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Degree and certificate programs in marriage and family therapy are available at universities throughout Florida. Instruction in family counseling, psychopathology and counseling methods is typically included in these programs, which are all offered at the graduate level.
When researching programs, its important to note the state licensure requirements for working as a marriage and family therapist. Clinical training, internships or capstone projects are included in most programs, and such opportunities may help candidates fulfill some of the licensing requirements in this state.
Florida State University
This university in Tallahassee offers a PhD program in marriage and family therapy. To be considered for admission, applicants must submit GRE scores, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a personal statement and 3 reference letters. Exceptional applicants may qualify for fellowships; teaching and research assistantships are also available.
Students must earn a minimum of 74 credits to comply with the accrediting agency's regulations; 33 credits are earned through supervised clinical experience and 24 are earned by completing a dissertation. Additional credits are earned by taking classes such as family sciences, family issues, research methods and college teaching methods. Students may be able to work in the FSU Center for Couple and Family Therapy and receive supervised clinical training.
Nova Southeastern University
At the Ft. Lauderdale campus of NSU, students can find 3 graduate programs in the marriage and family therapy field. Admission into the family therapy master's program mandates that applicants have bachelor's degrees with at least 3.0 GPAs. Additionally, submitting a personal statement referencing the applicant's current familiarity with the field and why he/she is interested in the family therapy field is necessary. Once accepted, master's students can expect to complete 60 credits of coursework and clinical training. Some of the required courses include couples counseling, marriage and family therapy research, marriage and family therapy ethics, group counseling and personality theory. The clinical training portion requires students to obtain 500 hours of direct client contact. A comprehensive exam concludes each term.
At the doctoral level, students can choose between a PhD in Family Therapy program and a Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) program. Both programs require applicants to have master's degrees with at least 3.5 GPAs. Some additional factors used when considering applicants include previous clinical experience, writing abilities and familiarity with systemic theory.
The DMFT program emphasizes advanced human systems and is more clinically-oriented that the PhD program. The curriculum is made up of 78 credits; courses may focus on system theories, universal family counseling, psychopathology and couple's therapy methods. Students also complete multiple practicums and complete a clinical project instead of a dissertation.
While DMFT students prepare for advanced clinical positions, this PhD program prepares students to work in research, academia, leadership and clinical settings. The 96-credit curriculum focuses on enhancing students' clinical abilities and research skills. Students can expect to study various therapeutic systems and learn about research methods. Additionally, concepts for teaching family therapy and instruction for acting as a family therapy supervisor are taught. Students also spend 4 terms completing clinical practicums in the campus' Family Therapy Clinic. The program can be completed within 5 years, and must be finished in 7 years.
Palm Beach Atlantic University
Students at this West Palm Beach university can consider applying to the counseling education master's program and choosing the Master of Science program with a specialization in marriage, couple and family counseling. Courses in this program cover therapy theories, psychopathology, family structures, human development and marriage theories. Students also complete internships in supervised clinical settings. The program accommodates working professionals by offering classes in the evening.
St. Thomas University
In Miami Gardens, individuals can apply to a marriage and family therapy degree program or graduate certificate program offered at STU. The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy program consists of foundational courses, core courses and electives, in addition to clinical training. Foundational course topics cover personality theory, research methods, ethics in marriage and family therapy, abnormal psychology and human sexuality. Core courses introduce students to the family therapy field, discuss family dynamics and teach couples counseling applications.
A graduate certificate program in marriage and family therapy is available for those who already have master's degrees in counseling or related fields and want to learn more about this specialty. The program includes 6 classes and a fieldwork experience. Students may study advanced therapeutic methods, human sexuality, family dynamics and couples therapy. A capstone exam concludes the program.
DeLand's MS in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling program requires applicants to have undergraduate degrees and take the GRE. In addition to obtaining 1,000 hours of clinical training, students take classes in family structures, couples counseling, marriage and family psychopathology, human sexuality and human growth. Graduates may qualify to take the National Board for Certified Counselors exam. With an additional 2 years of supervised clinical experience earned after graduation, graduates may be eligible for state licensure for marriage and family therapists.
