MFT Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Alabama
Currently, people seeking to become a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT) in the state of Alabama have fewer options in terms of accredited MFT programs than those residing in different parts of the country. More specifically, the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) has only provided one institution with the MFT accreditation designation—Auburn University. But, those who have completed an alternative program in MFT elsewhere should not be discouraged: the rules and regulations of the Alabama Board of Examiners in Marriage and Family Therapy indicate that so long as an individual has completed the requisite coursework and clinical requirements outlined in the rules and regulations, they are able to apply for licensure.
As such, people that have completed MFT programs in related areas in Alabama can apply for licensure if they have completed the appropriate coursework and the pre- and post-graduation clinical hour requirements. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs reveals that the state has 30 accredited programs that provide training in various areas of counseling. the Individuals who complete degrees in clinical mental health counseling are most likely to have overlap with the MFT requirements. One of those schools, the University of Montevallo, even offers a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. Graduate students in UM’s Couple, Marriage & Family concentration track will be able to pursue licensure as a MFT in Alabama. Be sure to check with the school individually to see if licensure is the goal, because the distinction is important.
MFT Degree Programs in Alabama
As stated previously, there is only one COAMFTE-accredited program in the state of Alabama—the Master of Science (MS) Program in Marriage and Family Therapy through Auburn University. However, despite the paucity of program choices, applicants can rest assured that the available program is one of impressive caliber. The MFT program through Auburn University is highly competitive and provides opportunities to take advantage of the university resources through academic, clinical, and research work; only six students are accepted into the students per year!
During their two years in the program, students complete at least 500 clinical hours and 100 hours of supervision. Similar to doctorate programs, students that enter this program choose a “major professor” that provides oversight on their plan of study and any research conducted during the duration of the program. In addition to engaging clinical opportunities through centers such as the Auburn Marriage and Family Therapy Center, students engage in scholarly pursuits, including completion a research thesis.
Online MFT Degrees in Alabama
To date, there are no online-only programs based in Alabama for MFT training. Individuals seeking an online program in MFT that plan to seek licensure within Alabama are encouraged to enroll in a nationally-based online program that is accredited by COAMFTE, such as the Master’s in MFT through Capella University, or the Master’s or Doctorate in MFT programs through Northcentral University, or meets all the educational requirements detailed in the rules and regulations of the Alabama Board of Examiners in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Read more about MFT degrees online.
MFT Accreditation in Alabama
A particular program’s accreditation is important because it is effectively of a badge of reputation for the programs able to achieve it. Within the particular field, pursuing a degree at an accredited program offers natural benefits in seeking later employment. Additionally, if you want to earn licensure in Alabama, you will need a degree from an accredited program. In Alabama, that means any program that meets the rules and regulations set forth by the Board of Examiners.
This means that not only are programs accredited by the COAMFTE acceptable, but so are programs approved by CACREP that meet the curriculum requirements, which include supervised experience requirements, specific course requirements as well as internship/practicum requirements, are also acceptable. The COAMFTE or CACREP approval signifies that the educational standards of the programs that have received accreditation reaches a given standard of excellence, and is required to gain licensure.
Career Opportunities for MFTs in Alabama
Nationally, prospects for employment as a MFT following completion of a graduate degree are compelling. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, job availability within MFT is expected to increase around 15 percent over the next decade, and growth is expected to be particularly pronounced within under-served and rural areas. The average annual salary of MFTs specifically within Alabama ($39,760/year) is less than the national average, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics.
However, it is important to note that the cost of living in southern states will be significantly less than geographical areas that may provide higher salaries. As is the case in other states, individuals that become licensed in Alabama can choose to perform a variety of services within diverse settings, including outpatient therapy practices, state and local government, and residential care facilities.
Notable employers in the state include the University of Alabama-Birmingham and other universities in the state system, the Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama, Youth and Family Services in Montgomery, the North Alabama Specialty Hospital in Huntsville and Indian Rivers Mental Health Centers in Tuscaloosa. Read up on AL MFT license requirements.
Marriage and Family Therapists Salary in Alabama
Table data taken from 2014 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm)