Top 100 Affordable Marriage & Family Counseling Schools

Top Affordable Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

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Are you considering earning a degree in marriage and family therapy? This is a good choice for people who want to work with individuals, couples, and families as they work through various difficulties and address issues that can cause strife and stress in relationships. Marriage and family therapists utilize many different techniques and skills to assist their clients in understanding and replacing harmful thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. If you are excited by the prospect of encouraging others to discuss their emotions and experiences in order to help them process reactions and adjust to life changes, it’s time to find an accredited marriage and family therapy degree program.

Degrees of this type can lead to extremely impactful career opportunities. Students should have a clear desire to assist others in maintaining and improving close relationships. While program specifics vary, most are designed to teach both foundational and advanced therapy and counseling theories and techniques. Marriage and family therapy programs also tend to help students develop and hone the skills necessary to work with clients from diverse backgrounds. Those enrolled should expect to study family therapy, family system development, addiction, and diversity and inclusion.

As with most healthcare professions, higher education is required in order to qualify for employment. Those planning to become marriage and family therapists will need to earn a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, psychology, or a related mental health field. Earning a degree of any kind can be expensive, so it’s important to keep affordability in mind as you establish your academic and career goals.


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Top 100 Affordable Marriage and Family Counseling College Rankings


Reviewing school rankings for affordable marriage and family therapist programs can be extremely helpful. Rankings are meant to provide insight into potential college and university degrees. The information offered can assist you in finding an academic solution that meets your unique needs and ensures you are prepared to achieve your academic and career goals.

To help narrow and simplify your search process, we focus our data collection on institutions that specialize in affordable marriage and family therapist programs. We identify and organize the most relevant data points into a simple, easy-to-understand, and useful format by focusing our attention on the most pertinent information.

While we consider a range of data types when generating rankings, some of the most prominent areas of interest include cost of tuition, graduation rate, and diplomas awarded.

The cost of tuition is one of the most important variables to consider when looking for a degree program. It is essential to identify which colleges and universities are within your price range. This information can also help you assess the overall value of the education offered.

Graduation rates refer to the percentage of students who graduate from a college or university within the expected time frame. In most cases, it takes full-time students approximately four years to complete bachelor’s degrees and about two years to complete master’s degrees. It can, however, take longer than these time frames. Knowing what to expect from the program you select can help you plan for school more accurately.

Another consideration is the number of diplomas awarded by the institutions. This indicates how many students have graduated with their degrees. It also helps you know how many fellow students are still working towards graduation.

1

Texas A&M University-Central Texas

  • Net Price: $3,637
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,339
  • Undergrad Students: 1,886
  • Graduate Students: 453
  • Diplomas Awarded: 10
  • Texas A&M University-Central Texas
2

California State University-Dominguez Hills

  • Net Price: $4,683
  • Retention Rate: 78%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Total Enrollment: 18,687
  • Undergrad Students: 16,022
  • Graduate Students: 2,665
  • Diplomas Awarded: 26
  • California State University-Dominguez Hills
3

University of Florida

  • Net Price: $10,075
  • Retention Rate: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Total Enrollment: 53,372
  • Undergrad Students: 34,931
  • Graduate Students: 18,441
  • Diplomas Awarded: 11
  • University of Florida
4

Texas Woman's University

  • Net Price: $10,087
  • Retention Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Total Enrollment: 16,433
  • Undergrad Students: 10,664
  • Graduate Students: 5,769
  • Diplomas Awarded: 15
  • Texas Woman's University
5

University of Louisiana at Monroe

  • Net Price: $10,134
  • Retention Rate: 74%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Total Enrollment: 8,888
  • Undergrad Students: 6,929
  • Graduate Students: 1,959
  • Diplomas Awarded: 15
  • University of Louisiana at Monroe
6

Appalachian State University

  • Net Price: $10,687
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Total Enrollment: 20,023
  • Undergrad Students: 18,061
  • Graduate Students: 1,962
  • Diplomas Awarded: 14
  • Appalachian State University
7

University of the West

  • Net Price: $10,834
  • Retention Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Total Enrollment: 284
  • Undergrad Students: 153
  • Graduate Students: 131
  • Diplomas Awarded: 5
  • University of the West
8

University of Central Florida

  • Net Price: $11,108
  • Retention Rate: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 74%
  • Total Enrollment: 71,881
  • Undergrad Students: 61,401
  • Graduate Students: 10,480
  • Diplomas Awarded: 24
  • University of Central Florida
9

Lamar University

  • Net Price: $11,116
  • Retention Rate: 69%
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Total Enrollment: 16,637
  • Undergrad Students: 8,588
  • Graduate Students: 8,049
  • Diplomas Awarded: N/A
  • Lamar University
10

Texas A&M University-San Antonio

  • Net Price: $11,175
  • Retention Rate: 68%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,759
  • Undergrad Students: 6,078
  • Graduate Students: 681
  • Diplomas Awarded: 2
  • Texas A&M University-San Antonio
Full Ranking Report

Why a Degree from an Affordable Marriage and Family Counseling Program?


