2023 Best Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in North Carolina

North Carolina is a state of immense beauty. You can explore beaches, mountains, and everything in between, often within a day’s drive of one another. The state has vibrant cities, quaint towns, and is rich in history from pre-colonial times to the present.

North Carolina is also a hotbed of academic activity. There are more than 130 schools in North Carolina that offer higher education degrees. While not every college and university in the state has a marriage and family therapy program, many of them do.

You can start your education with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, then move into marriage and family therapy in graduate school or a doctoral program in the Tar Heel State.

Below are just a few options for studying marriage and family therapy in North Carolina.

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in North Carolina

North Carolina A&T

School Information

North Carolina A&T is a public, doctoral-level university with more than 13,000 students. Though most of these students are undergraduates, the school has around 1,700 graduate students advancing their education in one of 30 graduate degree programs.

In addition to these graduate programs, North Carolina A&T also offers 54 undergraduate majors, 29 undergraduate minors, and 11 doctoral degree programs. There are also 19 graduate certificate programs, including the one discussed below.

North Carolina A&T has nine academic colleges that span engineering, business, and graduate studies, to name a few. The University also offers online learning with a robust distance learning program.

Program Information

If you already have a bachelor’s degree and are currently enrolled in the counselor education program at North Carolina A&T, you can add this marriage and family therapy certificate to your studies to get specialized training.

This is a 12-hour program of study that focuses on the following:

  • Counseling Couples
  • Counseling Poor and Ethnically Diverse Families
  • Advanced Theory and Practice in Family Counseling

You can also take courses in play therapy, addictions, marriage counseling, and counseling women and girls.

By taking these courses, you will add a specialized set of training that focuses on family systems and family roles that complements your knowledge and expertise in individual counseling and clinical mental health care.

East Carolina University

School Information

One of the benefits of choosing East Carolina University is that it offers so many programs of study. There are nearly 90 bachelor’s degree programs and almost 70 master’s degree programs, to go along with 20 doctoral-level programs.

You can begin your education with an undergraduate degree in psychology, move on to get the graduate degree in marriage and family therapy discussed below, then move on to get your doctorate, all at one school!

East Carolina has come a long way in its 115 years of existence. What began as a modest school with few students in 1907 has grown to a large public, non-profit university with more than 28,000 students on campus and online.

ECU is regarded well for its academics, too. Princeton Review ranks it as one of the southeast’s best colleges. Likewise, Newsweek ranks this school among the top ten in the nation for online studies.

Program Information

This 51-credit Master of Science program in marriage and family therapy prepares you to help couples, families, and individuals improve their lives through better functioning.

You can assist your clients in doing so through various means, including improving communication skills, helping work through past trauma, and demonstrating positive ways of supporting others. You’ll learn these skills and much more in this program.

This program requires coursework and clinical experience as part of the graduation requirements. Some of the classes you will take include:

  • Family Theories and Issues
  • Critical Issues in Family and Cultural Diversity
  • Statistics in Child/Family Studies
  • Theories of Child Development
  • Family Systems Theories

The fieldwork component takes place at ECU’s Family Therapy Clinic, where you will work with individuals, couples, and families under the supervision of a faculty member. This provides you with invaluable experience on which you can rely when you begin your career.

East Carolina University (ECU)

School Information

Most students that attend East Carolina University are from North Carolina. In fact, 90 percent of ECU’s students have in-state residency. However, there are many online programs that allow students across the nation and around the world to get a high-quality education from ECU.

ECU’s campus is highly diverse, with large Hispanic, Asian, and African-American student populations. The faculty – which numbers nearly 2,000 people – is equally diverse. This diverse atmosphere enhances the academic learning opportunities provided on campus.

With accolades from US News and World Report, Washington Monthly, Princeton Review, and others, ECU is well-regarded for its higher education programs.

Program Information

The 59-credit Ph.D. program at ECU focuses on medical family therapy. This unique specialization was the first of its kind in the United States and focuses your studies on becoming a leader in policymaking for healthcare systems.

Likewise, the skills you learn in this doctoral program prepare you for teaching family therapy and marriage therapy at the university level.

In addition to coursework and mentorship, you will conduct research in the biopsychosocial-spiritual realm. Doing so involves examining mental health issues, medical issues, and integrated care, among many other important topics. You will also have opportunities to engage in clinical practice and supervision.

Most students in this program seek employment in education or research upon graduation. However, if clinical practice is your career goal, this program is good preparation for that, too.

Appalachian State University

School Information

It’s hard to beat the location of Appalachian State University. Located in Boone, North Carolina, the University is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where you will have access to mountains, lakes, rivers, trails, and many other outdoor recreation opportunities. It’s also one of the most beautiful areas for fall foliage in the nation.

Appalachian State isn’t just a pretty campus, though. There are more than 150 bachelor’s degree programs and 80 graduate programs offered on campus. You can pursue degrees in art, education, or business. Music, health sciences, and graduate studies are further areas of academic pursuit.

No matter your chosen degree path, you will benefit from a rich learning environment on campus, as well as many opportunities for field learning that allow you to put your classroom learning to the test.

Program Information

Appalachian State’s marriage and family therapy program is a 51-hour graduate degree that prepares you for a career in clinical work.

This is a cohort program. Once you are accepted to a cohort, you proceed through the program with the same classmates. This helps you build bonds with other students, improves collegiality, and gives you a built-in network of support as you work on your degree.

In addition to the regular courses required for graduation, you can choose to complete an Addictions Counseling Certificate. The certificate requires coursework and an internship in the addiction and recovery realm. Once you successfully complete the certificate’s requirements, you will be eligible for certification as a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist.

MFT Work Opportunities in North Carolina

Though a degree in marriage and family therapy gives you specific expertise in conducting clinical counseling with couples and families, these aren’t the only clients with whom you can work. After graduating from your MFT program, you can find opportunities for work in many other areas in North Carolina.

For example, you might choose to work in a K-12 school district and work exclusively with students that come from difficult circumstances (e.g., parents that are divorced). Likewise, as noted earlier, you might specialize in working in the addictions sphere and provide practical training to families that have been disrupted by drug or alcohol abuse.

Of course, there are many other career opportunities you might pursue in North Carolina. Since there’s such an extensive higher education system, you might go into academics as a college professor. Conversely, you might consider working in community mental health and providing your services to couples and families in a non-profit setting.

Whatever path you choose, the expertise you gain in your graduate or doctoral program will prepare you well for helping families get back on track.

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