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

Getting a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy in Ohio is a smart choice. After all, Ohio has numerous on-campus, online, and hybrid programs available that lead to licensure as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).

What’s more, Ohio is a diverse state with many different opportunities for you to learn new skills and apply what you’ve learned in any number of clinical settings. You can gain valuable experience working with couples, families, and individual family members as you prepare for your career.

Below is a list of popular marriage and family therapy programs in the Buckeye State. Each one offers unique features to consider as you make your graduate school decision.

Best Accredited Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Programs in Ohio Online

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Ohio

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

  • Ohio State University
  • University of Akron
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Liberty University
  • Northwestern University
  • Grand Canyon University
  • Capella University

Ohio State University

Master of Human Development and Family Science

As a student at Ohio State University, you can apply to a Master of Human Development and Family Science program with a concentration in couple and family therapy. This clinically-focused program strives to help you achieve three primary goals:

  • Develop clinical skills that allow you to work effectively with all clients, including couples, families, and individuals.
  • Possess the ability to work effectively with diverse clients.
  • Understand what it means to conduct oneself in an ethical manner.

The curriculum requires five semesters to complete. In all, 54 credits are needed to graduate. These credits are divided into five components: core courses, a methods course, a practicum, a thesis, and a capstone and clinical exam.

The core coursework helps you establish an understanding of crucial concepts in marriage and family therapy. For example, you’ll take courses like Family Therapy Theory, Marital Therapy, and Theoretical Perspectives on the Family. Other coursework includes Diversity in Couple and Family Therapy, Diagnosis in Couple and Family Therapy, and Families and Substance Abuse.

You’ll also learn skills related to working with children and adolescents, particularly those who are at risk. Likewise, you must take one of the following: Advanced Child Development or Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood.

These and other courses emphasize the development of skills needed to provide children and adolescents with the therapeutic services required to transition to the next phase of their lives with the tools and confidence needed for success.

The remaining credits in this program include a Research Methods course, 18 credits of fieldwork in a practicum setting, and a thesis. The course in Research Methods prepares you for your thesis work by instilling the skills and knowledge necessary to critically evaluate a great deal of social science-related information. Those skills will be put to the test as you complete your thesis.

The practicum, meanwhile, includes field placements that begin during your second semester in the program. This clinical placement extends through the sixth semester, during which you complete any remaining finishing hours needed to graduate.

All told, you need 500 hours of direct client contact time, of which 200 or more hours should be acquired with supervision (supervision includes activities like individual consultation, group supervision, and live observation, among others). These hours can be gained by working in the on-campus Couple and Family Therapy Clinic as well as in clinical placements in community organizations.

The on-campus clinic offers many amenities that allow you to get the practice and supervision you need. For example, the clinic boasts offices with state-of-the-art video equipment and one-way mirrors that allow supervisors to observe your work live. In some instances, your supervisor might communicate with you to help guide and direct your work. In other instances, they might wait until after a client session is over to provide you with feedback.

The application to Ohio State is available online. The admissions requirements are as follows:

  • Submit an online application and pay the relevant fee
  • Provide official transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended
  • Provide a statement of purpose outlining how the Ohio State program aligns with your academic and career goals
  • Submit a resume or curriculum vitae
  • Submit three letters of recommendation that speak directly to your potential as a clinical therapist

University of Akron

Master of Family Therapy

The Master of Family Therapy from the University of Akron is one of only two programs in the state accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). It is the only master’s-level program with COAMFTE accreditation.

This program focuses your training on clinical practice. As you gain clinical-related skills, you’ll also become multiculturally informed, a good consumer of research, and gain competence as a practitioner within the relation/systemic perspective.

This 60-credit program is completed both on campus and online. Of the 60 credits, 47 are lecture-based courses, while the remaining 13 credits comprise the five clinical courses you must take to graduate.

The program’s coursework takes place in different formats. For example, three of your courses are completely online. The remaining courses are hybrid, with anywhere from 30-70 percent of the work taking place on campus and the remaining work being done online.

The online components are completed in the University of Akron’s learning management system, which gives you access to narrated lectures, readings, and course activities. You can also participate in discussion boards with your classmates, take quizzes, and access readings and other assets.

The coursework you must complete is divided into three categories: Marriage and Family Therapy Foundations, Clinical Foundations, and Electives. The Marriage and Family Therapy Foundations courses focus mostly on therapy techniques and theories. This plays out in courses like:

  • Marriage & Family Counseling/Therapy Ethics & Professional Identity
  • Techniques of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Marriage & Family Therapy: Theory and Techniques
  • Assessment Methods and Treatment Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Systems Theory in Family Therapy

The Clinical Foundations courses mostly focus on specific applications of marriage and family therapy. For example, you’ll take courses in Traumatology, Group Counseling, and Addiction Counseling. Other courses cover topics like Research and Program Evaluation, Sexuality, and Multicultural Counseling.

The elective component of this program gives you the choice to take one of two classes: Play Therapy or Filial Therapy. Naturally, the Play Therapy course focuses on teaching you methods and techniques for using play as a therapeutic vehicle when working with children. The Filial Therapy course, on the other hand, focuses on the skills you need to train parents to use play therapy techniques with their children.