Many students choose to pursue marriage and family therapy degrees because they are eager to help others. Overall, this career is quite dynamic and rewarding, offering opportunities to use knowledge of psychology, counseling, group dynamics, and culture to repair and improve relationships.

Other benefits include a very strong career outlook, decent financial compensation, and the development of skills that can be easily transferred to other professions.

Marriage and family therapy graduates can also explore professional opportunities in:

  • Child and adolescent counseling
  • Mental health counseling
  • Career counseling
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Rehabilitation counseling

It’s important to consider that earning a degree of any kind can be expensive. As this profession requires both bachelors and master’s degrees, the overall cost can be substantial. Prospective students who lack the financial means to pay for school out-of-pocket, in particular, may find the prospect daunting.

While financial aid can help supplement the cost of college, it’s not always enough. Obtaining scholarships and grants will make enrolling in a program easier, and the funds will not need to be paid back in the future. Loans are also available, but these do require repayment after graduation and, unfortunately, depending too heavily on them can result in significant financial hardships later on.

Ultimately, this makes finding an affordable academic program extremely important. Financial aid may be used to supplement expenses, but the best solution is finding an affordable marriage and family therapy program. Regardless of your academic goals, opting for a less expensive degree option is often optimal.

Choosing an Affordable Counseling College


There are several factors you should consider when looking for an affordable marriage and family therapy program. Every college and university is different, making it important to compare various features in order to find the one that fits your needs best. Some of the most significant differences include cost, location, accreditation, instructional methods, and graduation requirements.

Cost


The cost of earning a marriage and family therapy degree is not standardized and can vary significantly from institution to institution. Every college and university sets their own tuition rates, which can fluctuate yearly. Additionally, school type, reputation, and location can influence costs, with prestigious, private institutions in large cities often charging the most. On the other hand, many colleges and universities also offer financial aid options. Becoming familiar with these elements now can make it easier to find an affordable program.

Location


The location of your marriage and family therapy degree program is particularly important, as this factor can greatly impact the amount of money you will pay. There are colleges and universities all over the United States and choosing one in another state can be costly. This is because many public schools charge out-of-state students tuition at a higher rate than in-state students. Keep this in mind as you research potential institutions. Additionally, keep in mind that many employers give preference to local graduates. It’s not uncommon for colleges and universities build relationships with nearby companies and organizations over time, ensuring that students receive the training necessary to be successful professionals in the area.

Accreditation


You should always verify the accreditation status of a college and university prior to enrolling in a marriage and family therapy program. Academic institutions are not required to become accredited, but the best ones are. Schools can choose between regional and international accreditation, although students tend to have an easier time transferring credits earned at regionally accredited institutions. Opting for a college or university that is accredited by a recognized agency ensures that the school meets various education standards. In the United States, accrediting agencies are overseen by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Regional agencies approved by CHEA and the U.S. Board of Education include:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCACS)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Schools (WASC ACS)

Graduation Requirements


Every college and university sets expectations for students prior to graduation. While requirements differ, many schools have relatively similar guidelines. Always take time to consult the program’s complete curriculum breakdown, along with course descriptions, and any concentrations available. This information is usually available on official institutional websites. While you should always review the specific expectations for your marriage and family therapy program carefully, some common examples include a minimum grade point average (GPA), a set number of course credits, and a final project.

Instruction Methods


It’s also important to ensure your learning needs and preferences can be met prior to enrolling in a marriage and family therapy program. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to determine the instructional methods a school uses most before actually attending classes. Most institutions provide some sort of related information online. Pay close attention to factors such as class size, assignment types, and available academic resources. You can also reach out to the marriage and family therapy department directly for more details. Similarly, if a traditional classroom setting does not suit your situation, online options may be available.

Online Options


Students interested in earning a marriage and family therapy degree can often take courses online. This option is particularly ideal for individuals who require more academic flexibility, as students the opportunity have the ability to complete coursework from anywhere in the world with internet access. Numerous colleges and universities offer remote degrees for those unable to attend classes in person. In fact, many distance learning programs are flexible enough for current professionals, as well as those with personal obligations that make on-campus learning difficult.

It’s also worth noting that many online programs are accelerated or specially designed to take less time to complete. These usually consist of condensed classes and fewer breaks, which means students finish requirements faster. While every program is different, it’s not uncommon to find online associate degree programs that can be completed in as few as 18 months. There are also accelerated bachelor’s degrees.

Online learning is not perfect for everyone. There are some drawbacks that everyone should be aware of before enrolling. Not only must students be exceptionally self-motivated to complete assignments, but they may have limited access to various resources often available in traditional learning settings, such as some library resources. There will also be limited opportunities to network with others in the field. As a result, it’s important to confirm what services prospective institutions offer to distance learners.

Most development departments provide support to current students and recent graduates in the following ways:

  • Interview Preparation
  • Resume Development
  • Career Coaching Services
  • Internship Opportunities
  • Job Fairs

Are Marriage and Family Counseling Programs in High Demand?


