Looking for a rewarding career in the mental health field that works primarily with couples, families, children, and adolescents? Marriage and family therapy (MFT) is a century-old field, but it’s gone through many changes in the last few decades. Marriage and family therapists are needed now more than ever, and the career outlook is expected to grow exponentially in the years to come. The first step to becoming a marriage and family therapist is graduating from an MFT degree program. To learn about your options for MFT programs in Virginia, take a look at the sections below.

2025 - Best MFT Programs in Virginia

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


Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

Regent University offers Marriage and Family Therapy programs at the Master's, Doctoral, and certificate levels. These programs emphasize clinical practice grounded in Christian principles, preparing students for licensure and advanced roles in therapy. With a focus on integrating faith and professional practice, graduates are equipped to address diverse family dynamics effectively.


Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

At Liberty University, the Marriage & Family Therapy program offers a comprehensive curriculum that combines theoretical and practical approaches to prepare students for a career in counseling. The program is housed within the Department of Counselor Education & Family Studies and is offered on the main campus in Lynchburg, Virginia as well as online for maximum flexibility and convenience. Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internships and clinical practicums, and can also participate in research projects with faculty members.


William & Mary

Williamsburg, VA

William & Mary's Marriage & Family Therapy program, offered through the School of Education, is highly regarded for its rigorous curriculum and hands-on clinical experience. Located on the historic campus in Williamsburg, Virginia, the program boasts faculty with diverse expertise in the field and offers opportunities for students to conduct research and work with real clients in the William & Mary Center for Family Services.

What is an MFT Degree?

MFT degree programs are designed to educate individuals on the common challenges that couples and families face throughout their lives and how to help these demographics navigate them through the power of therapy. Typically speaking, most individuals who enroll in MFT degree programs aim to become clinicians and work firsthand with their communities’ members, but plenty go on to become researchers, educators, administrators, or social workers as well. Most MFT degree programs combine in-class coursework and lectures with real, firsthand supervised training so that future marriage and family therapists receive a well-rounded and comprehensive education.

Why is COAMFTE MFT Accreditation Important?

Arguably, the most important consideration when looking at MFT degree programs is accreditation. Most MFT degree programs are accredited, but not all. If a program is not accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) or CACREP in cases where the program is considered a counseling degree, it has not been approved by the state board, and thus, does not lead to licensure.

Can I Get an MFT Degree Online in Virginia?

If you’re working full-time or raising a family, it can be difficult to balance your education on top of it. Fortunately, online MFT programs have become a common alternative to classroom study. Because of the clinical nature of MFT programs, most online MFT programs require that you spend at least some face-to-face time to fulfill your supervised clinical hour requirements, so as you begin your search, be sure to double-check whether or not you will need to commute to campus for these or if you will be allowed to complete them in your own community. We already mentioned one option for online MFT programs above (Regent University’s MFT graduate certificate); however, there is also one other option:

Liberty University: This Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy offered by Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA equips students with a Christian-based approach to helping families, couples, and individuals with the common issues that they face. While the program is offered primarily online, there are two on-campus intensives that will require you to travel to Lynchburg at certain points during the year.

MFT Degree Levels

There is more than one type of MFT degree. The most common type is a master’s degree. These are the lowest-level MFT degrees that still allow students to become licensed upon graduation. There are also doctorate degrees for students who are seeking more advanced roles. Finally, graduate certificates, though not degrees, are a great choice for students who have already gotten licensed in another clinical mental health field, but are lacking background in marriage and family therapy.

Do I Need a GRE for an MFT Program?

Depending on the program, you may need to submit a GRE (Graduate Record Examination) along with your application to show your placement amongst other undergraduates. Not all institutions, however, require this. Your admissions department will have guidelines as to whether or not you will be required to submit a GRE or some other type of accompanying document to show your academic merit.

Master's Degree in MFT

A master's degree in MFT is the minimum requirement for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in most jurisdictions. This degree program covers advanced topics such as marriage counseling techniques, family therapy modalities, and ethical considerations in clinical practice. Graduates of master’s programs often work in private practice, clinics, hospitals, or community mental health centers, providing therapy to individuals, couples, and families. Most MFT master's degrees take about two years to complete with approximately 60 credits.

The typical tuition cost for a master's degree in MFT varies considerably depending on the program, but on average, you can expect to pay about $46,953 for your tuition in Virginia. Here are a few MFT master’s degree programs available in Virginia:

Virginia Commonwealth University: If you’re looking to devote your career to educating future marriage and family counselors, Virginia Commonwealth University offers an M.Ed in Counseling with a focus on Marriage and Family Counseling. This unique program offers students the opportunity to become dual licensed as a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as a licensed professional counselor, offering entryway into both clinical positions and educational roles.

College of William and Mary: The College of William and Mary is the nation’s oldest institution of higher learning after Harvard, and thus, their M.Ed. in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health – Relationship, Marriage and Family is well respected in the clinical mental health education field. Like Virginia Common Wealth University, this program allows students to pursue careers as both clinicians and educators and become dual-licensed marriage and family therapists and professional counselors.

Graduate Certificate in MFT

If licensure is not the goal or you already have obtained licensure through a clinical mental health practice, there are opportunities to expand your training in marriage and family therapy through MFT graduate certificates. These 1-year non-degree programs allow students to access a quick and affordable MFT education, typically only costing between $1,000 and $1,500. Virginia currently offers one MFT graduate certificate program in the state:

Regent University: Once you’ve completed a clinical mental health graduate degree, you may want to consider Regent University’s Graduate Certificate in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. While this program won’t offer licensure on its own, it will build on your existing educational background to provide you with a comprehensive outlook of the field. This program is also flexible, with both an online and on-campus delivery option, perfect for students with little leeway in their schedules.

MFT Doctorate Degrees (Ph.D. or PsyD)

By the end of your master’s degree program, you can sit for the licensure exam or continue your education further. If you decide on the second option, there are plenty of MFT doctorate degree programs to choose from nationwide with one option available locally. MFT doctorate degrees typically last between four and eight years and cost between $30,000 to well over $150,000, depending on the program. They come in two varieties — a Ph.D., which focuses heavily on research and education, and a PsyD, which is more designed for clinicians. Here is one option available in Virginia:

Virginia Tech: The Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy offered by Virginia Tech is the oldest continuously accredited MFT doctorate degree program in the country and has numerous opportunities for experimental and observational research in laboratories and in clinical settings within the community. Students can complete this program in as little as three years, offering a quick and thorough entryway into a variety of marriage and family therapeutic careers.

Becoming an LMFT in Virginia

The final step to working as a marriage and family therapist is achieving licensure. Virginia has one of the most rigorous processes for becoming licensed as a marriage and family therapist — here’s what you need to know:

  • Education: Obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field from a regionally accredited institution. Ensure that your program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) or an equivalent accrediting body.
  • Supervised Experience: Complete a certain number of supervised clinical hours, typically around 3,400 hours, with at least half of those hours directly related to marriage and family therapy. The exact requirements may vary, so it’s essential to check with the Virginia Board of Counseling for the most up-to-date information.
  • Examination: Pass the National MFT Exam administered by the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB). This exam assesses your knowledge and understanding of marriage and family therapy principles and practices.
  • Application Process: Submit an application for licensure to the Virginia Board of Counseling. This may include providing transcripts, verification of supervised experience hours, exam scores, and other documentation.
  • Background Check: Undergo a criminal background check as part of the application process.
  • Fees: Pay any required application and licensure fees.
  • Continuing Education: After obtaining licensure, you’ll need to fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain your license. This requires completing 20 continuing education hours every year.

List of MFT Degree Programs in Virginia

Lynchburg, VA

Master's Programs
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000

Virginia Beach, VA

Williamsburg, VA

200 Richmond Road
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
(757) 221-4000

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