If you’re interested in the mental health field but not sure what area to specialize in, marriage and family therapy (MFT) may provide a rewarding career option. Marriage and family therapy is a broad mental health practice that primarily focuses on relationships and common issues that come up within the familial unit. To learn about how you can get started, take a look at the sections below.

2025 - Best MFT Programs in Tennessee

CounselingPsychology.org's Best MFT Programs in Tennessee rankings serve as a crucial guide for prospective students seeking top-notch education in Marriage and Family Therapy. These rankings are carefully curated, taking into account key factors such as program completion rates, cost of living, institutional competitiveness, diversity of programs offered, and years of faculty experience. Each factor is meticulously evaluated to provide a comprehensive assessment of the quality and suitability of MFT programs across Tennessee. For a detailed understanding of the methodology behind these rankings, please visit our rankings methodology page.


Lee University

Cleveland, TN

Lee University's Marriage and Family Therapy programs, housed in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences on the main campus in Cleveland, TN, provide students with a comprehensive education in family systems theory and clinical practice. The programs offer hands-on training and opportunities for internships, preparing graduates for successful careers in therapy and counseling.


Lipscomb University

Nashville, TN

Lipscomb University's Marriage and Family Therapy program, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on its main campus in Nashville, Tennessee, offers specialized training in systemic therapy and clinical counseling. With a focus on relational and mental health, students gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations and have the opportunity to work with diverse populations.


Trevecca Nazarene University

Nashville, TN

Trevecca Nazarene University offers a comprehensive and highly regarded Marriage & Family Therapy program through its Department of Graduate and Professional Studies on its main campus in Nashville, Tennessee. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education and provides students with hands-on clinical experience and a strong foundation in theory, research, and practice. Graduates are well-equipped to pursue careers in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, hospitals, and private practices.

What is an MFT Degree?

An MFT (Marriage and Family Therapy) degree is a comprehensive degree program that provides students with the tools they need to succeed in marriage and family therapy. The curriculum usually covers topics such as:

  • Addiction
  • Communication
  • Boundaries
  • Parenting
  • Human Development
  • Trauma

Graduating from an MFT degree program enables a student to become licensed as a marriage and family therapist. They may also choose to seek valuable careers as researchers, administrators, educators, and program leaders.

Why is COAMFTE MFT Accreditation Important?

Regardless of what program you choose, you’ll want to make sure that your program is accredited. Accreditation ensures that your program is approved by the state board and that you can pursue licensure upon graduation if you so choose. The main accrediting bodies for MFT programs is the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and CACREP. As long as your program is accredited by one of these two accrediting bodies, you will be eligible for licensure upon graduation.

Can I Get an MFT Degree Online in Tennessee?

Absolutely! There are several great online MFT programs available to students in Tennessee. But before you begin applying, it’s good to be aware of a few things:

There is currently only one option for in-state licensure through an online program in Tennessee. If you decide to do so, you can enroll in another state’s online program, but you will need to make sure that you will be able to transfer licensure, and you will need to be sure that you don’t need to travel to your program’s campus for in-person clinicals. Though some programs allow students to complete their clinicals in-state, these programs are increasingly rare. Below is currently the only in-state option for online MFT degree programs:

Trevecca Nazarene University: This Nashville-based Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy is perfect for students who have busy personal or work schedules that may be difficult to balance with an MFT program on the side. Trevecca Nazarene University’s MFT program combines both online and in-person learning, including over 100 clinical hours and 60 classroom credit hours.

MFT Degree Levels

There are many different types of MFT degrees, and depending on your career goals, it might make sense to go with one over the other. Most individuals looking to start working as soon as possible usually go with a master’s degree. Students looking to spend more time on their education and seek advanced roles in the field may want to consider a doctoral degree. There is a third option — clinicians who are already licensed or students who have already specialized in another mental health practice may be interested in pursuing a graduate certificate program. This enables students to gain more insight into the field of marriage and family therapy without needing to become licensed a second time.

Do I Need a GRE for an MFT Program?

You might. Some schools require applicants to submit a GRE or a (Graduate Record Examination for short) which measures their academic ability in certain areas. Not all schools, however, mandate this requirement. Contact your school’s registrar or take a look at their website to learn if this requirement applies to you.

