7 Facts About Marriage & Family Therapy Schools and Careers

marriage-and-family-therapy-common-questionsMarriage and family therapists play an important role in our society.

They help couples work on their relationships, improve their communication skills and increase mutual respect. They also help kids develop into healthy human beings.

Read below to get answers to the questions students ask the most: online school options, financial aid, becoming a licensed therapist, and more. What other questions might you have about studying to become a marriage and family therapist?

Can I go to school online?

Taking classes online can help you earn a degree while you manage other obligations in your life. There are many accredited online schools that offer master’s degree programs in marriage and family therapy. If you plan to start your education with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, you’ll also be able to find a wide range of schools offering online programs.

What careers can I pursue with a degree in marriage and family therapy?

Many marriage and family therapists are employed in private practice. However, these professionals can also be found working in social services agencies, universities, research centers, prisons and community mental health centers. Some MFTs conduct family research and public policy projects, while others lead therapy sessions at rehabilitation centers that focus on family recovery from an individual’s substance abuse.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Students have access to a variety of options: Government financial aid (the most common), scholarships, private loans, grants and PLUS loans. However, before you can be considered for federal aid, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What type of accreditation should I look for in a psychology school?

If you plan to enroll in a marriage and family therapy program, look for accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). This organization gives their seal of approval for master’s, doctorates and postgraduate levels. The Higher Learning Commission, which is divided into six regional associations, gives institutional accreditations for bachelor’s degree programs.

What steps do I need to take to become licensed?

Marriage and family therapists are required to be licensed in order to practice in their state. Licensure requirements usually include a master’s degree and two years of supervised clinical experience. You’ll also need to pass a state-recognized exam. The Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards provides information on the requirements for each state.

What continuing education requirements should I expect throughout my career?

License renewal often hinges on continuing education. Many states require marriage and family therapists to complete a certain number of continuing education hours every few years. Since laws vary, check with the board of psychology in the state you practice in.

Is it better to work for myself in private practice or an institution within the marriage and family therapy field?

A number of factors influence whether a marriage and family therapist should work in private practice or for an institution. If you’re new to the field and lack a large patient base, you’ll have to work hard at marketing yourself and getting referrals—a process that will happen throughout your career. Working at an institution allows you to gain valuable knowledge from colleagues and likely receive employer-paid benefits. However, you may not have the schedule flexibility you’d have in private practice.

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