29 Best Online Master’s in Family Counseling Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

Healthy families are the cornerstone of healthy communities. Whether you’re interested in helping teens navigate the murky waters of adolescence or you’re passionate about helping couples find ways to strengthen their relationships, a Master’s of Science in Family Counseling will allow you work with diverse populations in equally diverse settings.

Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are part of exploding industry; it’s projected that the demand for them will rise an astounding 22 percent in the next few years. It’s also a notably stable and secure job title. On average, MFTs earn over $49,000 annually, though it’s possible to earn upwards of $75,000 a year.

Whatever your financial or vocational situation, an online degree is an excellent way to advance your career. From flexible online class settings to individualized attention from faculty, not to mention a typically lower cost per credit hour, online degrees have a lot to offer students, especially students who need to continue working full time. These programs below will give you access to strong graduate programs without breaking the bank. And you’ll be able to balance school with all your other responsibilities.

What are the Best Online Master’s in Family Counseling?

Though some of these schools are large, research universities and others small, religiously based colleges, each of them offer renowned online graduate programs in family and couples therapy. Through curricula that balance theory with practicums, each of the schools below will give you the best distance education in marriage and family counseling in the nation. We know that because we’ve analyzed diverse data sets—including each school’s reputation, retention, affordability, and return on investment—to arrive the country’s very best masters in family counseling programs. First we took those with the best reputation and retention rates, which reflects student satisfaction, then considered affordability and the average early salaries of graduates. What we got was a thoroughly researched list providing empirical evidence of academic excellence. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

 
 

Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Family Counseling Degrees

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Arizona State University
    Location

    Phoenix, AZ

    Tuition

    $475

    Overview

    The largest public university in the United States, Arizona State University is home to nearly 83,000 students, dispersed among its Tempe, Phoenix, Polytechnic, West, and online campuses. Founded in 1885, ASU has a long history of academic higher education, and has been highly ranked for its research, development, and quality over its long history.

    Features

    The online Master of Science in Family and Human Development at Arizona State University is a one-of-a-kind program. Rather than taking a traditional counseling approach, this program is designed for those who are interested in a broader “applied practitioner” approach. Here are some of the elements you can expect from this program:

    • An accelerated study totalling 30-credit-hours and completable in 15-18 months
    • Classes like Theoretical Issues in Child Development and Social Statistics
    • Preparation for a career in a clinical setting, human services, or the private industry

    Notables

    For the second year in a row, Arizona State University has nabbed the #1 spot on US News & World Report’s list of “Most Innovative Schools in America.” It also holds its ground in the big leagues of rankings, coming in at 47th in the United States and 93rd in the world for the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

  2. LeTourneau University
    Location

    Longview, TX

    Tuition

    $615

    Overview

    Located in Longview, Texas, LeTourneau University is a private, Christian university that originally began as a technical institute after World War II. Since then it has developed into thriving university with undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as online education centers through branch campuses in Dallas and Houston.

    Features

    The hybrid model Master of Arts in Counseling at LeTourneau University allows students to focus their studies in one of three branches: Professional Counseling, School Counseling, and Marriage and Family Counseling. Being a faith-based university, the curriculum uses theology at the core of their instruction. Some of the classes you can expect to take in the 44-credit-hour program include:

    • Healthy Family Functioning
    • Human Sexuality & Sex Therapy
    • Psychopathology: Diagnosis & Treatment of Mental Disorders

    Notables

    LeTourneau University consistently receives respectable rankings from US News & World Report for its master’s degree programs, and it was recently included in a “Best Value” list for its affordability.

  3. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $565

    Overview

    The largest Evangelical Christian university in the world, Liberty University found its start in 1971. Although its on-campus enrollment is just around 13,800 students, Liberty University has over 100,000 students enrolled in its online program. The university tends to approach their curriculum from a conservative angle; Young America’s Foundation listed Liberty as one of the top conservative colleges in the United States.

