Online Master's in Marriage and Family Counseling: Program Information

Dec 04, 2019

Get info about online master's degree programs in marriage and family counseling. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options

Essential Information

Online marriage and family counseling master's degree programs are plentiful. The programs usually result in a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling. Some schools offer a master's degree in psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy.

Online master's degree program courses are conducted entirely online and typically require at least a webcam and microphone to participate in lectures. Some programs include a clinical internship at a local counseling center or agency that may last for up to one year. Programs typically prepare graduates to apply for state licensure as a marriage and family counselor.

Applicants are required to hold a bachelor's degree, and some schools might require that students have completed some undergraduate courses in psychology.

Learning Environment

Many online master's degree programs in marriage and family counseling take at least three years to complete. In addition to a computer and Internet access, students must have an up-to-date operating system, DVD/CD player, webcam and microphone. Learning takes place through online and audio streaming, textbooks and DVDs. Instructors communicate with students through email, discussion boards and chat forums.

Common Coursework

Program coursework for an online master's degree program in marriage and family counseling typically includes introductory and advanced classes in family therapy, counseling practices, group counseling, human and family development, ethics and the psychology of marriage and families. Study is usually conducted in adolescent and child therapy, human sexuality, couples therapy, violence and substance abuse. Some programs require participation in clinical internships.

Counseling Theory and Practice

These types of courses study therapy models and current techniques. Topics addressed include note taking, reports and diagnoses. In some cases, students might have the opportunity to develop individual counseling styles.

Human Development

Both individual and family development is examined in these types of courses. Social and psychological growth is discussed. Personality theories and cognitive development are also covered.

Ethics in Counseling

Professional conduct and codes are addressed in counseling ethics courses. Topics include client relationships, confidentiality and counselor responsibilities.

Graduate Career Information

Graduates of an online master's degree program in marriage and family counseling can go on to work in clinics, community counseling centers or in private practice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the job growth rate for marriage and family therapists is expected to be 22% between 2018 and 2028. In 2018, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for marriage and family therapists was $50,090.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of an online master's degree program in marriage and family counseling are eligible to take the mandatory licensing examination in many states. Though requirements vary by state, completion of continuing education credits may apply for license renewal. Graduates may also choose to become accredited by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) or certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Continuing education requirements may apply in order to maintain certification.

Individuals will have no problem finding online master's degree programs in marriage and family counseling. Many of these programs take at least three years to complete, and most lectures and coursework can be done entirely online, with many programs requiring on-site internships, as well.

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