Of course, this program requires you to complete clinical training, too. You must first complete a pre-practicum experience that prepares you to work in a clinical setting under the supervision of a licensed counselor or therapist. After that, you’ll take part in a supervised clinical practicum, during which you will begin to apply what you’ve learned in your courses in a closely supervised therapeutic setting.

The final aspect of your clinical training is a two-part internship. During the internship, you are responsible for all aspects of treating couples, families, and individual members of families. For example, you might intake new clients, assess them, develop a treatment plan, and handle all the related paperwork associated with providing clinical services.

During the clinical component of this program, you’re required to complete at least 500 hours of direct client contact time. You must also complete at least 100 hours of supervision. These hours can be obtained by working in the on-campus Clinic for Individual and Family Counseling and at agencies in the community.

To apply, fill out an online application to Akron’s graduate school. To do so, you must already have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have a 2.5 cumulative undergraduate GPA or higher. You must also:

  • Submit official transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended
  • Provide evidence of English language proficiency (if English is not your native language)
  • Participate in an interview with department faculty

Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Counseling and Therapy

The University of Akron also offers a doctoral program in Marriage and Family Counseling and Therapy. This Ph.D. prepares you for advanced clinical work while also emphasizing your development as a researcher, teacher, and supervisor in this field. You’ll have the opportunity to work closely with respected faculty members whose specialties are highly diverse, including:

  • Partner Violence and Domestic Abuse
  • Substance Abuse
  • Medical Family Therapy
  • Trauma
  • Parenting Issues

As is typical of a Ph.D. in this field, the curriculum aligns closely with and builds upon your master’s-level training. In that regard, you’ll complete advanced coursework in the theoretical foundations of marriage and family therapy, gain additional clinical skills, and develop a better understanding of research practices in marriage and family therapy.

The program requires the completion of 120 credits of coursework to graduate. The coursework is broad and might include studies in areas like:

  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Multigenerational Counseling
  • Systemic/Relational Theories
  • Human Development
  • Trauma-Informed Therapy

Coursework and seminars are just two components of this curriculum, though. You must also complete clinical training in family, couple, and individual therapy to the tune of 1000 client contact hours, the bulk of which occur during a full-time nine-month internship. The internship is supervised; supervision occurs in many formats, including audio and video recordings and live observation of your work with clients.

A comprehensive exam is a further requirement to graduate from this program. The exam consists of several parts, including a supervision paper, clinical comps, and a dissertation. The dissertation requires an abundance of research and writing, plus a defense of your work before your dissertation committee. Your dissertation must be successfully defended to graduate.

Not only is your clinical work supervised, but you also gain experience in supervising others, specifically master’s-level marriage and family students. In fact, you’ll take part in a year-long supervision training experience in which you gain didactic knowledge of supervision in the marriage and family field.

As a result of the curricular activities in this COAMFTE-accredited Ph.D. program, you will:

  • Gain effective clinical practice skills
  • Acquire the ability to teach advanced courses in marriage and family therapy
  • Learn how to provide effective supervision to others
  • Engage in high-level academic research
  • Develop an understanding of how to practice with respect for diversity
  • Provide systemic/relational services to the community

The admissions requirements are as follows:

  • Have a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a closely related mental health field (note that if your master’s degree is not from a COAMFTE-approved MFT program, you will need at least an additional two years to complete this doctorate)
  • Submit all required materials, which might include a resume or curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, writing samples, and/or a personal statement
  • Provide transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended

Applicants who pass the initial review might be invited to campus to participate in a personal interview with program faculty. The interview process includes both individual and group components and typically lasts six to eight hours. You will likely be asked to participate in writing exercises, demonstrations, mock therapy sessions, and other activities to gauge your competence in this field.

Indiana Wesleyan University

Master of Arts with a Major in Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling

At Indiana Wesleyan University, you can complete a COAMFTE-accredited Master of Arts with a Major in Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling that can lead to licensure as a marriage and family therapist in Ohio (as well as most other states). Though this program is based in Indiana, its location near western Ohio could make it a viable option for you if you live in that area.

You’ll learn how to build trusting interpersonal relationships, provide holistic services to clients, and gain expertise in helping couples and families bridge gaps to achieve a higher level of functioning. What’s more, you’ll learn about evidence-based approaches, classic systemic models, and postmodern approaches to marriage and family therapy that equip you to work with clients of all types.

This 60-credit program includes core coursework and field-based learning experiences. The coursework you complete focuses mostly on marriage, couple, and family counseling. This is evidenced by required courses such as Appraisal of Individuals and Families, Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy, and Human Growth and Development. But you’ll take many other courses that expand your knowledge base and skill set. For example, you’ll complete classes in Group Counseling, Career Counseling, and Psychopathology. Other required classes include the following:

  • Sexuality, Intimacy, and Gender
  • Major Models of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Theory and Techniques in the Helping Relationship
  • Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues

You must also complete supervised practicum and internship experiences. The practicum precedes the internship and takes place in the graduate counseling clinic on the Indiana Wesleyan University campus. The practicum requires you to complete 100 hours of work, of which 50 must be direct client contact hours.