    Features

    The 100 percent online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program at Liberty University requires a total of 60 credit hours. The curriculum places an emphasis on integrating faith into counseling, and students will discuss theories and techniques for achieving that throughout this program. Some of the classes in this program include:

    • Counseling Children, Adolescents & Their Families
    • Psychopathology & Counseling
    • Ethical & Legal Issues in Counseling

    Notables

    Liberty University online faculty are known to offer one-on-one attention to their students by keeping classes capped at 25 students. Liberty also tends to be a place where veterans thrive; it holds the 37th ranking in US News & World Report’s “Best Colleges for Veterans.”

  4. Northwestern University
    Location

    Evanston, IL

    Tuition

    $4202

    Overview

    Northwestern University is a private research university that enrolls around 21,000 students each year. Though its main campus is located in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern spans the globe, with satellite campuses in Qatar, Washington DC, and San Francisco. The Northwestern Wildcats are a founding member of the Big Ten Conference and compete in NCAAs Division I conference.

    Features

    Northwestern Universitys online Master of Arts in Counseling program is aimed at people interested in getting a training in clinical mental health. Northwestern offers the option of obtaining the Child and Adolescent Specialization, which includes the following added-on requirements:

    Human Growth Development (Child Adolescent Focus) Child and Adolescent Counseling and PsychotherapyThe other 24 required credits in the overall program

    Notables

    Northwestern University is one of the most prestigious schools in the United States, ranking 20th by Academic Ranking of World Universities, 15th by Forbes, and 12th by US News World Report. Though the credit hour cost is one of the higher on our list, the reputation and strength of Northwesterns program make it hard to pass up.

  5. California Baptist University
    Location

    Riverside, CA

    Tuition

    $701

    Overview

    Affiliated with the Southern Baptist church, California Baptist University is a private, liberal arts school that is located in Riverside, California. Reaching close to 9,000 students in enrollment each year, California Baptist University is divided into 11 different schools and colleges. Among them is the Online and Professional Studies Division, which houses the Master of Science in Counseling Psychology.

    Features

    The online Counseling Psychology program at California Baptist University requires a total of 62 credits to graduate. It is offered completely online and gives you the option to take classes at your own pace. The degree is designed to graduate students into marriage and family counseling or professional clinical counseling, both with a focus on Christian approaches and worldviews. Some of the classes youll take that are related to marriage and family counseling are:

    Marriage and Family Counseling TheoryHuman Growth and DevelopmentChild and Adolescent Counseling

    Notables

    For nine years in a row, California Baptist University has ranked in US News and World Reports Best Regional Universities, most recently coming in at #38 from a list of 620. It also is important to point out that 100 percent of California Baptists faculty and staff are Christians, which is made evident through the curriculum and mission of the school.

  6. University of Massachusetts
    Location

    Worcester, MA

    Tuition

    $520

    Overview

    The University of Massachusetts is a public university that enrolls 73,000 students across its five campusesAmherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and UMass Medical School. UMass Boston, which offers the online Masters of Science in Family Therapy, is the third-largest in the system and caters primarily to students from Boston and the surrounding cities.

    Features

    The College of Advancing and Professional Studies offers the online Masters of Science in Family Therapy at the University of Massachusetts. The 60-credit-hour program gives students a basic understanding and review of overall counseling theories, while also offering specific classes related to family therapy. Here are some highlights of this program:

    Licensure: it covers the academic requirements for licensure in family therapy in MassachusettsUrban Focus: students specifically learn how to address issues among marginalized individuals, families, and larger communities

    Notables

    The University of Massachusetts is no stranger to high rankings. Aside from being the largest and one of the oldest universities in the state, UMass also ranks as the number one public university in New England by the Times Higher Education. Its faculty are also famously renowned in their field; in 2015, eight faculty members were named to the list of the Worlds Most Scientific Minds.

  7. Campbellsville University
    Location

    Campbellsville, KY

    Tuition

    $399

    Overview

    Originally founded as a Baptist academy, Campbellsville University is a private, Christian institution that found its roots in 1906. Located in Campbellsville, Kentucky, the school enrolls about 3,200 students every year through its undergraduate, graduate, and online programs. The small campus also incorporates a 135-acre woodlands areaClay Hill Memorial Forestthat they use for educational outreach and research.

    Features

    The hybrid Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy program at Campbellsville University combines the forces of three different departments: Marriage and Family Therapy, Social Work, and Theology. This 46-credit-hour program is completed through once-a-week classes to accommodate working students. Some other features you can expect to find in this program are:

    Classes delivered via online formats and evening on-campus settingsA Christian focus in the curriculum and environment10 credits in a field-based internship to practice counseling in a real setting

    Notables

    Campbellsville University has a strong reputation in the South. In fact, it was recently ranked #4 in US News World Reports Up and Coming Schools in the South and has also made the list for rankings such as Great Schools, Great Prices and Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the South.

  8. Dallas Baptist University
    Location

    Dallas, TX

    Tuition

    $906

    Overview

    Located in a beautiful setting overlooking a lake, Dallas Baptist University is a private, Christian school that serves over 5,000 students. With a history that spans almost 120 years, Dallas Baptist University has spread into two other branch campuses in TexasPlano and Hurstsince its early beginnings as a two-year junior college.

    Features

    Dallas Baptist University does a fantastic job at meeting students needs when it comes to schedule. The 36-credit-hour Master of Arts in Family Ministry program is offered in multiple formats: online, hybrid (online and classroom), or through evening and weekend courses. The curriculum is specifically faith-based, with concentrations in Christian Counseling and Special Needs Family Ministry. Some classes included are:

    Conflict Resolution in MinistryFaith Formation in the Life StagesMinistry with Children

    Notables

    Dallas Baptist University students take their learning seriously, and the evidence shows! Recently, the National Council on Teacher Quality ranked Dallas Baptist University #1 in the United States for elementary teacher preparation, and #2 in the Texas for secondary teacher preparation. These strong academic results are seen across the board at Dallas Baptist University.

  9. Messiah College
    Location

    Mechanicsburg, PA

    Tuition

    $645

    Overview

    Founded in 1909, Messiah College has a long history of Christian higher education. The private liberal arts college, located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, enrolls close to 3,300 students at the undergraduate and graduate level. Messiah started its graduate program in 2009, which includes online masters programs in counseling, business, education, nursing, and more.

    Features

    The online Master of Arts in counseling at Messiah College includes three concentration tracks: clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and marriage, couple, and family counseling. Students take 30 credit hours of core classes, and then choose a track to specialize inthe marriage and family track, for example, requires another 30 credit hours. Some of the highlights of this program include:

    Rolling admission: You can jump into the program at any point!Flexible program completion time frames that range from two to six yearsCombined online and classroom instruction to fit into your schedule

    Notables

    The Marriage and Family Therapy program at Messiah College receives high praise across the board. It was recently ranked #4 in online Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy degree programs, and #7 in affordability. More generally, US News and World Report named Messiah College as the #4 Best Regional College.

  10. Abilene Christian University
    Location

    Abilene, TX

    Tuition

    $800

    Overview

    Abilene Christian University is a diverse, welcoming, academically rigorous community redefining what it means to be a Christian university in the 21st century.Founded in 1906, ACU is a private, non-profit university affiliated with Churches of Christ. Supported by a faculty of Christian scholars, ACU prepares undergraduate and graduate students for service and leadership throughout the world.

    Features

    Help clients overcome problems within their families and relationships, as well as mental and emotional disorders with ACUs online Master of Marriage and Family Therapy. In this 60-hour program, you will complete courses in Family Theory, Systemic Diagnosis Assessment, Cultural Diversity in Family Therapy, Couples Therapy, and more.

    Specialize your learning with one of four available tracks:

    Child and Adolescent TherapyMedical Family TherapyTherapy with Military FamiliesTreatment of Trauma

    Notables

    ACU is one of Americas Top Colleges as determined by Forbes Magazine in a rankings list published in August 2017. Forbes joined with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity to choose 650 schools based on the quality of the education they provide, the experience of the students and how much they achieve.ACU is in the top 10 percent of the 6,600 accredited post secondary institutions eligible for consideration. ACU and Pepperdine were the only two universities on the list affiliated with Churches of Christ. This bodes well for online learners at Abilene Christian University!

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