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
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||4-year, Public||Master's|| In-state: $10,770
|University of Central Florida||Orlando, FL||4-year, Public||Master's, Certificate|| In-state: $6,916
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI||4-year, Public||Doctorate|| In-state: $16,122
|Florida State University||Tallahassee, FL||4-year, Public||Doctorate|| In-state: $9,684
|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
|Texas Tech University||Lubbock, TX||4-year, Public||Master's, Doctorate|| In-state: $4,858
|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.