Online MFT Programs: Marriage & Family Therapy Masters

Graduate Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy: Overview

Online Marriage and Family Therapy Programs— also known as online MFT programs — use psychology and counseling to understand and promote healthy relationships. This could include committed and married couples, parents and children, and extended family. Some programs may center on a particular treatment model, focus on specific patient populations like LGBT family counseling, or approach marriage and family counseling from a specific perspective—e.g. Christian counseling—while others might be designed broadly to offer more generalized expertise.

Find Online MFT Programs That Suit You

Degrees may be offered at several levels ranging from masters to doctorate, and be open to new or experienced counselors. If you’re looking for a convenient, flexible way to earn your marriage counseling degree online, MFT programs may be for you.

Online Marriage and Family Therapy Grad degree

What Are Online MFT Programs?

Online marriage and family therapy programs focus on how to analyze, diagnose, and treat psychological conditions that affect couples and family relationships. As a result, graduate programs may touch on topics shared by other types of counseling, including things like psychopharmacology or the needs of multicultural or diverse relationships. Online MFT programs are designed to cover a range of topics to prepare students to help their patients in the real world.

Schools offer MFT programs online to accommodate students’ personal, professional and learning needs. If you’re already a licensed marriage and family therapist, for example, but want to expand your practice area or learn more about issues relevant to your patients, an online program could offer the flexibility you need to balance your education with your patents’ needs.

However, be aware that some primarily online MFT programs may still have offline elements, including things like clinical training through an internship or practicum, or presenting your thesis or dissertation, which may need to be completed on campus. Additionally, if you’re enrolling in an online program designed for students seeking licensure, make sure the program you choose aligns with the education requirements in your state.

Popular Schools with Online Counseling Psychology Programs – Degrees

ProgramInstitutionDegree Awarded
Marriage and Family TherapyWestern SeminaryMMFT
Advanced Child, Family, and Couple TherapyTulane UniversityN/A
DA in Marriage and Family Therapy StudiesEastern UniversityDA
Doctoral program in Family TherapyAmridge University (formerly Southern Christian University)PhD
Marriage & Family TherapyMinnesota State University – MankatoN/A
Master of Science – Counseling – Marital and Family TherapyMid-America Christian UniversityMS
Marriage, Family and Child CounselingAmerican Global UniversityMS
Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage & Family Therapy – Systemic LeadershipNorthcentral UniversityPhD
MS in School Counseling – Marriage, Couple, & Family CounselingWalden UniversityN/A
EDD: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage and FamilyLiberty University OnlineN/A

Online Marriage and Family Therapy Programs: Areas of Focus

Marriage and family therapy is by nature a diverse profession. The types of issues you work on could be informed by your location, client base, and area of expertise. That’s why some people may prefer to focus on serving specific types of people or areas of need. Certain MFT programs online offer concentrations to support those goals. Some examples include the following.

  • Grief Counseling
  • Marriage Therapy
  • LGBT Issues
  • Trauma
  • Substance Abuse
  • Couple and family counseling

And more! This is not an exhaustive list of issues your program may cover or focus on. Specifics are likely to vary by program, so follow up with your programs of interest to learn more about your options.

Example Marriage and Family Therapy Curriculum Topics

Online MFT courses generally focus on psychology and counseling concepts and techniques to help resolve interpersonal issues in families and relationships. But how they go about that might vary.

Some programs may adhere to specific social values, philosophies, or treatment models. A few examples include structural strategic, solution-based, and cognitive-behavioral family therapy. This might affect the way course material is approached in your classes. As such, it may be useful to look at the courses offered in the online MFT programs you’re considering to better understand the kind of education provided by that school.

Some examples of courses you may find in various marriage and family therapy graduate programs include the following.

  • Human Sexuality
  • Multicultural, Diverse and Underserved Populations
  • Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Human Development
  • Substance Abuse

Some programs may also be designed to help students become licensed to practice marriage and family therapy in that state. The specific requirements for earning and maintaining that license may vary. In many cases, prerequisites include earning a masters degree, passing an exam, and completing sufficient field experience. More details about licensure requirements can be found via the issuing body in the state where you plan to live and work.i

For more information about courses or how your online mft program might support your path to licensure, contact your chosen schools.

List of Online MFt Programs

Types of Marriage and Family Programs ExamplesDegree Level & Degree Awarded

Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy – Couple Therapy

Doctorate – DMFT

M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Masters – MS

MS – Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy

Masters – MS

Marriage and Family Therapy DMFT

Doctorate – DMFT

Doctoral Program in Family Therapy


Master of Arts Marriage & Family Therapy

Masters – MA

Advanced Child, Family, and Couple Therapy Certificate

Graduate Certificate

Accredited Online MFT Programs: CACREP and COAMFTE

One way to evaluate an online marriage and family therapy program could be its accreditation status. Accreditation status can be seen as an indication of a graduate program’s quality. Accreditation could be awarded by region-specific accrediting agencies, or programmatically by organizations within that discipline.

In Marriage and Family Therapy, two accrediting organizations of note include the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFTE), and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). In some cases, holding a marriage and family therapy degree from an accredited program could impact employment opportunities or even qualification for licensure.

For more information about CACREP or COAMFTE accredited online programs, visit the CACREP or COAMFTE websites, the US Department of Education website, or follow up with your selected schools.

Types of Online Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

Choosing your preferred online marriage and family counseling graduate programs may involve juggling a few different priorities, such as your preferred concentration area, number of credit hours you have to earn, accreditation, status and license requirements in your state. Other concerns that might impact your search could include your level of education, professional background, and the types of experiences you want your program to offer.

Online MFT programs may be offered in the following forms.

  • Online Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy Programs typically award either a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (abbreviated as MSMFT). Because masters education may be a prerequisite for licensure in many areas, many of these programs may be designed to accommodate new therapists seeking initial licensure. Programs vary, so contact schools directly for details.
  • Online PhD Programs Marriage and Family Therapy include PhD, Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), and Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) programs. These may be designed to support counseling practice in the field, or roles in academia, research, or leadership. The focus of a program may depend on the school, degree type or concentration area.
  • Online MFT Graduate Certificate Programs are shorter than full degree programs and may target specific topics within marriage and family counseling. They may be an attractive option for professionals not currently looking for a new degree, but who require continuing education to maintain licensure. In some cases, credits may also be transferrable to compatible degree programs. This could be a great way for someone new to the field to determine if online MFT masters programs are for them. Programs vary, so contact schools directly to see if this is an option.

What Does a Marriage and Family Therapist Do?

Marriage and family therapists work to help couples and families overcome relationship challenges and achieve their goals. They might help clients identify and process their feelings, make decisions, change damaging behaviors, or foster healthy relationships.

MFTs serve a wide range of clients in many settings. These could include private practices, social services agencies, hospitals, and non-profits. Because the needs of each patient might be impacted by things like culture, beliefs, and personal background, it is important for MFTs to tailor services to each client.

Top States for Employment for Marriage and Family Therapists
StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
New Jersey4,220$75,110

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Marriage and Family Therapists
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT$78,03040
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ$72,58080
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA$70,300140
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$70,0503,340
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC$69,2700

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top 36 Online Graduate Schools with Online Graduate Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Offering two quality, competency-based online learning formats: FlexPath & GuidedPath
  • Online degrees in business, counseling, education, health administration, human services, information technology, nursing, public health, psychology and social work.
  • 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)
  • Northcentral University

  • Walden University

  • Liberty University Online

  • Houston Baptist University

  • Capella University

  • Pepperdine University

  • Saybrook University

  • Brandman University

  • Grand Canyon University

  • UMassOnline