissions Requirements

It is important to contact your accredited institution of choice before you begin the application process for information about any prerequisites you may need to fulfill. Depending on the requirements of the program you are applying to, you may be asked to submit some or all of the following items:

  • Application: Fill out an initial application, which you can find on the website of your accredited institution of choice. Paper and online forms are both generally accepted.
  • Bachelor’s degree: You should have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution prior to applying to a master’s program.
  • Transcripts: Request transcripts in advance of the application deadline, and upload one official copy of each transcript from any postsecondary schools you have attended.
  • Personal statement: Write a personal statement, which is typically in the form of an essay. You may be required to submit multiple essays to fully express the intent and purpose of your application. Below are some common topics that should be mentioned in a statement.
  • Resume/CV: Upload a copy of your most recent resume or curriculum vitae as part of your application.
  • Letters of recommendation: Submit your letters of recommendation. The number of letters required varies with each school. Be sure to request them well in advance of the deadline.
  • Test scores: Mail in copies of your test scores. Many schools require GRE General Test scores or TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students; however, some programs do not require test scores at all.

Online MFT Program Curriculum

The curriculum and number of credits required to complete online mft programs vary widely depending on your school and specialization. However, typical mft programs online include courses in:

  • Human Sexuality and Intimacy
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Ethics and Law for Mental Health Professionals
  • Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy

Marriage and Family Therapist Career Outlook

Marriage and family therapists must be licensed in all 50 states. To qualify for licensure therapists must complete a master's degree program and log between 2,000 and 4,000 supervised training hours. A state-recognized exam is also required, and licensed therapists must complete continuing education credits annually to maintain their credential.

Recent graduates of master’s in marriage and family therapy programs can work in a variety of industries. Below are just a few of the typical careers (and their average salaries) that students enter into upon graduation, comnpiled with data pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics :

  • Marriage and Family Therapist - Average Annual Salary of $48,790
  • Therapist at an Outpatient Care Center - Average Annual Salary of $48,390
  • Therapist for State Government Facilities - Average Annual Salary of $72,580