Study Marriage and Family Therapy in Georgia
As the old saying goes, nothing is guaranteed but death and taxes. However, as any married couple will attest, there’s bound to be difficulties in a marriage at some point.
While not everyone experiences relationship-ending problems, all marriages have bumps in the road. It might be dysfunctional communication patterns, disagreements about parenting issues, or difficulties with money. Whatever the case, a marriage and family therapist (MFT) can help guide couples through rough waters.
As someone thinking about a marriage and family therapy career, you have to consider where you can get the proper education – and a quality education at that. With many different marriage and family programs at private and public universities in the state, Georgia offers the opportunities required to get the education you need.
Georgia is home to many well-known schools offering a wide verity of psychology and counseling programs. Below is a list of a few popular marriage and family therapy programs currently available in Georgia.
Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Georgia
The University of Georgia (UGA)
The University of Georgia is one of the oldest universities in the nation. It was founded in 1785, not long after the United States gained independence from the British Crown.
In the years since, UGA has grown into a large, public, doctoral-granting institution with more than 31,000 undergraduate students. The University has many academic distinctions as well. US News and World Report ranks UGA 16th on its list of top public schools and 49th among national universities.
Students at UGA explore many different academic programs. There are 18 schools and colleges with unique degrees, like Atmospheric Sciences, Chinese Language and Literature, and American Sign Language, to name a few.
The Doctoral program in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Georgia focuses on several areas pertaining to couples and family therapy. First, you will gain the clinical skills required to provide effective counseling services to individuals, couples, and families. Second, you will learn the scientific bases of research and conduct independent research in an area of interest in this field.
In fact, as a student in this program, you’ll have opportunities to work directly with couples and families through the University’s ASPIRE Clinic. The clinic is a state-of-the-art facility that provides counseling and other services to the local community.
You should expect to spend about five years completing this degree. Once you have finished all requirements, you might be eligible for licensure to become a marriage and family therapist in Georgia.
Valdosta State University (VSU)
Valdosta State University is a public, regional university whose students are primarily from Georgia. Nearly 75 percent of students enrolled at Valdosta hail from the Peach State. However, the remaining 25 percent of students come from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and abroad.
VSU enrolls about 9,000 undergraduate students. The school is an affordable option, particularly if you are a Georgia student – the in-state tuition rate is around $5,464 per year. Graduate studies are affordable as well – you will pay just over $6,000 for in-state tuition for a year of graduate studies.
This 60-credit Master of Science program in marriage and family therapy prepares you for a clinical career as a marriage and family therapist. In addition to ample coursework in clinical practice and counseling, you will also complete an intensive 12-month clinical practicum.
The purpose of the practicum is twofold – to give you the chance to apply your classroom learning in a real-world setting and to help you build experience in working with clients. The result of this clinical experience is that you emerge a better-skilled clinician that’s ready to begin your marriage and family therapy career.
Likewise, as a graduate of this program, you are eligible to apply for licensure as a marriage and family therapist. Additionally, you can apply for membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).
Toccoa Falls College
Toccoa Falls College is a private Christian institution with four academic schools:
- School of Arts & Sciences
- School of Christian Ministries
- School of Professional Studies
- Fetterman School of Nursing
Toccoa Falls College is located in a beautiful area in northwest Georgia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you study on campus, this gives you an opportunity to explore many recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, camping, and nature photography, to name a few.
This school has won many distinctions for its academics over the years. This includes recognition from US News and World Report for being among the best regional colleges in the south, the best value schools in the south, and top performers for social mobility in the south.
Toccoa Falls College offers an online Master of Arts in marriage and family therapy that prepares you for clinical and counseling work. It’s a 60-credit program, and takes most students around 2.5 years to complete.
Coursework for the program includes diverse subjects, such as:
- Psychopathology and Diagnosis
- Foundational Skills for Counseling and MFT
- Contemporary Issues and Community Resources
- Assessment and Psychological Testing
- Treatment Planning
The program also includes practicum and internship components. These experiences give you the opportunity to complete supervised practice in community clinical settings.
Upon completion of this degree, you will be eligible for licensure as a marriage and family therapist in most states. You can take two additional courses to add eligibility as a licensed professional counselor.
Mercer University is a school system with campuses and academic centers in six different locations. Additionally, Mercer maintains 10 teaching hospitals throughout Georgia where it trains its medical students. Mercer isn’t just a medical school, though. Many different types of degrees are conferred at this university, including:
- Undergraduate degrees
- Graduate degrees
- Doctoral degrees
- Law degrees
- Professional degrees (e.g., Psy.D., Ed.S.)
In all, the University has around 9,000 students that represent 47 states and 53 countries.
The MFT program at Mercer University is unique in that it’s offered by Mercer’s school of medicine. This enables medical and non-medical students to receive the appropriate training to conduct family therapy. That training includes:
- 39 credits of classroom-based instruction
- 6 credits of professional development seminars
- A 9-credit clinical practicum
The practicum is a year-long experience in which you will work with clients under the supervision of a licensed marriage and family therapist. This experience, along with your classroom learning, are designed to help you gain expertise in many different areas, including:
- Family dynamics
- Marriage and family therapy theories
- Human development
- Systemic thinking
- Family dynamics
This program requires around two years to complete.
Work Opportunities in Georgia
The work opportunities ahead for you in Georgia depend on your level of education and your licensure. For example, to practice as a marriage and family therapist, you must hold a license from the state in which you work. If you graduate from one of the programs discussed above, you will be eligible for licensure in Georgia. You will also be eligible for licensure in many other states.
With a graduate or doctoral degree in this field and licensure from the state, you will have many career options ahead of you. You can open a private practice and work in a clinical setting with couples and families. You can also work in community mental health in any number of non-profit organizations to provide critical counseling services to underserved communities.
As a marriage and family therapist, you can work in many other areas as well. You might find employment in a medical facility, like an HMO. Marriage and family therapists commonly work in academic settings, too. You might even find job opportunities in local or state government agencies, like the Department of Family Services or the Department of Health.
In other words, whether your goal is to be self-employed, work as a professor, serve your local community, or something in between, your degree and training allows you to pursue your occupational goals.