Individuals wanting to prepare for careers in family and child therapy in North Carolina can find three area universities that feature relevant master's and doctoral degree programs. They could study marriage and family therapy or medical family therapy. Students may choose thesis or non-thesis options. Some programs require a dissertation. Practical learning is achieved through supervised clinical experiences and internships that include dealing directly with patients.
Appalachian State University
At this Boone-based university, students can find a Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)-accredited master's degree program in marriage and family therapy at the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School. Students can choose between a 48-credit non-thesis option and a 45-credit thesis option. Courses examine the major approaches to family and child therapy; students are expected to compare and evaluate different approaches and integrate them into their therapy practices. Classes include marriage and family therapy philosophies, child development, diagnosis and mediation. Each student completes a 12-month internship that results in 500 hours of direct client contact.
East Carolina University (ECU)
The Greeneville-based East Carolina University's Department of Child Development and Family Relations has a marriage and family therapy master's program that's accredited by COAMFTE. Applicants should expect keen competition since space is limited in the program, and admission requirements include having suitable undergraduate GPAs, GRE scores and recommendation letters. The two-year program encourages students to develop their own therapeutic styles, which they can apply during supervised clinical training sessions at the ECU Family Therapy Clinic. Students also gain practical training in off-campus clinical settings and can expect to graduate with at least 500 hours of direct client experience.
Additionally, ECU offers a COAMFTE-accredited PhD in Medical Family Therapy program for those who want to conduct research in the field while gaining clinical experience and learning about leadership. Students learn about research methodologies and issues affecting families, as well as complete supervised clinical practicum experiences and an internship. A dissertation is also required for this three-year program.
The marriage and family therapy master's degree programs at the Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham campuses of Pfeiffer University are COAMFTE-accredited programs that prepare graduates for marriage and family therapist licensure. When applying, individuals should submit proof of completing a bachelor's program with 9-12 credits of social sciences coursework, GRE scores, three recommendation letters and a resume, among other requirements. The curriculum helps students understand family structures, family therapy concepts, therapy procedures, common family issues, child therapy and human development. The clinical training requirement ensures that students obtain at least 500 hours of direct client contact. To graduate, students must complete all 66 required credits and pass a comprehensive exam or complete a thesis.
Becoming a marriage and family therapist in North Carolina requires licensure from the North Carolina Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board. To qualify for licensure, individuals must complete a relevant master's degree program that includes clinical training and pass the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards' (AMFTRBs) Examination in Marital and Family Therapy. All three of the North Carolina-based schools listed above feature programs that prepare students for the licensure exam. A comparison table includes tuition rates.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Child and Family Therapy Degree Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Appalachian State University||University, public; distant town||Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy||$7,409 in-state, $19,951 out-of-state*|
|East Carolina University||University, public; small city|| Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy,
Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Family Therapy
|$6,857 in-state, $19,459 out-of-state*|
|Pfeiffer University||University, private, not-for-profit; rural distant||Master of Marriage and Family Therapy||$11,520*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator