Best Online Master’s In Family Counseling Degrees 2022

Counselors need a master's or doctorate to qualify for licensure in their home state. This course introduces students to the latest techniques in counseling and therapy.

Best Online Master’s In Family Counseling Degrees 2022

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Applicants to master's in family counseling online programs need a bachelor's degree in psychology, counseling, or a related field. Some programs accept applicants who majored in another subject but completed specific undergraduate prerequisites. The curriculum focuses on counseling best practices and different groups' mental health needs.

Online family counseling programs qualify graduates to work as licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) or licensed professional clinical counselors (LPCCs). These professionals treat families in crisis. Graduates may also work as case managers or community health services managers.

This page lists the best online family counseling programs. Read on to learn about degree costs and common courses.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Family Counseling

What degree do I need to become a family counselor?

Counselors need a master's or doctorate to qualify for licensure in their home state. These degrees convey the academic knowledge and practical experience counselors need to treat patients.

What does a family counselor do?

Family counselors work with individuals and families to identify issues affecting mental health. These discussions help counselors recommend coping techniques and resources.

What's the difference between a family counselor and a therapist?

Both LMFTs and LPCCs treat people in need. Unlike LMFTs, LPCCs focus on substance misuse and mental health conditions. Like LMFTs, some LPCCs specialize in helping families.

What's the difference between a family counselor and a therapist?

Both LMFTs and LPCCs treat people in need. Unlike LMFTs, LPCCs focus on substance misuse and mental health conditions. Like LMFTs, some LPCCs specialize in helping families.

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Why Get a Degree in Family Counseling?

Online family counseling programs prepare enrollees for careers as LMFTs or LPCCs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for LMFTs to grow 16% from 2020-2030. Students can work with career advisors to select the right academic path.

Learning online offers many advantages over on-campus education, such as asynchronous learning. Asynchronous learners do not attend class at set times. Instead, they schedule coursework around other responsibilities. Online family counseling degrees at the master's level require some in-person experiences, such as residencies or internships.

How Much Does a Family Counseling Degree Cost?

According to EducationData.org, top private schools' master's in family counseling online degrees may cost more than $80,000 on average. Degree-seekers may pay a per-credit tuition rate. Most full-time students graduate in two years. Part-time enrollees need an extra year. Online learners should plan for additional expenses, such as books and travel to internship and practicum sites.

Degree-seekers can lower their expenses by applying for scholarships and grants. Students should first complete the FAFSA. Many schools and private aid programs use FAFSA results to award aid.

How Much Do Family Counseling Majors Make?

LMFTs earn a median annual salary of $51,340, according to the BLS. Professionals working for state government agencies or outpatient care centers earn the highest salaries. Geographical location also affects salary. In Utah, New Jersey, and Illinois, workers earn $67,650-$80,110. However, LMFTs making less in other states may experience a lower cost of living.

Education and experience play a major role in raising salary potential. Workers need a master's degree for licensure. Those who pursue a Ph.D. in psychology or counseling may work as college or university lecturers or professors. Postsecondary teachers make a median annual salary of $80,560. This exceeds the median annual salary of $41,950 for all occupations.

Courses in Family Counseling

Some universities offer combined LMFT/LPCC programs. These master's programs train learners in best practices and state regulations. Some specialization options include health psychology and Latino/a counseling. Learners take core courses alongside peers in the LMFT or LPCC track.

See below for three core courses students complete early in their program. Please note that programs' academic offerings, practicum experiences, and other graduation requirements vary by school. Prospective enrollees can contact an admissions or academic advisor to learn more.

  • Psychology of Interpersonal Communications

    Master's in family counseling online programs require this course in the first semester. Students learn the skills counselors and therapists need to treat patients, such as advanced therapy techniques. Enrollees also learn how to ask effective questions and gain patients' trust. Learners critique their conversational style and improve communication skills.
  • Evidence-Based Approaches to Psychotherapy

    This course introduces students to the latest techniques in counseling and therapy. Assignments cover different counseling methods and theoretical perspectives. Other readings go in depth with research's role in counseling. The course prepares degree-seekers to become lifelong learners and contribute throughout their career.
  • Multicultural Counseling

    This course prepares students to work with patients from many racial and ethnic backgrounds. Students analyze differences between and within groups, such as identity development, experiences, and attitudes. Learners also examine how racial and cultural privilege affects counselors' attitudes toward patients. Coursework involves reading the latest research on multicultural counseling.

Licensure for Family Counseling

Licensure requirements for LMFTs vary by state. However, all candidates need a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited university. They should also complete supervised work experience before and after earning a degree. Supervisors need an active LMFT license. The final step involves passing one or more exams.

Prospective LPCCs earn a license by meeting similar requirements. California residents need a master's in counseling or psychotherapy. They must also complete 3,000 hours of postgraduate supervised experience and take two exams. These exams include a state-specific exam covering relevant laws and ethical guidelines.

LMFTs and LPCCs can maintain their license by taking continuing education (CE) courses. CE courses cover the field's latest research and best practices. State licensure board websites feature a list of approved CE providers. Professionals can also earn CE credits by teaching a class or presenting at an academic conference. They must submit CE paperwork and a renewal fee by their state's deadline.

Best Master's in Family Counseling Degrees

See our rankings methodology page.

#1

Brigham Young University-Provo

School Information
Location Provo, Utah
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 78%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Prospective graduate students interested in pursuing a degree that provides a flexible format should consider Brigham Young University-Provo. Though located in Provo, Utah, the school offers online master's degrees for remote learners, including the master of science in marriage and family therapy. This adaptable program opens up access to full-time workers and others with scheduling challenges preventing in-person graduate education.

Unless otherwise stated, a bachelor’s degree in the major or the equivalent is usually required for admission. The enhanced job opportunities and potentially higher pay make the program a worthy pursuit for many learners. This credential lays the foundation for a doctorate or other terminal degree.

Tuition costs $7,290 annually. Many learners help foot the bill by securing grants and scholarships from the institution and outside sources. In addition to financial aid students don’t need to pay back, they may also want to consider federal or private loans.

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#2

Pepperdine University

School Information
Location Malibu, California
Admission Rate 32%
Graduation Rate 86%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Prospective family counseling graduate students who need extra flexibility in their program should consider Pepperdine University. The school administers online degrees from the campus in Malibu, California, including 12 online master's degrees such as the master of arts in clinical psychology. This adaptable degree is ideal for full-time workers, caregivers, and others who want to pursue graduate education but need flexibility to do it.

Applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree or a related credential to apply to master’s programs. Earning a master's is a worthy undertaking for many students because the investment often pays off with advanced job opportunities and potentially higher pay. The program also provides the foundational knowledge for a Ph.D.

Tuition costs about $34,900 annually. Learners can pay for their education with institutional and external grants and scholarships. Many students use loans to help pay for tuition.

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#3

Syracuse University

School Information
Location Syracuse, New York
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 83%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Syracuse University is home to several quality online graduate programs. The master's in marriage and family therapy is an excellent choice for students with a bachelor’s in therapy who want to advance their education. Enrollees gain more control over their schedules by completing the rigorous graduate curriculum remotely.

A 15-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio facilitates faculty mentorship opportunities and collaboration. Degree candidates acquire the advanced training employers want in potential hires knowledgeable about best practices. Obtaining this degree benefits enrollees who want to advance their careers and pursue higher-paying positions.

Tuition costs $38,880 annually. The financial aid department can explore aid with degree-seekers. Funding options may include scholarships and grants. When you add in student loans, used by about 42% of enrollees, there are plenty of ways to finance all or part of a program.

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#4

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global

School Information
Location Marion, Indiana
Graduation Rate 38%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students attend Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global for top-ranked degrees such as the online master's in marriage and family counseling/therapy. The degree goes much deeper in training highly skilled workers in the field compared to a bachelor's. The program lays the foundation for even more advanced education such as a doctorate.

Busy learners are drawn to the school because of the online format. Students do not need to sacrifice other important aspects of their lives such as work and family to earn this degree. Whether enrollees study in person or online, they benefit from a supportive academic environment.

School application requirements for a master’s include a bachelor’s degree and transcripts. Popular funding streams for those who qualify include loans and scholarships. Tuition costs Indiana residents about $11,083 annually.

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#5

Abilene Christian University

School Information
Location Abilene, Texas
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 61%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Abilene Christian University enrolls students in one of the nation’s best programs for online degree-seekers. This master of science in counseling psychology provides learners with advanced knowledge and training required for many higher-level jobs in the field. The degree prepares students for doctoral degrees and other terminal programs.

