As global divorce rates continue to rise, you may want to consider establishing a career as a marriage and family therapist. The perks include countering the rising divorce rate and securing a job with a high income. This blog post provides a curated list of MFT programs in California to help you find the best school where you can gain skills and knowledge to prepare you for the profession.
Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is a branch of psychology that deals with issues faced by couples in relationships by helping them resolve and understand conflicts to promote a healthy relationship. A licensed mental health practitioner trained in psychotherapy and family systems is a professional that helps couples and families work out their differences and difficulties, they are known as marriage and family therapists.
To become a marriage and family therapist, you must have a master’s or doctorate degree in MFT and obtain your license to practice by sitting for the licensure exam. Part of the program includes training with a licensed marriage and family therapist to gain hands-on skills and knowledge on working with the relational and interpersonal dynamics between couples and families.
Every state has its licensure requirement to become a marriage and family therapist, failure to meet the requirements means that you won’t sit for the licensure examination.
In the US state of California, the first step to becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist is to graduate from a qualifying program that meets the education requirements for MFT licensure in the state. You also have to meet all of the regulations set forth by the Board of Behavioral Sciences.
If you have always wanted to help couples resolve conflict, provide help to families suffering from relationship issues, and promote their mental health, then you should consider this profession. By implementing your expertise, you will be making a difference in society and in the world at large.
This blog post has provided you with the best MFT programs in California to help you make comparisons and easily identify the best one for you.
Best MFT Programs In California
Below is a curated list of the best MFT programs in California offered by some of the best universities in the state.
- Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology – California Southern University
- Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy – USC Rossier School of Education
- M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy – Loyola Marymount University (LMU)
- MA in Clinical Psychology with Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy – Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology
- M.A. in Counseling Psychology –Santa Clara University
- MSc in Counseling, Marriage, and Family Therapy – Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences
- M.S in Marriage & Family Therapy – San Diego State University
- M.S. in School-Based Family Counseling – Cal State LA
- M.A. in MFT – Biola University
- M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy – Chapman University
1. Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology – California Southern University
CSU is offering a 100% online MA in Psychology with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy designed for aspiring marriage and family therapists and clinical counselors. The program requirements are approved by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to meet the state’s educational requirements for MFT and licensed professional clinical counselors.
The program is offered in a full-time format which takes 4 years to complete, 100% online with no requirement for an in-person presence, and takes 4 years to complete. The estimated total cost of the program is $32,700.
2. Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy – USC Rossier School of Education
USC Rossier School of Education is one of the graduate schools of the University of Southern California ranked at #25 out of 443 national universities by US News. Rossier School of Education offers an M.Sc. in MFT that meets state requirements.
The degree prepares graduates to address issues facing families, couples, adults, and children which may include relationship issues, emotional disorders, mental illness, substance abuse, and many more. Meeting the degree requirements will make you eligible for the licensure exam. You can complete the program either in part-time or full-time formats which take 24 months and 48 months respectively to complete. The cost of tuition is $2,137 per unit.
3. M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy – Loyola Marymount University (LMU)
Loyola Marymount University is a prestigious higher citadel of learning ranked among the best law schools in Los Angeles. Here, you can pursue a graduate program in Marital and Family Therapy with specialized training in Art Therapy with combines visual arts with psychotherapeutic skills. The program meets state requirements and prepares graduates to become licensed art therapists in the state.
You can complete the program in two different ways. The first is a two-year full-time education that combines rigorous academic coursework with two clinical traineeships. The other track is a 3-year program that allows students to complete program requirements but at a slower pace. Class sizes vary between 20-15 students per year and the total program cost is $83,100.
4. MA in Clinical Psychology with Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy – Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology is a graduate school within Pepperdine University, an institution ranked among the best colleges in California for psychology. The School offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy offered in three different formats; daytime, evening, and online.
The daytime format takes 2 years to complete, the evening format requires a duration of 2-3 years to complete, and the online format can be completed in as little as 27 months. Whichever format you choose to go for meets the state requirement for graduates to sit for the licensure examination. The total cost of the program is between $85,500 to $115,600 depending on the format you choose.
5. M.A. in Counseling Psychology –Santa Clara University
The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology offered by Santa Clara University equips students with skills, knowledge, and experience in preparing them to become licensed Marriage and Family therapists. Students can choose one of the four specializations in correctional psychology, health psychology, Latino counseling, and LGBTQ counseling.
The program is offered both online and on-campus in full-time and part-time formats which take 2 and 3 years respectively to complete. Graduates are then eligible to sit for the licensure exam to earn their licensure and begin practicing. Tuition is $701 per unit.
6. MSc in Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy – Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences
Kaiser Permanente is an institution deeply rooted in the medical field and is consistently ranked among the best medical schools in California. Its School of Allied Health Sciences offers a reputable graduate degree in counseling, marriage, and family therapy that meets the state’s requirements, preparing you for licensure. The program can be completed in as little as 24 months and has an estimated total tuition of $36,000.
7. M.S in Marriage & Family Therapy – San Diego State University
This is a full-time, 2-and-a-half-year program designed to prepare students to become highly competent entry-level MFTs. Students in this program will also gain extensive, clinical experience through community engagement, practicums, and traineeship placements. Classes are held on campus. The total cost of the program is $19,678.
8. M.S. in School-Based Family Counseling – Cal State LA
The Division of Special Education and Counseling at California State University, Los Angeles is responsible for offering the Master of Science in School-Based Family Counseling. The program equips graduates with the clinical skills of a marriage and family therapist and school counselor. It meets the state requirement for MFT, PPS, and CWA licenses.
The program is full-time and takes 2.5 to 3 years to complete depending on the student. There is only one study format for this program which is the on-campus format.
9. M.A. in MFT – Biola University
Talbot School of Theology, a division within Biola University offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy degree to those drawn to helping families and couples promote their relationships. Students in the program are equipped with clinical skills, spiritual foundation, and self-knowledge necessary to guide clients toward healing and relational restoration.
The program consists of 67 program credits and requires 3 years to complete. The cost of the program is $50,250.
10. M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy – Chapman University
Chapman University offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy to prepare students for licensure as a professional marriage and family therapists in California. The program requires students to complete one year of practicum training at the onsite MFT training clinic of Chapman University.
To apply for the program, you must have completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology or another approves mental health degree, a GRE score, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a resume, and an English language proficiency test score for international applicants.
MFT Programs in Southern California
The Marriage and Family Therapist programs in Southern California are:
- Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy – University of Southern California
- M.S. in Counseling, Marriage, and Family Therapy – California State University, Los Angeles
- M.S. in Counseling – California State University, Fullerton
- M.S. in Counseling Psychology – California State University, Long Beach
- M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy – Loyola Marymount University
- MSc in Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy – Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences
These MFT programs in Southern California all meet state requirements for licensure and prepare you for a successful career.
MFT Programs in California – FAQs
Is an MFT degree worth it?
MFT is a worthy degree that makes sense from a financial perspective, earning up to $75,000 per year.
How long does it take to become an MFT in California?
According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, you must spend a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised experience, during a period of at least 104 weeks.