Family Therapist Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Family therapists work with couples and families to help mediate conflict and resolve relationship issues. Read on to learn more about education in this field.

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Aspiring family therapists must earn a master's degree in marriage and family therapy and complete a clinical residency in order to take the licensure exam necessary to practice in the field. Graduate certificates are also available for experienced therapists who want to redirect their careers toward family therapy, and there are doctoral programs for individuals interested in family therapy research.

Schools with Family Therapy Programs

These schools offer graduate-level family therapy programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Graduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 4-year, Public Master's In-state: $10,610
Out-of-state: $22,580
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public Master's In-state: $10,770
Out-of-state: $27,335
University of Central Florida Orlando, FL 4-year, Public Master's, Certificate In-state: $6,916
Out-of-state: $25,759
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Doctorate In-state: $16,122
Out-of-state: $31,674
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL 4-year, Public Doctorate In-state: $9,684
Out-of-state: $24,116
Brigham Young University Provo, UT 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctorate $6,500
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $39,984
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, Public Doctorate In-state: $8,396
Out-of-state: $25,574
Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX 4-year, Public Master's, Doctorate In-state: $4,858
Out-of-state: $11,878
Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctorate $16,760

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for family therapy schools:

  • Prospective students should make sure that the program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.
  • It can be helpful to look at residency placement rates for graduates of the program.
  • Students may want to find out what percent of graduates ultimately pass licensure exams.
  • Prospective students with professional commitments or other scheduling constraints may want to try to find programs that are available in online or part-time formats.

Master's Degree Programs

In master's degree programs in marriage and family therapy, students prepare to work with couples and families to resolve issues and strengthen relationships. They take advanced courses in psychology and counseling techniques, and they gain real-world experience through clinical practicums. Upon completion, graduates are prepared for the 2000 to 4000-hour residency training that they must complete before taking the licensure exam.

Post-Graduate Certificate Programs

Post-graduate certificates in marriage and family therapy are available for individuals who already hold a general master's degree in counseling or a different type of therapy. They allow professional therapists to broaden their range of treatment specialties or direct their professional practice specifically toward marriage and family therapy. These programs typically take less than a year to complete, and they may be offered online to accommodate the needs of working professionals.

Doctoral Degree Programs

For individuals who are interested in conducting research in family therapy, PhD programs are available. Some programs are designed specifically for individuals interested researching and writing a dissertation on family therapy theory or policy; graduates typically pursue academic research and teaching positions. Other PhD programs combine research and clinical training so that students emerge as both scholars and practitioners and can direct their careers toward either field. In total, these programs take at least three years of full-time study to complete.

When researching family therapy programs, prospective students should find a school with an accredited program that suits their future career aspirations.

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