The state of Arkansas requires marriage and family therapists to be licensed by the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling (ABEC). To qualify for licensure, prospective licensees must hold a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited institution that includes 60 hours of graduate-level coursework and also meets the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) educational requirements. In addition, prospective licensees need to have at least three years of supervised professional experience and must pass the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) exam, as well as an oral examination given by ABEC. Other requirements may also be required to obtain MFT licensure.
Located in Searcy, Harding University provides students with one master's degree option. The program is based upon a systematic integration of faith-based values and practical clinical approaches to therapy. Graduates are trained to work as therapists in churches and mental health centers. In addition to completing 60 semester hours of coursework, which includes four practicum courses with a minimum of 500 hours of client contact work, students are required to complete 100 hours of supervised clinical experience. All full-time students may apply to one of four scholarships, three of which are specific to MFT studies.
John Brown University (JBU)
Siloam Spring's JBU offers prospective students a master's degree program in marriage and family therapy through the university's Graduate School. The program is based on the academic standards of the AAMFT. The core counseling and therapy courses for the program include child and adolescent counseling, human development, family systems, Christian counseling foundations and psychopharmacology. All students are also required to complete two practicum courses and two internship experiences for a total of 64 credits. Three of the credits must be completed from a list of five possible elective courses. Students can take classes at the main campus or at one of JBU's off-campus centers. Summer classes are also available, and many courses are taught on-campus and online. Students in any of JBU's counseling or therapy programs are also encouraged to add additional areas of emphasis, including play therapy, community counseling and school counseling.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR)
UALR is located in the city of Little Rock. The university has one graduate-level certificate program in marriage and family therapy offered through the School of Social Work. The program includes enrollment options for students currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at UALR, as well as those who have already completed a master's degree in mental health counseling, psychology or social work. The program consists of 21 semester hours of social work courses specifically geared toward marriage and family therapy. Course topics include diversity and oppression, theories and ethics of marriage, the family life cycle and play therapy. Students may enroll in the program at any time. The program does not meet all of the educational requirements needed for Arkansas's MFT licensure. However, students may take additional courses beyond those required for the certificate, including practicum and internship courses, to meet the state's MFT standards.
Three schools in Arkansas offer family and child therapy training and education through graduate-level degree and certificate programs. The master's degree programs offered prepare graduates to meet the educational requirements for MFT licensure. While child therapy is not a specific focus of these programs, students could have the option to take coursework that covers the topic. In addition to completing one of these educational programs, students may need to perform other requirements in order to earn MFT licensure.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Child and Family Therapy Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Harding University||4-year; private, not-for-profit; distant town||Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy||$14,504*|
|John Brown University||4-year; private, not-for-profit; distant town||Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy||$13,152*|
|University of Arkansas at Little Rock||4-year; public; midsize city||Marriage and Family Therapy Certificate||$8,752 in-state; $18,112 out-of-state*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.