The internship occurs in three phases. The first two phases are supervised internships, each of which requires 300 hours of work experience. At least 150 of these hours must be direct client contact and weekly supervision during each of the first two phases, for a total of 600 clinical hours, 300 of which are direct client contact hours. These hours are obtained by working in off-campus clinical settings.

The third and final phase of the internship focuses on advanced practice, during which you synthesize what you’ve learned in the program to develop a better understanding of your professional identity. Like the first two internships, this one takes place off-campus and requires you to complete 300 total hours, half of which must be in direct contact with clients and weekly supervision.

To apply, be sure you meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution or an institution accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education
  • Provide official transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, including six or more hours of study in psychology and six or more credits of study in the Bible
  • Submit a writing sample
  • Provide three recommendations
  • Submit official GRE scores with a verbal score of 146 or higher (this requirement is waived if you have a 3.25 GPA or higher and/or you’ve completed 15 credits of graduate coursework in good standing)

You must also participate in a personal interview if the admissions committee deems your application materials to show a likelihood of success in this program.

Liberty University

Online Master of Arts in Family and Marriage Therapy

If none of the on-campus programs outlined above fit your needs, you might consider pursuing an online marriage and family degree from Liberty University. Specifically, the Master of Arts in Family and Marriage Therapy offers you the flexibility of completing your coursework online with minimal weeklong intensive campus visits (during which you get hands-on experience and can network with your classmates and professors.

Not only that, but you can transfer up to 50 percent of the credits needed to complete this degree. This gives you even greater flexibility to finish your graduate program.

Liberty’s M.A. in Family and Marriage Therapy requires you to complete 60 credits. The coursework portion of the curriculum is divided into four phases: early core, advanced core, specialization, and elective classes.

The early core portion of the program serves as an introduction to family and marriage therapy. You’ll take courses like Orientation to the Counselor Profession, Counseling Techniques and the Helping Relationship, and Human Growth and Development, all of which help you develop the appropriate skills and mindset for providing therapeutic services to couples and families.

The advanced core segment builds on the introductory courses listed above and expands your horizons as a pre-service practitioner. You’ll take courses in Group Counseling, Assessment Techniques, and Psychopathology. Career Counseling, Family Systems Theories, and a course in Research and Program Evaluation are also required.

Of the 60 credits needed to graduate, 18 are in the family and marriage specialty. These courses include the following:

  • Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning in Family Counseling
  • Counseling Children, Adolescents, and Families
  • Advanced Couple and Marital Counseling

The specialization component also includes a comprehensive examination that must be completed and passed prior to entering the final phase of the program, which includes a practicum and at least two semesters of internship.

The practicum, which is a single semester of supervised clinical activities, is intended to get your feet wet working with clients. You’ll get this experience in a therapeutic setting in your area that’s approved by the program faculty. The practicum requires that you complete 100 hours of work.

From there, you’ll move onto a two-semester (or more) internship. Again, this experience will take place at an approved location in your area. The internship involves more hands-on work on your part, including providing direct counseling services to clients in a one-on-one, couples, or family setting. In all, you must complete at least 600 hours of training during your internship.

You can apply for the program year-round. Admissions requirements are as follows:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited or regionally accredited institution
  • Have a 2.7 undergraduate GPA or higher
  • Submit official transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended
  • Provide contact information for at least two recommenders
  • Submit a personal statement
  • Agree to the program’s mission statement and diversity statement
  • Provide evidence of English proficiency if it is not your native language

How to Become an LMFT in Ohio?

Ohio offers two levels of licensure for marriage and family therapists: the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and the Independent Marriage and Family Therapist (IMFT). Additionally, there is a designation for a registered marriage and family therapist trainee available.

Marriage and Family Therapist License Requirements

  • Education: You must graduate from a regionally accredited program with at least a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a closely related field that includes equivalent coursework.
  • Practicum: The program must include a practicum involving 500 hours of client contact, with at least 100 hours of direct supervision.
  • Trainee Registration: During their practicum or internship, you may need to register as a marriage and family therapist trainee.
  • Examination: Pass the national examination for marriage and family therapists administered by the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).
  • Background Check: Successfully pass a criminal background check.
  • Temporary License: If you have met all other licensure requirements except the examination, you may be eligible for a temporary license.

Independent Marriage and Family Therapist License Requirements

  • Initial Licensure: Fulfill all requirements for an MFT license.
  • Supervised Experience: Complete two years of post-degree supervised training. This includes a minimum of 1,000 hours of documented client contact in marriage and family therapy, with 500 of those hours involving work with couples and/or families. Additionally, 200 hours of face-to-face supervision are required, with at least 100 of those being individual supervision.
  • Private Practice: Once licensed as an IMFT, you will be eligible to engage in private practice as an individual practitioner.

How Much Does an LMFT Make in Ohio?

As of April 2024, the average salary for an LMFT in Ohio is $79,469 per year. More experienced LMFTs working in Ohio make well over $150,000 per year.

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