Marriage and family therapists provide talk therapy and mental health assistance focusing on family and relationship dynamics. They can help families and couples maneuver emotional experiences like divorce and teach relationship and life skills. A marriage and counseling therapist may work with individual clients, but their perspective remains on family units and marriage partnerships.

You will need a master's degree from an accredited educational program to begin a career as a marriage and family therapist. While it's common for therapists to secure a bachelor's and master's degree in psychology, some related degree fields are acceptable for future marriage and family therapists.

Many marriage and family therapy degrees are available online. To learn more, see the sections below.

Choosing the Right Online Marriage & Family Therapy Degree Program

An online master's in psychology is the most common degree for marriage and family therapists. It's important to select an accredited program to ensure you have the knowledge needed to pass the licensing exam in your state. Many employers also look for therapists with degrees from accredited programs, so you may limit your job opportunities if your program isn't accredited.

Counseling and therapist educational programs are accredited by one of the following organizations:

Let's take a brief look at each degree that you may need to become a marriage and family therapist.

Bachelor's Degree

You can't legally secure a job as a marriage and family therapist with just an online bachelor's degree, but you still need this degree to get to the master's level. Most students complete a bachelor's in psychology program, but you can select virtually any other major and then specialize in the right field when you complete your master's degree. Check with your preferred master's degree program to see what bachelor's degrees are accepted.

Many bachelor’s of psychology degrees include around 120 credit hours and are efficiently completed within four years. Some schools offer the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and the Bachelor of Science in Psychology. The difference is in the type of courses included in the program. Bachelor of Arts programs often allow students to select various elective courses, while Bachelor of Science programs include more science and math courses.

Master's Degree

An online master's degree in marriage and family therapy is the most applicable degree for this job. Still, some students pursue a master's in psychology to specialize in marriage and family therapy. This degree is needed to pass the state licensing examination and start working as a marriage and family therapist.

Most online marriage and family therapy master's programs are quickly completed within three years. Some schools may have accelerated programs completed within a year or two when you attend full-time.


You don't need a doctorate to become a marriage and family therapist. However, some students choose to complete a doctorate program in psychology to elevate their careers to the psychology level.

What Marriage and Family Counseling Degree is Right for Me?

Bachelor’s DegreeMaster’s DegreeGraduate CertPh.D. or PsyD
I am interested in gaining entry-level experience in marriage and family counselingx
I want to get started in my marriage and family counseling career before I pursue more educationx
I want to become a licensed professional counselorx
I want to pursue or switch to a niche counseling specialtyxx
I already have a counseling degree and want to gain specialized knowledgexx
I want to work in academia, administration, or clinical practicex

Marriage & Family Therapy Degree Program Curriculum

An online marriage and family therapy curriculum covers a variety of therapy-related coursework, including theories, laws, ethics, research methods, and psychopathology. Topics like couples therapy, human sexuality, and group therapy are also common. The goal is to produce therapists prepared to serve a diverse population with various family and relationship dilemmas.

The number of credit hours required to complete a program in this field varies by school, but the following averages will give you some idea of what is needed:

Bachelor's Degree: 120-126 credit hours
Master's Degree: 45-60 credit hours

Marriage & Family Therapy Degree Program Clinical Requirements

Most states require new marriage and family therapists to complete clinical and/or supervised work hours to gain hands-on experience. For instance, North Carolina requires therapists to complete 1,500 hours of clinical experience. Students can complete up to 500 of those hours as graduate students. The rest is completed after graduation.

Each school has its placement process, which students should consider when selecting online marriage and family therapy degree programs. Because you will not be on campus, your program will likely work with you to find clinical opportunities in your community.

List of Online Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Programs

Are you seeking an online marriage and family therapy degree program near you? Browse our state-by-state school listings below.

Jump to Your State Listings



10455 Pomerado Road
San Diego, CA 92131
(858) 635-4000

135 N Oakland Ave
Pasadena, CA 91182
(626) 584-5200

11139 Anderson Street
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-1000


633 Clark St
Evanston, IL 60208
(847) 491-3741



225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor
Minneapolis, MN 55402-3389
(866) 808-4080

New York

Graduate Certificate Programs
South Ave
Garden City, NY 11530-0701
(516) 877-3000


3500 SW 119th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73170-9797
(405) 691-3800


West Virginia

PO Box 6201
Morgantown, WV 26506
(304) 293-0111

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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