Most Affordable Online MFT Programs

Explore these accredited online MFT programs that score top marks on affordability and learn other ways to lower the cost of your Master of Family Therapy. Keep reading to learn if these affordable online MFT programs are right for you and how to fund your online master’s degree.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought mental health topics to the forefront, making therapy more mainstream, less stigmatized, and more accessible than ever before. According to the APA in October of 2021, the demand for therapy only continues to increase. This shift in how society views and tackles mental health results in a positive career outlook for marriage and family therapists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of marriage and family therapists is projected to grow by 16% by 2030, much faster than average.

This increase translates to about 12,000 new jobs and rising demand for competent and compassionate clinicians. A Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is one of the main educational routes to becoming a marriage and family therapist. This page spotlights some of the most affordable online MFT master’s programs and shows you the elements to consider when choosing the right program for you.

Most Affordable Online MFT Programs in 2022

Choosing an MFT program typically includes considering factors like program reputation, networking opportunities, and location. The deciding factor, though, is usually affordability. The following section highlights some of the most affordable online MFT programs for 2022, determined using key affordability and quality metrics from data approved by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). These rankings also spotlight core academic requirements and program-specific admission information. For more details on our ranking methodology, click the “About the ranking” button below.

About the ranking
1
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy that gives clinicians the theoretical knowledge and practical tools they need to offer competent care. The 60-credit program teaches essential clinical skills and shows students how to effectively work with diverse populations. Class topics include methods in therapy and counseling, counseling theories, group counseling, and professional issues for marriage and family therapists. Students also complete a degree-culminating practicum and an internship experience.

Prospective students need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 2.5 GPA. GRE scores are also required.

Program Highlights:

MA in Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $500/credit
  • Format: Partially-online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); COAMFTE (program)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
2
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

The MS in Family Counseling at the University of West can be completed entirely online. This 33-credit counseling master’s offers a flexible and affordable curriculum that systematically evaluates family dynamics and empowers students to develop practical skills in a clinical setting.

Core class topics such techniques of education research, educational statistics, systems theory in psychology, and marriage and family therapy. Additionally, online students also complete concentration classes in the therapeutic relationship, advanced techniques in family counseling, and assessment techniques in family counseling. Students also complete a semester-long internship.

Applicants need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and can apply online. Prospective students must submit official transcripts from all prior schools.

Program Highlights:

MS in Family Counseling

  • Credits: 33
  • Length: One to two years
  • Cost: $429/credit
  • Format: Fully-online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
3
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

The University of Akron offers a hybrid Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy that includes core classroom learning, online offerings, and direct clinical contact hours under the guidance of experienced mental health professionals. Alongside this blended curriculum, students complete their clinical requirements through the school’s on-site counseling clinic.

Foundational clinical topics include classes in diagnosis counseling, group counseling, addiction counseling, traumatology, and issues in sexuality for counselors. In addition to a degree-culminating practicum, students also complete two semesters of internship experiences.

Applicants to this MFT program need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Prospective students must also submit official transcripts and complete an admission interview. This program does not require a writing sample or GRE scores.

Program Highlights:

Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $442/credit (resident); $748/credit (non-resident)
  • Format: Partially-online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); COAMFTE (program)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
4
Southlake, TX
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$

The King’s University is a Texas-based Christian institution offering a hybrid Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program that integrates biblical principles and current psychological practices to create a unique curriculum for those interested in providing faith-based clinical care. This 60-credit program includes core classes like healthy family systems, advanced group counseling, human development, and Christian counseling. Alongside in-person and online coursework, students also complete hands-on practicums in a clinical setting.

Prospective students need a minimum 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA and a degree from a four-year institution. Applicants must also supply official transcripts and complete an admission interview. Students can transfer up to 18 credits of approved graduate-level coursework.

Program Highlights:

Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: Three years
  • Cost: $525/credit
  • Format: Partially-online
  • Accreditation: TRACS and ABHE (school)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services No
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation #N/A
5
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$$

Houston Baptist University’s Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy offers a flexible curriculum that allows students to complete most of their coursework online. In place of in-person attendance, students complete two week-long, in-person, on-campus intensives. This program prepares students to meet licensure requirements in Texas.

During this 60-credit MFT program, students complete core counseling classes like multicultural counseling, theories of counseling, clinical psychotherapy, and ethical and legal issues in counseling. Before graduation, students complete a three-semester practicum experience that includes at least 700 hours of supervised clinical experience.

