Popular Accredited Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Arizona [2024 Guide]

Getting an education in marriage and family therapy in Arizona is as easy as narrowing down which high-quality program to choose from. Schools large and small in Arizona offer master’s degrees and higher in this field. Likewise, many online programs are available to you as an Arizona student, even if the program is based out of state.

The list below outlines popular choices you have for completing your degree. These programs are all well regarded, but more importantly, they are high-quality, accessible programs that lead to licensure as a marriage and family therapist. Use the information below to help you narrow your search for the ideal program for getting a marriage and family therapy degree in Arizona!

Best Accredited Marriage and Family Therapy MFT Programs in Arizona Online

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Arizona

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering marriage and family therapy programs in Arizona:

  • Arizona State University
  • Arizona Christian University
  • Grand Canyon University
  • National University
  • Loma Linda University
  • Capella University
  • Northwestern University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Walden University

Arizona State University

Master of Applied Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

Th Master of Applied Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at Arizona State University is the only one offered by a state school in Arizona. Not only that, but it’s also an accelerated program; the timeline for completing this degree is between 16 and 18 months, rather than the two to three years it usually takes to complete an MFT degree.

This degree includes the typical components of a master’s program in this field, including coursework and a supervised internship. Regarding the coursework, you only need 39 credits and a master’s research paper to graduate. Many MFT programs require at least 60 credits, by comparison.

This doesn’t mean you won’t get a quality education, though. The courses you’ll take will introduce to you crucial topics in this field, such as:

  • Human Development
  • Marriage and Family Therapy Techniques
  • Theories of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Couples Therapy
  • Group Therapy

You’ll also take courses related to professional issues. For example, you’ll take a course that covers ethical and legal considerations for marriage and family therapists. You can also benefit from a course on career options, networking, professional development, and other related issues that are pertinent to practicing in this field.

You must complete at least 300 hours of client contact time in combination with your coursework. You’ll earn these hours in a community counseling setting. The department faculty must approve your placement site before you begin your work, though.

The internship experience is the largest component of this program. You’ll spend about one year working in a clinical setting where your work will be supervised. Supervision is provided by an onsite supervisor, as well as weekly supervision meetings with your professors and classmates.

Participating in an internship is the best way to get your feet wet as a marriage and family therapist. It allows you to test out your knowledge and skills, and do so in a highly supportive environment. While you’ll be in charge of client intakes, assessments, treatment planning, and so forth, you can rely on your supervisor’s expertise to navigate situations in which you’re unsure of what to do.

Naturally, you must perform well in your internship to complete this degree. On the one hand, you must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout this program. On the other hand, you must meet all the expectations of your internship agency to move on to graduation.

You can begin the application process to ASU’s graduate school online. You must meet the following criteria to apply:

  • Hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in a closely related field
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in the last 60 credits of your undergraduate work or cumulatively for any graduate work
  • Submit official transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended
  • Provide a resume
  • Provide a personal statement
  • Send three letters of recommendation from academic and professional sources

You must also submit proof of English proficiency if English is not your native language.

Arizona Christian University

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

The School of Graduate Studies at Arizona Christian University offers a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy with a religious component. If you prefer to practice from a Biblical perspective, this program could be the one for you!

Don’t be fooled, though. This program doesn’t only emphasize Christian principles. You’ll still get  thorough training in research-based theories and techniques in marriage and family therapy. For example, the program emphasizes the systems perspective (as most marriage and family therapy programs do), so you’ll learn about relational therapy, developmental issues, inter-generational issues, and other important components of the family system.

In all, you’re required to complete a minimum of 57 credits to graduate. These credits include coursework and internship experiences. The coursework component introduces you to advanced topics in this field. For example, you might take classes such as:

  • Systemic Assessment
  • Basic Concepts of Systemic Therapy
  • Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Methods of Systems Therapy
  • Human Development

As you can see, these courses are widely varied and instruct you in many different facets of being a marriage and family therapist. You’ll take other courses, too, of course. This might include classes in Intimate Relations, Family Therapy Treatment Models, and Group Therapy, to name a few.

The internship component allows you to apply what you learn in classes like those listed above in a real-world setting with actual clients. You’ll gain a minimum of 300 hours of client contact time, usually over the course of a year-long internship placement. Where you complete your hours is up to you, though the university must approve your site selection.

During your internship, you’ll observe experienced practitioners working with clients, co-practice with your site supervisor, and provide treatment for couples, families, and individual members of families. As time goes on, you’ll gain more independence and provide therapeutic services to clients on your own.