The school designs these programs to be delivered using an established online format, a big draw for many learners. The flexible program grants students more control over their schedules and makes education easier to fit with other priorities. Enrollees benefit from a supportive learning environment no matter their chosen mode of delivery.

For consideration, applicants usually need a bachelor's degree. Those who apply can expect an acceptance rate of about 61%. Students can expect to pay around $22,356 per year for tuition if they live in Texas. Degree candidates can use grants, loans, and scholarships to help fund their education.

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#6

Regent University

School Information
Location Virginia Beach, Virginia
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 57%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Regent University’s online graduate programs emphasize quality and affordability. The master of science in psychology - marriage and family program is an excellent choice for degree-holders with a bachelor’s in psychology who want to advance their careers in this field. Enrollees complete a rigorous curriculum using a flexible format that accommodates their schedules.

Degree candidates receive individualized attention with a 29-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. Faculty teach in a way that both educates and engages learners. By far the biggest benefit of this master’s is preparation for career advancement in this field and related ones, along with the foundational knowledge for a Ph.D.

Tuition costs $15,552 annually. Many learners qualify for grants and scholarships to help reduce the price of tuition. About 72% of enrollees take out student loans, so there are plenty of ways to fund this degree.

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#7

Capella University

School Information
Location Minneapolis, Minnesota
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

Many students attend schools such as Capella University to earn degrees from a distance, and the private school develops programs with them in mind. The institution’s 76 online master's degrees are a big draw to many degree-seekers who want to attend graduate school online. Learners interested in family counseling can pursue the master of science in marriage and family therapy.

The program's adaptability appeals to students with hectic schedules who need flexibility. They can earn the degree by attending sessions and completing coursework at convenient times that often do not require real-time interaction. Candidates gain invaluable knowledge they can use in their careers or to enter a doctoral program.

Master's degree-seekers usually need a bachelor's degree in the major or a related one to receive consideration. Contact the school to see how to apply to this program and submit the required documents.

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#8

Alliant International University-San Diego

School Information
Location San Diego, California
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 16%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Family counseling students at Alliant International University-San Diego can pursue an online degree that ranks highly among master's in couple and family therapy programs. The program goes much deeper in training highly skilled workers in the field compared to a bachelor's. The degree gives graduates the credential they need to pursue a terminal degree like a doctorate.

The school designs these programs to be delivered using an established online format, a big draw for many learners. Students can fit in other responsibilities such as work, caregiving, and family life because of the program’s flexibility. Enrollees benefit from a supportive learning environment no matter the mode of delivery they choose to pursue advanced education at this institution.

For consideration, applicants need a bachelor’s to apply to this program unless otherwise stated. The acceptance rate is 67% at this school, but expect some differences across programs. Financial aid options such as loans and scholarships can help students pay for tuition, which is $24,255 per year for California residents.

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#9

Mid-America Christian University

School Information
Location Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Graduation Rate 33%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students at Mid-America Christian University can pursue an online master's in counseling degree that ranks highly among programs. The program equips learners with advanced training that can lead to career advancement in their field. Master's degree-holders may also pursue a terminal degree such as a Ph.D.

Many learners must juggle other responsibilities, and this program accommodates that need. Students report being able to continue their careers and engage in family life without sacrificing a master’s degree. Enrollees benefit from academic rigor and flexibility. Faculty support and an engaging community play an integral role in enrollees' academic development.

School application requirements for a master’s include a bachelor’s degree and transcripts. Financial aid options such as loans and scholarships can help students pay for tuition, which is $11,124 per year for Oklahoma residents.

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#10

University of Southern Mississippi

School Information
Location Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 49%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Prospective graduate students interested in pursuing a degree that provides a flexible format should consider University of Southern Mississippi. A master's in child and family sciences is among the 21 online master's degrees delivered from the Hattiesburg campus. A busy schedule is no barrier to graduate education with degrees such as this one.

Applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree or a related credential to apply to master’s programs. What draws students to a master’s like such as this program is the advanced training it provides to learners who want to assume leadership roles and other higher-level opportunities. The degree may satisfy the entry requirements for a Ph.D. program in this field.

The average tuition for students living in Mississippi is $8,786 per year, and $10,786 if they live elsewhere. Many learners help foot the bill by securing grants and scholarships from the institution and outside sources. Students can also pursue loans from the government or private banks.

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