Applicants must submit an online application with official transcripts, a resume, and two academic or professional references. Prospective students also submit a short essay outlining educational and career goals.

Program Highlights:

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: Three years
  • Cost: $585/credit
  • Format: Fully-online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services No
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
6
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
7
Newberg, OR
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation NWCCU
8
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation WSCUC

Funding Your Online Master of Family Therapy Degree: 5 Ways to Save

While graduate school usually comes with a significant price tag, there are many ways you can cut costs. Financial resources include scholarships, loans, and paid internships. Highlighted below are popular avenues to help graduate students mitigate the cost of their master’s programs. Keep reading to learn how you can save money while enhancing your career options.

  1. Scholarships, Grants, and Fellowships Created for MFT Students.

    Grants, fellowships, and scholarships are all popular options for MFT grad students. From institutional funding to private scholarships, these awards and opportunities can cover the cost of books or substantial portions of your tuition. The Family Institute at Northwestern University, for example, awards a generous $25,000 per year, while the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy offers annual diversity scholarships of up to $3,000. You can learn about more scholarship options on our page detailing scholarships for master’s students.

  2. Work-Study or Assistantships

    Though work-study programs and assistantships may be hard to come by for online students, in-person and hybrid students may find them more accessible. At Appalachian State University, options for MFT students include assisting faculty with research, becoming resident assistants, and working in various administrative positions. When researching potential MFT programs, contact the school’s financial aid office to inquire about potential work-study or assistantship opportunities.

  3. Employer Tuition Reimbursement Programs

    Students in online graduate programs often also work full-time. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement opportunities for these employees, funds that can be used to cover the cost of books and other school-related expenses. Similar options include loan reimbursement programs through federal groups like the National Health Service Corp and Indian Health Service, and state-based programs like the California State MFT Stipend Program.

  4. Payment Plans

    For students who can pay for school as they attend, tuition payment plans allow them to make continuous smaller payments. This option can save students thousands of dollars in student loan interest. Payment plans are interest-free and typically only require a one-time fee to enroll.

  5. Paid Internships

    Gaining hands-on experience is an essential part of your MFT program, and internships provide an opportunity to practice learned skills in a safe environment while also building a professional network. While not all internships are paid, some organizations and governmental departments do provide some compensation. The San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, for example, hosts a paid internship program that compensates interns for 20 hours of work each week.

FAQs about Affordable MFT Programs

Q. What impacts the affordability of an online MFT Program?

A program’s cost is often the biggest factor for most master’s students. If a program is private or public can dramatically impact tuition rates as can your status as an in-state or out-of-state student. Additionally, online students can often graduate with lower overall costs because of the absence of campus-based fees and travel expenses.

Q. What is the ROI of an online MFT program?

Earning an MFT degree often comes with significant costs, so it’s reasonable to consider your return on the investment. Marriage and family therapists earn a median salary of about $50,000 per year, according to the BLS, and the field is projected to grow by 16% by 2030. In addition, the top 10% of earners make more than $96,520. This means that the ROI for an MFT is likely quite good.

Q. How can I ensure that an affordable MFT program is high-quality?

When researching potential MFT programs, remember that the best schools hold institutional accreditation from long-established groups like the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). In addition, some school’s programs also have programmatic accreditation that ensures it meets rigorous professional standards. Program data regarding graduation and job placement rates are also valuable. Reaching out to alumni can also provide a helpful perspective on the quality of an MFT program.

Q. Is an online MFT more affordable than an in-person MFT?

While the tuition rates for online programs typically mirror that of on-campus options, online students often pay slightly less. Without campus-based fees and costs associated with traveling to campus, online learners can save money on gas, food, and even housing. Additionally, some online programs allow students to complete an accelerated curriculum and graduate more quickly.

Q. Can job experience count towards an MFT and help cut costs?

Graduation requirements vary among schools. However, many MFT programs act as pathways to licensure with rigid academic requirements. In addition to standard coursework, online learners must complete hundreds of hours of clinical experiences through practicum and internship opportunities. The only way to know for sure if job experience can count toward an MFT is to check with programs of interest.

Q. How can I know if an affordable MFT program is right for me?

Picking an affordable MFT program that is right for you is a personal choice that depends on factors like cost, program duration, and whether it’s entirely online or has an in-person component. Regardless of your specific needs, best practice points to reaching out to prospective schools and starting a dialogue with someone in the department.