You will always have a site supervisor to lean on for guidance and support, though. You’ll participate in regular supervision with your supervisor, who will give you feedback on your methods and techniques, highlight your strengths, and help you identify ways to address your weaknesses.

It’s also typical to participate in consultation and supervision with program faculty and your classmates. This is an on-campus cohort, meaning, you’ll have plentiful opportunities to share and debrief your experiences with your classmates. Presenting sample cases to one another allows you to learn from multiple perspectives while also getting experience in consultative and supervisory situations. This is important as your success as a licensed marriage and family therapist relies in large part on your ability and willingness to seek help from colleagues when needed.

You may add an optional specialization to this degree, too. The specialization in working with families with disabilities requires you to take nine additional course credits. This brings the minimum credits for graduation to 66.

The marriage and family program has the following admissions requirements:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA or higher (students within 10 percent of this mark or have other compelling academic strengths may also be considered for admission)
  • Provide information for two character references who can speak to your academic or professional skills and abilities
  • Agree with the Arizona Christian University statement of faith and core convictions

You must also participate in a personal interview with a member of the marriage and family therapy faculty.

Grand Canyon University

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Marriage and Family Therapy

The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Marriage and Family Therapy from Grand Canyon University is a non-traditional program in that it does not qualify you for licensure as a marriage and family therapist. However, since it’s a clinical mental health counseling program, it’s aligned with the requirements for becoming a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. Furthermore, the curriculum is approved by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners.

As you’d expect, this program focuses on the issues that bring couples and families to therapy. This includes everything from infidelity to juvenile delinquency to trust and communication issues. Not only will you be equipped to help couples and families with a broad range of day-to-day and mental health problems, but you will do so armed with a family-oriented approach.

The skills you gain in assessing, diagnosing, and treating couples and families will be rooted in the systems approach (as is typical of MFT programs). Your training begins with coursework in a diverse range of areas, including the following:

  • Introduction to Graduate Studies in Counseling
  • Counseling Skills
  • Principles of Psychopharmacology
  • Diversity in Family Systems
  • Couples and Family Dynamics

This program also requires you to take foundational courses that help you understand the fundamental underpinnings of being a practicing therapist. For example, you’ll take courses in human development, professional ethics, and issues of aging. You’ll also take a comprehensive course in Clinical Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment that enables you to work competently with couples and families with any number of presenting issues.

An advantage of this program is that you can take many of the required courses online. These courses are also offered on campus in the evening, giving you the greatest flexibility for completing the degree requirements.

You must complete fieldwork as part of your training, too. This fieldwork consists of two experiences: a practicum and a two-semester internship. The practicum focuses on helping you develop the high-level clinical skills required to practice with couples, families, and individuals. The practicum requires you to complete at least 100 hours of counseling activities, 40 of which must be direct client contact hours.

The two-semester internship requires you to complete 300 hours of counseling activities, of which 120 hours must be direct client contact time. As with the practicum, the internship’s focus is on developing your clinical skills in preparation for your career. However, you will have expanded opportunities to practice your skills in the internship versus the practicum.

To apply, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Have a 2.8 cumulative undergraduate GPA or higher
  • Submit official transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended

You might also be asked to submit letters of recommendation, a personal statement or essay, and/or a resume or curriculum vitae.

National University

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from National University is an online option if attending courses on campus in Arizona isn’t a possibility. This is the first distance program accredited by COAMFTE, so your online coursework will be supplemented by fieldwork and supervisory activities that enable you to sit for licensure as a marriage and family therapist. Additionally, this program is accredited by the International Accreditation Commission for Systemic Therapy Education (IACSTE).

One of the greatest benefits of this program is that it can be tailored to meet the specific licensing requirements in Arizona and most other states. For example, the basic program is 45 credits. However, if the state where you intend to work requires you to graduate from a 60-credit program, you can take extra classes to meet that requirement. As of this writing, Kansas and New Hampshire are the only states that do not accept this degree as satisfying their licensure requirements.

The basic curriculum includes traditional marriage and family classes (that are delivered online, of course). The foundational classes include Foundations for Graduate Study in Marriage and Family Therapy, Treatment Planning and Traditional Family Therapy, and Recovery-Oriented Care and Postmodern Family Therapy. Your studies in these areas give you a solid foundation of marriage and family concepts upon which to build as you advance through the program.

The next group of classes is deemed “fundamental courses.” You’ll study a broader range of topics in more depth, such as the following:

  • Cultural Diversity, Gender, and Family Development
  • Couple and Sex Therapy
  • Research Methods and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Human Development and Family Dynamics Across the Lifespan
  • Legal, Ethical and Professional Development in Marriage and Family Therapy

You’ll supplement this coursework with additional studies in Psychopathology, Diagnosis, and Systemic Treatment. Additionally, you must take at least two specialization courses. These courses focus on building competencies for working with specific marriage and family populations. You can choose from the following:

  • Child and Adolescent Therapy
  • Couple Therapy
  • General Family Therapy
  • LGBTQ Couple and Family Therapy
  • Medical Family Therapy
  • Military Family Therapy
  • Systemic Sex Therapy
  • Systemic Treatment of Addictions
  • Trauma-Informed Systemic Therapy

After completing your coursework, you’ll move on to the fieldwork phase of the program. You’ll complete a two-part practicum, a two-part internship, and a final internship and capstone course. All of your fieldwork hours can be accrued at an approved site in your community.

The practicum and internship have slightly different focuses. During the practicum, you’ll work on building foundational skills required to work in a clinical therapy setting. You’ll also explore ethical considerations, telehealth, and advancing your understanding of systemic thought and its application in clinical cases. You can also begin accruing direct client contact hours, of which you must earn 300 by the program’s end (150 hours or more must be in a relational setting with families or couples).

The internship, meanwhile, focuses more on helping you develop your own personal theory of therapy and honing your therapeutic skills while working more frequently with couples, families, and individuals. Though it’s likely you will complete your internship in the same setting as your practicum, you may choose to switch to another location to complete these hours. A capstone presentation in which you reflect on your learning and integrate feedback from supervision is also required.

Applications are accepted and reviewed year-round, and classes start monthly, so you can begin your program as soon as the month following your accepted application. You must satisfy the following requirements to apply:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree
  • Submit a resume
  • Submit a detailed licensure plan
  • Participate in a one-on-one interview with a marriage and family therapy faculty member
  • Complete a background check prior to starting your first course

Loma Linda University

Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy

Loma Linda University’s Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy is yet another online option worth considering if on-campus classes don’t fit your schedule.

This 2.5-year program is COAMFTE-accredited and focuses specifically on the processes of health, wholeness, and healing of couples, families, and individuals. You’ll learn how to provide therapeutic services to these populations through a variety of activities, including coursework, research, community service, and clinical training.

The program’s first year focuses on generalist practice studies. This includes coursework in the following areas:

  • Crisis Intervention Counseling
  • Case Presentation and Professional Studies
  • Psychopathology and Diagnostic Procedures
  • Law and Ethics
  • Family Systems Theory

You’ll also complete coursework in Cognitive Behavioral Couples Therapy, Group Process and Practice, and Child Abuse and Family Violence. These initial studies lead to advanced coursework and clinical practice in the program’s second year. The focus of the second year of activities is on gaining further knowledge and developing a deeper understanding of who you are as a therapist. To that end, you’ll participate in extensive case presentation activities during which you and your classmates will unpack the details of practice marriage and family cases.

You’ll also take highly specialized courses that prepare you for working with a variety of clients with a range of mental health issues. A good example of this is a course on Treating the Severely and Persistently Mentally Ill and the Recovery Process.

The internship phase of this program allows you to practice what you’ve learned in class in a supervised clinical setting. Per COAMFTE’s standards, you must accrue at least 300 hours of client contact time over the course of the internship. At least 100 of those hours must be in the context of couples or family therapy. You must also complete at least 100 hours of supervision with your onsite supervisor and professors.

Loma Linda University offers three marriage and family specializations. The first is in Medical Family Therapy, which trains you to work specifically with families living with a major illness or disability. The second is Play Therapy, which focuses on using play as a vessel for therapeutic intervention with children. The third option is a Drug and Alcohol Counseling specialization. If you choose the Play Therapy or Drug and Alcohol Counseling Specializations, you will receive a tuition waiver for the classes required to complete the specialization.

To apply, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Have a 3.0 GPA in the final 45 units of undergraduate studies
  • Provide evidence of academic competence, mature judgment, and professional behavior
  • Pass a health clearance and background check
  • Submit official transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended
  • Provide three letters of recommendation
  • Complete a personal statement
  • Participate in an interview with department faculty

How Do I Become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Arizona?

The process of becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist in Arizona involves the following steps:

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