Individuals who hold master's degrees accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs can apply to the marriage, couple and family counseling certificate program. The classes include psychological treatment of marriage and family disorders, human sexuality, drug and alcohol counseling, couple's counseling and child therapy. Clinical training is acquired through a practicum and 2 internships.
University of Central Florida
Aspiring marriage and family therapists can attend UCF in Orlando to earn either a master's degree or graduate certificate in marriage, couple and family therapy. The master's program is made up of 6 credits of core classes, 45 credits of concentration courses and 12 credits of clinical work. The classes cover counseling methods for couples and family, diagnosis procedures, human sexuality and counseling theories. Students conduct supervised practicums in UCF's Community Counseling Clinic, which result in 100 direct patient contact hours. An additional 900 hours are obtained through 2 internships. A portfolio review and final exam concludes the program.
The certificate program is designed for students in the graduate social work, psychology and counselor education programs or current counselors and therapists who want to learn about the specialty. Students earn 15-17 credits through coursework and clinical training.
University of Florida
Several graduate-level degree programs in marriage and family counseling are offered at UF in Gainesville. Applicants must have bachelor's degrees and GRE scores in order to apply to any of the programs. Students can choose to study marriage and family counseling in a master's-level dual degree program that leads to a Specialist in Education (Ed.S) and Master of Education or Master of Arts; students who complete a thesis are awarded the MA degree. Alternatively, students who already hold a relevant master's degree can complete the Ed.S program only. Those looking to enroll in a doctoral program can choose a Doctor of Education program in marriage and family counseling.
Regardless of which marriage and family counseling degree program a student enrolls in, he or she is expected to complete core counselor education classes, such as counseling basics, therapy theories, diversity in counseling and counseling research. This core curriculum also includes a practicum and internship. Classes relevant to the marriage and family counseling field that are also required of all students in each of these programs include community counseling, drug and alcohol counseling, human sexuality, marriage therapy, family therapy and ethical issues.
University of Miami
The marriage and family therapy master's program at the University of Miami in Coral Gables meets the curricular standards for obtaining state licensure for marriage and family therapists. The program considers applicants who have GPAs of at least 3.3, combined GRE scores of at least 1100, undergraduate psychology coursework and reference letters. Applicants can make themselves even more competitive by obtaining relevant work or volunteer experience. Students start out by completing 15 classes. Afterward, they complete a year of practical training that results in 1,000 hours of patient care experience. Students can graduate within 2-4 years.
Potential licensed marriage and family therapists must complete a graduate program that includes a supervised clinical experience resulting in at least 180 hours of direct patient contact hours. Additionally, applicants must obtain 2 years of supervised clinical experience after graduation, pass a national exam and complete 3 additional classes regarding HIV/AIDS and domestic violence, state regulations and medical accuracy. Licensure is granted by the Florida Department of Health's Division of Medical Quality Assurance.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Florida State University||University; public; midsize city||Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy||$11,543 in-state, $25,975 out-of-state*|
|Nova Southeastern University||University; private; nonprofit; large suburb|| Master of Science in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling Specialization,
Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy,
Doctor of Philosophy in Family Therapy
|Palm Beach Atlantic University||University; private; nonprofit; small city||Master of Science in Counselor Education - Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling||$9,850*|
|St. Thomas University||University; private; nonprofit; large suburb|| Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy,
Post-Master's Marriage and Family Therapy Certificate
|Stetson University||University; private; nonprofit; midsize city|| Master of Science in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling,
Certificate for Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
|University of Central Florida||University; public; large suburb|| Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple and Family Therapy,
Graduate Certificate in Marriage, Couple and Family Therapy
|$8,872 in-state, $27,715 out-of-state*|
|University of Florida||University; public; midsize city|| Master of Education/Specialist Education in Marriage and Family Counseling,
Master of Arts in Education/Specialist in Education in Marriage and Family Counseling,
Specialist in Education,
Doctor of Education in Marriage and Family Counseling
|$12,737 in-state, $29,302 out-of-state*|
|University of Miami||University; private; nonprofit; large suburb||Master of Science in Education in Marriage and Family Therapy||$34,248*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator