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Family and Child Therapy Degree Programs in Tennessee

Research family and child therapy degrees in Tennessee, which currently has three universities offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs, tuition info and program options for these schools and decide which program is right for you.

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Essential Information

Prospective family and child therapy students have three public and private, nonprofit institutional options to choose from in Tennessee. These schools offer graduate degree programs in the field. Some courses may be available online. Students gain practical experience through internships and clinical work. In some cases, research opportunities may be available. In order to graduate, students may need to complete a thesis, dissertation or comprehensive exam.


East Tennessee State University (ETSU)

Johnson City-based ETSU offers prospective family and child therapy student's a 48-credit master's degree in counseling with a concentration in couples and family counseling. The course requirements for the concentration include topics ranging from postmodern approaches and trauma treatment to substance abuse and psychopathology. In addition to the core and concentration course requirements, students must also complete one-to-six credits of internship experience and submit a thesis or enroll in a guided elective course.

Lee University

The College of Arts and Sciences at Cleveland, Tennessee's Lee University provides students with a master's degree program in marriage and family therapy that prepares students to work in church counseling, mental health and substance abuse centers, among other facilities. The program consists of 60 semester hours of instruction. Core course topics include psychopathology, Christian perspectives, human sexuality and personality theory. Some elective topics cover childhood trauma, counseling adolescents and children, play therapy and eating disorders. In addition to completing the core courses of the program, students are required to take several elective courses, a practicum course, two internship-based classes and pass a comprehensive examination. All students are also required to complete 500 hours of clinical services work, with more than 100 of those hours being under the direct supervision of a professional therapist.

Richmont Graduate University (RGU)

Located in Chattanooga, RGU's School of Counseling has a master's degree program in marriage and family therapy based on the integration of systems theory and Christian theology. Classes are taught during the day, with students able to choose between a two-, three- or four-year program, and the program qualifies students for both LMFT and LPC licensure. The program may also be combined with certification programs in Christian sex therapy and child and adolescent, addictions, trauma and spirituality counseling.

Johnson University

Located in Knoxville, Johnson University's School of Social and Behavioral Sciences administers a master's degree program for students interested in family and child therapy. The program aims to integrate theoretical and practical approaches to therapy and counseling that are based upon a Christian worldview. With access to six faculty members skilled in counseling, students receive personalized supervision and instruction. Johnson University provides students with two options for completing the program that vary in length and internship experience access. Courses are taught through a combination of in-class lectures, online learning and real-world-based activities. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared for Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider (LPC-MHSP) as well as LMFT licensure.

Trevecca Nazarene University (TNU)

Prospective students at TNU, located in the city of Nashville, may pursue a master's degree. The master's degree program consists of 60 hours of coursework, including several core counseling and therapy training classes and three internship courses. Course topics include lifespan development, child in the family system, abnormal psychology, marital lifecycle and divorce.

TNU's doctoral program is a clinical counseling degree program with an emphasis in teaching and supervision that includes a marriage and family therapy concentration. Students are trained to work in clinical, administrative and research settings. The program includes 66 semester hours of coursework ranging from in-class lectures and supervised clinical internships to intensive individual research courses. Several prerequisite courses in topics such as socio-cultural diversity, ethics and abnormal psychology are required to enter the program. The last 18 semester hours of the program are devoted exclusively to researching and writing the student's dissertation. Most accepted students have already obtained LMFT licensure through a master's degree program, which is part of the admission requirements to the doctoral program.

Lipscomb University (LU)

Lipscomb University, also located in Nashville, offers a master's program in Marriage and Family Therapy. The master's program requires 60 hours of curriculum, offered over a 24-month sequence. The program is offered full-time and provides an additional 500 hours of clinical supervision. Coursework discusses the family life cycle, advanced psychopathology, non-traditional families, spirituality, and ethics. An optional intermediate statistics course is also offered for students. Four practicum experiences are included in the coursework.

Career Requirements

Tennessee requires practicing marriage, family and child therapists to be licensed by the state's Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists and Licensed Pastoral Therapists. To qualify for licensure, prospective licensees must be 18 years old, hold a master's or doctoral degree in the field from an accredited institution, have completed a supervised practicum or internship of at least 300 hours and two years of post-master's degree clinical experience and pass the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT) exam. All of the master's programs profiled below meet the education requirements for LMFT licensure. Prospective licensees seeking licensure by upgrade, reciprocity or endorsement have additional requirements. Prospective family and child therapy students have five public and private, nonprofit institutional options to choose from in Tennessee.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Family and Child Therapy Programs Offered Graduate Tuition (2015-2016)
East Tennessee State University Four-year, public; small city MA in Counseling - Couples and Family Counseling $7,812 in-state; $21,726 out-of-state*
Lee University Four-year, private not-for-profit; small city MS in Marriage and Family Therapy $14,400*
Richmont Graduate University Four-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city MA in Marriage and Family Therapy $14,875*
Johnson University Four-year, private not-for-profit; fringe rural MA in Marriage and Family Therapy/Clinical Mental Health Counseling $6,750*
Trevecca Nazarene University Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy,
PhD in Clinical Counseling: Teaching and Supervision - Marriage and Family Therapy Cognate
$10,012*
Lipscomb University Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Marriage and Family Therapy $18,432*

Sources: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

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