What Is Marriage And Family Therapy?

Northcentral University can help you become part of one of the fastest growing mental health professions.

Regardless of where you are in your education or career, NCU offers the degree programs and personal support that can prepare you for a rewarding career in Marriage and Family Therapy. 

COAMFTE awards accreditation to Northcentral University's MA-MFT Program

What is Marriage and Family Therapy?

Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is a distinct mental health discipline with a unique body of knowledge, research, clinical approaches and licensure laws. As a profession, MFT was developed out of the field of psychiatry in the 1940s due to a shift in focus from individual pathology to viewing people's symptoms and problems as interactional processes best understood within the larger family or couple context.

There are a number of mental health disciplines including clinical social work, psychology, counseling, psychiatry and marriage & family therapy. Although there are similarities amongst disciplines, there are some key differences between each discipline as well. Some of the key differences are noted below:

MFT vs Clinical Social Work http://www.mft-license.com/articles/mft-vs-clinical-social-worker.html

MFT vs Clinical Psychology http://www.mft-license.com/articles/mft-vs-clinical-psychologist.html

MFT vs Mental Health Counseling http://www.mft-license.com/articles/mft-vs-mental-health-counselor.html

MFT vs Psychiatry http://www.mft-license.com/articles/mft-vs-psychiatrist.html

The Marriage and Family Therapy Field Is Growing 

According to the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow much faster than average (41 percent) for all occupations due to population growth and the fact that MFTs can serve as a less costly alternative to psychiatrists and psychologists. The field's growing prominence is also due to its family-centered approach and demonstrated effectiveness.

“We are living in a time where it has become increasingly important to better manage family relationships and stress in our rapidly changing world,” explains Program Director for Marriage and Family Therapy Programs, Dr. James Billings. “The holistic and systemic approach that MFTs bring to the field of mental health has proven to be not only effective but also efficient, with many clients requiring only 12 or fewer sessions to see a significant reduction in presenting symptoms.”  

  • Studies show that clients are highly satisfied with the services provided by MFTs. They report marked improvement in work productivity and co-worker relationships, family and partner relationships, emotional and overall health, social life and community involvement.
  • Clients report that MFTs are the mental health professionals they would most likely recommend to others.

NCU’s MFT Programs

NCU’s online MFT degree programs are specifically designed to help you receive the education and training needed to be successful in this demanding and growing field of Marriage and Family Therapy. The course work is designed to meet the national educational standards set by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and is intended to allow working adults to create a personalized degree plan that provides the flexibility to match their schedules and time constraints. Click a program below to learn more.

MFT Program Approvals and Accreditations

In order to ensure the highest level of quality in training and education within our MFT programs, we seek to obtain and maintain proper external reviews and approvals of our degree programs. We currently have the following examples of program approvals and accreditations achieved or in process related to Northcentral’s Marriage and Family Therapy programs.

  • Northcentral University’s Master’s program in MFT is the first online MFT program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).  This achievement marks the highest level of program accreditation possible for an MFT program.  
  • In April of 2008, we applied for and received approval of our MFT programs (MA and PhD) with the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education (AZBPPE). In order to review this degree program approval, click here and search for Northcentral University. 
  • We applied for approval of both programs with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The HLC approved both degree programs in September of 2009. Click here to review NCU’s accreditation status with the HLC.
  • In December of 2010, we received approval of our MA MFT program from the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (CA-BBS), the MFT licensing board in California. This means that our degree program is pre-approved as meeting the educational requirements for MFT licensure in the State of California. Click here to review Northcentral University on the CA-BBS list of Accredited Schools with MFT Degree Programs. The MA MFT program went through this process again in 2012 when CA changed their educational requirements.  Northcentral was again approved to offer a BBS pre-approved Master’s degree in California.
  • The state of New York requires all out of state universities to gain approval in order to place student interns in New York State clinical sites.  Northcentral University initiated this application process in the fall of 2009.  On October 1, 2012 the state of New York approved Northcentral Marriage & Family Therapy students to perform Marriage & Family Therapy activities legally within their state as an intern.  In addition, New York has a program evaluation process that would pre-approve graduates for licensure approval within the state of New York. Northcentral University’s MFT program is currently pursuing program approval within the state of New York.
  • Our Supervision Methods course is preapproved by the AAMFT. This course is the first online supervision training course that is approved by the AAMFT. We see the approval of this course as an important recognition that online coursework and training, if well designed, can be substantially equivalent to in-person experience. The fact that the approval is from the AAMFT is a respected achievement for us as well. To find our course in the list of approved courses, click here and search for courses in Arizona. 

NCU’s MFT Application Process

Is marriage and family therapy the right field for you? Do Northcentral University’s MFT programs fit your needs as a student? The only way you can answer these questions is by researching the profession and your educational options. If you’ve made it to this page, you’ve clearly already started the research process.  NCU’s application process is designed to help guide applicants through a series of questions and information that will help educate them about the field of Marriage and Family Therapy and what is required in their state to be licensed as a MFT.  You will work  with a specially trained Enrollment Team at Northcentral University to complete all of the required application materials. We accept applications year-round and do not have to wait to fill cohorts before starting a new class. Basically, the sooner you begin the application process, the sooner you can get started on your education journey. Contact an Enrollment Advisor today at 1-866-776-0331 or email admissions@ncu.edu.

Your Enrollment Advisor and a member of the MFT faculty will review your application materials, including your application, resume and licensure plan (if applicable). We will also set up an online one-on-one interview with an MFT faculty member to finalize the application process. After completing the application packet and a one-on-one interview with one of the full-time MFT faculty, applicants will be required to complete a background check before registering for their first course.  Visit the NCU Catalog for additional application materials and requirements for the online MFT programs.


Marriage and Family Therapy FAQ's

How can I learn more about the profession of Marriage and Family Therapy?

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What are the entrance requirements for Northcentral Marriage and Family Therapy degree programs?

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Is it necessary to have a Bachelor's degree in a related area to be admitted into NCU’s MFT Master's program?

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Can you describe the structure of a typical Northcentral University MFT course?

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When are MFT students expected to start seeing clients?

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How is the practicum process completed online?

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Can the faculty help me find a place to do practicum hours near where I live?

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During Practicum and Internship, can I work in a paid placement or do I need to volunteer?

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Does the supervisor for the practicum and internship have to be an AAMFT Approved Supervisor?

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How do I find a qualified supervisor in my area?

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How long does it take to complete the program at Northcentral University?

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What is COAMFTE accreditation?

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Are the MFT programs at Northcentral University COAMFTE accredited?

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After I graduate, will I be eligible to pursue state licensure?

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After graduating from your MFT program, will I be qualified to obtain clinical membership in AAMFT?

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What is the tuition cost for Northcentral University's MFT program?

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Whom can I contact if I have additional questions about Northcentral University?

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