Master's Degree in MFT

MFT master’s degrees are 2-year degrees that train students on the essentials of working as a marriage and family therapist. These are primarily clinical-focused and require 60 credits to graduate, along with several hundred practicum hours. On average, you can expect to pay between $400 and $800 per credit, depending on the program. There is currently one MFT master’s degree program located in the state:

Lipscomb University: This Christian-based Master of Marriage and Family Therapy boasts a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and an on-campus Family Therapy center located in Nashville where students can complete their required 300 clinical hours working first-hand with families in the community. Apart from this, Lipscomb University’s program also offers a diverse network of internship opportunities for students looking for additional practice.

Graduate Certificate in MFT

MFT graduate certificates, though not degrees, are a great option for students who are not interested in licensure, or have already obtained licensure through a clinical mental health-related graduate degree program. These types of certificate programs are open to graduates at all levels and provide valuable context to marriage and family therapy in a succinct format. Most MFT graduate degrees last about a year or less and cost between $1,000 and $1,200. There are currently no MFT graduate certificates available in Tennesee, however, you can find these programs widely available in nearby states or online. Here are a few worth considering:

University of Georgia: The University of Georgia offers a Marriage and Family Therapy Certificate that elaborates on the student’s psychology background to create a broader scope of practice through exposure to the fundamentals of marriage and family therapy. The program will not allow you to be licensed as a practicing marriage and family therapist, but it does grant you the skills to use MFT concepts in your own designated practice.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University: If you’re looking to get a general context into the therapeutic methods employed to help families and couples succeed in their relationships, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University offers a Marriage and Family Counseling Certificate program for students who are currently enrolled in a counselor education graduate degree program. This program requires the completion of 15 credit hours in-person at the university’s Greensboro campus.

MFT Doctorate Degrees (Ph.D. or PsyD)

If you want to go beyond the minimum requirements for MFT licensure, you may want to consider an MFT doctoral degree program. Doctors of marriage and family therapy have many more options when it comes time to define your career pathway. Ph.D. programs in marriage and family therapy are typically research and education-oriented, while PsyDs offer a route to clinical practice.

MFT doctorate degrees typically last between four and eight years and cost between $30,000 and $300,000. While there are currently no MFT degree programs offered at the doctorate level in Tennessee, you can find them offered in nearby states. Here are a few to consider:

The Chicago School: Currently the only PsyD in Marital and Family Therapy offered in the State of Illinois, The Chicago School’s program focuses on the clinical aspects of marriage and family therapy. It also allows students to seek careers in grant writing and education, in addition to clinical work. Students can complete this degree program in three years following their master’s degree and can become licensed upon graduation.

Saint Louis University: Students who have a special interest in the healthcare field may be interested in this program. Saint Louis University offers a Ph.D. in Family Therapy that comes with the option to specialize in medical family therapy, allowing students to seek careers in medical centers, hospitals, clinics, and other medically focused healthcare organizations. The program requires 51 credit hours plus a dissertation and a number of clinical hours to graduate.

Becoming an LMFT in Tennessee

The final step to becoming a marriage and family therapist is receiving your licensure. There are several steps you’ll need to complete first to do this:

  • Education: Obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) or a regionally accredited institution.
  • Supervised Experience: Complete the required supervised clinical experience. In Tennessee, this typically involves accumulating 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, with at least 200 hours of direct client contact. The supervision must be provided by an approved supervisor.
  • Examination: Pass the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board’s (AMFTRB) national examination. You’ll also need to pass a jurisprudence exam which tests you on laws and regulations concerning marriage and family therapy.
  • Application: Submit an application for licensure to the Tennessee Board for Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists, and Licensed Pastoral Therapists. Include all necessary documentation, such as transcripts, verification of supervised experience, examination scores, and any other required materials.
  • Background Check: Undergo a criminal background check as part of the licensure process.
  • Fees: Pay the required application and licensure fees.
  • Continuing Education: Upon licensure, fulfill any continuing education requirements to maintain your license. In Tennessee, LMFTs must complete 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years, including 3 hours in ethics.

List of MFT Degree Programs in Tennessee

Chattanooga, TN

Graduate Certificate Programs
1815 McCallie Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37404
(423) 226-4574

Cleveland, TN

1120 N Ocoee St
Cleveland, TN 37311
(423) 614-8000

Memphis, TN

Southern Avenue
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-2000

Nashville, TN

One University Park Drive
Nashville, TN 37204-3951
(615) 966-1000

333 Murfreesboro Rd
Nashville, TN 37210
(615) 248-1200

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

Share This: