Marriage and family therapy (MFT) is one of the fastest-growing fields in the mental health industry, and studies show that it will continue growing for many years to come. Students in Washington looking for an engaging way to serve families, couples, children, and adolescents may want to consider this rewarding field of study. The best way to get started is with an MFT degree.

2025 - Best MFT Programs in Washington's Best MFT Programs in Washington rankings are an invaluable resource for prospective students aiming to pursue a career in Marriage and Family Therapy. These rankings are thoughtfully curated, considering critical factors such as program completion rates, cost of living, institutional competitiveness, diversity of programs offered, and faculty experience. Each of these elements provides a comprehensive assessment of the quality and suitability of MFT programs across Washington. To gain a deeper understanding of the methodology behind these rankings, please visit our rankings methodology page.


Seattle Pacific University

Seattle, WA

Seattle Pacific University offers Marriage and Family Therapy programs through the School of Psychology, Family, and Community. These programs provide students with a strong foundation in psychology, theory, and clinical practice, preparing them for careers as licensed therapists. The campus, located in the vibrant city of Seattle, provides a diverse and supportive learning environment for students to grow and develop their skills.


Whitworth University

Spokane, WA

Whitworth University offers a highly reputable Marriage & Family Therapy program through its Department of Psychology on its picturesque campus in Spokane, Washington. With a focus on experiential learning and a strong emphasis on ethical and culturally sensitive practices, students in this program gain the skills and knowledge necessary for successful careers in the field of therapy.


Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

Gonzaga University offers a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Counseling through its School of Education. The program combines rigorous academic coursework with extensive clinical training, emphasizing ethical practice and social justice. Graduates are equipped with the skills needed for licensure and effective practice in diverse therapeutic settings, addressing complex family dynamics.

What is an MFT Degree?

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

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

Completing 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?

The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), and sometimes CACREP, are responsible for accrediting most MFT programs. This ensures that the program meets the state board’s requirements for licensure and that you will be receiving the most quality and ethically-sound education. Check all prospective websites to make sure that the program that you are applying to is accredited if your goal is to become licensed.

Can I Get an MFT Degree Online in Washington?

Definitely! Like many other types of degree programs, MFT degree programs are largely available online. However, due to the required clinical hours associated with MFT degree programs, you will likely still need to participate in person to some capacity. For this reason, we recommend that you research each program thoroughly so that you understand exactly what is expected of you and if you will be required to be near or on campus for any portion of the curriculum.

It’s also important to mention that there are currently no online MFT degree programs that are based in the State of Washington, which means you may need to relocate to the state where your program is based. You’ll also need to transfer your licensure to Washington upon graduation if you intend to practice there. That being said, the two closest online MFT degree programs are currently located just over the border in Oregon:

Oregon Institute of Technology: This 3-year Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy is a great option for students who want to take their classes primarily online. There is a one-year required in-person practicum in the second year of study. Apart from that, most classes can be taken online or on weekends and evenings, providing a full spectrum of learning options for students with busy schedules. Oregon Institute of Technology also offers further specialization within the marriage and family therapy specialization. You can choose to focus your area of study on Integrated Behavioral Healthcare & Medical Family Therapy, Substance Misuse, Addiction and Recovery, or Rural Mental Healthcare Emphasis.

George Fox University: George Fox University offers a fantastic Master’s Degree in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling that also offers clinical licensure as a counselor or therapist — or both. Students who want to take advantage of online learning can do so in their second year of study once their clinical hours have been taken care of. George Fox University is historically a Quaker school which means that their MFT program will have a degree of Christian theology attached to it, for students looking to become faith-based therapists, this is an added bonus.

Short Length MFT Programs in Washington

Students looking for the fastest route to licensure should stick to MFT master’s degree programs. These programs usually last between 2 and 4 years, and many programs are available in Washington that are on the lower end of this range. Here are a few worth considering:

SchoolDegree LevelLengthAttendance
Seattle Pacific UniversityMaster of Science in MFT2 yearsFull-time
Seattle UniversityMaster of Arts in Couples and Family Therapy offered2 YearsFull-time
Pacific Lutheran UniversityMaster of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy2 YearsFull-time

Affordable MFT Programs in Washington

In addition to timeliness, the cost of the program is often a major consideration for MFT students. Many programs based in Washington can cost over $1,000 per credit but if you’re looking to save money on your tuition, there are alternative options:

SchoolDegreeTuition & Fees
Seattle Pacific UniversityMaster of Science in MFTDetails
Whitworth UniversityMaster of Arts in Marriage and Family TherapyDetails
Seattle UniversityMaster of Arts in Couples and Family Therapy offeredDetails

MFT Degree Levels

There are several different levels of degrees that focus on marriage and family therapy. While MFT undergraduate degrees are offered to students in some states, you must graduate from either a master’s or doctorate degree program to become licensed as a marriage and family therapist. Some students who have already graduated from a graduate degree program in a mental health practice may be interested in graduate certificates in MFT which give you some insight into the profession without clinical hours.

Do I Need a GRE for an MFT Program?

A GRE is a common tool used by colleges and universities to measure an applicant’s placement in certain educational areas. However, there are many schools in Washington that don’t require a GRE including Seattle Pacific University. To find out if a given school requires a GRE to enroll, check the admissions page of your program’s website.

Master's Degree in MFT

The minimum educational requirement for becoming a marriage and family therapist is a master’s degree. MFT master’s degrees last two years and require a combination of around 60 credits and several hundred hours of supervised clinicals. On average, you can expect to pay $51,008 in tuition costs in Washington. MFT master’s degrees are the most common type of MFT degree, and they are widely available in Washington State. Here are a few to consider:

Seattle University: The Master of Arts in Couples and Family Therapy offered at Seattle University is perfect for students looking to expand their knowledge on the various therapeutic methods that apply to marriages and families and become licensed as a marriage and family counselor or therapist. Seattle University prides itself on its graduate success rate – 99% of students who graduate from SU's program become LMFTs.

Seattle Pacific University: Seattle Pacific University offers a 70-credit Master of Science in MFT that is primarily focused on a Christian context, but its curriculum examines the roles that science, biology, spirituality, and sociology play in our understanding of relationships and family dynamics. This program is perfect for individuals looking to become biblical counselors specializing in helping couples with their marriage or family issues.

Graduate Certificate in MFT

Graduate certificates are a quick and efficient way to specialize in marriage and family therapy when you already have a graduate degree in psychology. Students who already have a degree in marriage and family therapy (or another clinical mental health practice) can further develop their skills through this non-degree certificate.

MFT graduate certificates typically take a year or less to complete and require 15-30 credits. On average, students in Washington pay around $1,000 to $1,500 for their MFT graduate certificate. There is currently one option for students looking to pursue a graduate certificate in Washington State:

Seattle Pacific University: The MFT master’s degree offered by Seattle Pacific University is a solid choice, but if you already have a master’s degree and don’t require MFT licensure, you can sign up for Seattle Pacific University’s Medical Family Therapy Certificate. This unique program covers the relationship between healthcare and family therapy, providing a comprehensive approach to both.

MFT Doctorate Degrees (Ph.D. or PsyD)

If you get to the end of your master’s degree program and you’d like to develop your MFT studies further, MFT doctorate degree programs provide a more in-depth and expansive MFT education. Graduating from an MFT doctorate degree program also allows students to tap into more niche job markets and therapeutic roles. With a Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy, you can pursue research or educational roles (through an MFT Ph.D.) or more advanced clinical roles (through a PsyD).

Doctorate degree programs typically last 4 to 6 years and cost around $35,000 to $300,000, depending on the length and location of the program. As of now, there are currently no MFT doctorate degree programs that are based in Washington. However, you can find them available in nearby states or online:

Loma Linda University: This Ph.D. in Systems, Families, and Couples offered by Loma Linda University is a great example of MFT graduate-level education in California. The program offers insight into the theory, research, and practice of family and couples therapy, mental health disorders, substance abuse, and all of the necessary topics associated with this specialization. The program takes four years to complete.

Alliant International University: Another great doctoral MFT program in California is Alliant International University’s PsyD in Marriage and Family Therapy. This program focuses on the mental health clinical aspects of marriage and family therapy and offers a hybrid learning option that balances online courses and hands-on experience, allowing for both convenience and immersive expertise.

Becoming an LMFT in Washington

Education is a big part of becoming a marriage and family therapist, but you’ll also need to become licensed if you want to work in a clinical setting. Securing licensure is a multi-step process. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Education: Obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in Marriage and Family Therapy or a closely 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: Accumulate postgraduate supervised clinical experience. In Washington, you need to complete 3,000 hours of postgraduate supervised experience, with 1,000 hours in direct client contact. This experience should be completed over a period of at least two years.
  • Examination: Pass the National Examination in Marital and Family Therapy administered by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).
  • Criminal Background Check: Undergo a criminal background check. This involves submitting fingerprints for a background check to the Washington State Department of Health.
  • Application: Complete the application for LMFT licensure through the Washington State Department of Health. This includes providing all necessary documentation, such as transcripts, verification of supervised experience, examination scores, and payment of the application fee.
  • Continuing Education: After obtaining licensure, maintain your license by fulfilling continuing education requirements. In Washington, LMFTs must complete 36 hours of continuing education every two years to renew their license.

List of MFT Degree Programs in Washington

Seattle, WA

Master's Programs
2326 6th Ave
Seattle, WA 98121-1814
(206) 441-5352

3307 3rd Ave W
Seattle, WA 98119-1997
(206) 281-2000

Spokane, WA

Master's Programs
E 502 Boone Ave
Spokane, WA 99258-0001
(800) 986-9585

Master's Programs
300 W Hawthorne Rd
Spokane, WA 99251
(509) 777-1000

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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