Marriage and family therapy is considered an in-demand field, with many colleges and universities offering credible degree programs throughout the nation. Whether you are interested in taking traditional classes or want to study online, you should have little trouble finding an option that meets your academic needs.

Overall, the outlook for marriage and family therapists working in the United States is very promising. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment in this profession is expected to grow by 16% from 2020 to 2030. This is much faster than the national average for all other professions. An increase of this size is expected to add about 8,500 new jobs to the market each year, most of which will be due to the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force.

The primary explanation for the anticipated job growth is the increased use of integrated care, or the treatment of multiple problems at one time by a group of specialists. Marriage and family therapists will be needed to work in conjunction with other counselors such as those assisting with mental health issues, substance abuse, and behavior disorders.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling?


The majority of individuals who graduate with a degree in marriage and family therapy seek employment as marriage and family therapists. All marriage and family therapists are required to have a master’s degree in psychology, marriage and family therapy, or a related mental health field.

Several organizations can accredit counseling programs; give preference to those with the following accreditation:

  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)
  • Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC)

In addition to receiving the necessary education, these professionals must also complete postgraduate supervised clinical work hours. Commonly referred to as an internship or residency, this training gives prospective professionals hands-on experience in the field.

Marriage and family therapists are also required to be licensed by the state(s) they work in. Licensure requires candidates have a master’s degree, plus 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Therapists must also pass state-recognized examinations and complete annual continuing education coursework. Licensing information for each state is available through the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).

It’s worth noting that these therapists can work in a wide variety of settings such as outpatient services, inpatient services, schools, colleges, and family services agencies. Alternatively, they can opt to open their own private practices.

In addition to becoming a marriage and family therapist, there are a few other career paths available after earning this degree. As students gain advanced counseling and psychology training, they are able to enter careers in many different therapy disciplines. Becoming familiar with the various employment options now can ensure you receive the knowledge and training necessary to be successful in the future.

Some common career paths include:

  • Counseling
    Counseling professionals assist their patients in handling day-to-day stresses, as well as in finding solutions to long-term emotional or psychological problems. They often address difficult and complex situations, objectively analyzing behaviors and psychological processes that impact human thought and action.
  • Education
    Education professionals can work in school systems at every level, from pre-k to postsecondary. There are many different aspects involved in this field including academic instruction, childhood development, and educational leadership.
  • Health Services
    Health services professionals work closely with patients in conjunction with other healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, and medical specialists. Careers in this field include health administration, managers, and counselors.
  • Psychology
    Psychology professionals work with the science of mental processes and behaviors over multiple disciplines. Those interested in dealing directly with patients often find employment in clinical settings. Common areas of specialty include addiction and recovery, behavioral psychology, child and adolescent psychology, organizational psychology, and counseling.

Counseling Graduates Earn More After College


The earning potential for marriage and family therapists ranges from just over average to well above average, depending mostly on location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for this profession was $51,340 in 2020, which is higher than the median annual wage of $41,950 as reported for all occupations. However, the lowest 10% of workers in this profession earned less than $33,140. The highest 10%, on the other hand, had a median annual wage of $92,930. According to PayScale, the average base salary for marriage and family therapists is $50,752. After 20 or more years of working in this position, the average yearly salary becomes $67,000.

It’s important to realize that education level often impacts salary potential. Those who lack advanced degrees often make significantly less money than those who have earned them. Only individuals with master’s degrees will qualify for licensure, which means they are the ones earning higher-level jobs and larger salaries.

As previously mentioned, salary is also often dependent upon location. Some states pay marriage and family therapists more than others. Pay for professionals in this field is best in Utah, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, and Oklahoma. Conversely, the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Kansas have some of the lowest salaries in the industry.

FAQs


  • What are the admission requirements for marriage and family counseling students?

    College and university admission requirements vary, but some expectations are fairly standard. While you should always review application materials carefully before submission, many schools require the following:

    • Official High School Transcripts or College Transcripts
    • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)
    • Application and Fees
    • Letters of Recommendation
    • Personal Statement or Supplemental Essay
    • Academic Work Samples
    • Scores from College Entrance Exams (SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT etc.)
  • How long will it take to complete a marriage and family counseling degree?

    The length of time needed to complete a marriage and family therapist degree will depend on the level of degree you seek. While most take between two and four years, some accelerated programs can be completed in a matter months.

    In general, an associate degree consists of about 60 credit hours and will take full-time students two years to complete. Bachelor’s degree programs are made up of 120 credit hours that require approximately four years to complete. Master’s degrees usually consist of 30-60 credit hours and take full-time students two years to complete.

    It is important to note that professional work experience can sometimes be converted into course credit. Credit hours from advanced placement classes or previous degrees can also be applied. Both of these situations can decrease the overall time it takes to graduate.

  • How much does a marriage and family counseling program cost?

    The cost of enrolling in a marriage and family counseling degree program will vary significantly depending on the following important factors:

    • Degree Type
    • Institution Type
    • Housing
    • Commute
    • Technology Fees
    • Books and Supplies
    • Location

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