MFT Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Delaware
You can count the number of degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Delaware on two hands, which obviously isn't ideal for students looking for a wide variety of Marriage and Family Therapy education to pick from. The state is one of the smallest in the country and as a result, its university system is hardly robust and there are only a handful of private schools in the state that offer four year degrees and are accredited by recognized bodies. But for students interested in graduate MFT degree programs, the pickings are even slimmer to say the least.
According to the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) there are exactly zero schools in the state that offer MFT degree programs accredited by the organization. What's worse is that the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) doesn't accredit any MFT degree programs in Delaware either. In fact, there is just one school that even offers a clinical mental health counseling graduate degree program, Wilmington University. The problem is that the program at Wilmington University is not specifically designed to prepare students for MFT licensure, which means it likely won't include the required coursework needed to qualify for licensure.
Delaware has the same rules governing MFT licensure that every other state has. This means that applicants will need to earn a Master's degree or PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy or a related subject before they can even qualify for licensure. There is one nice loophole in the law and that is if your program is not accredited by the COAMFTE or it is in a different but related discipline, applicants can submit a COAMFTE Course Comparison Form to see if they qualify. This still doesn't necessarily mean students are prepared for the exam, but it at least will allow them to sit for it.
Online MFT Degrees in Delaware
There are options for those who don't want to leave Delaware but still want to earn a worthwhile MFT education. Four schools offer accredited online Master’s degree and one offers a Master's degree and a PhD in the subject online. Messiah College offers a specific online Master's track in MFT. Regent University in Virginia offers a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy online that is designed to help students prepare to qualify for professional licensure and Walden University offers a Master’s of Science degree in the subject. All of those programs are accredited by CACREP but not the COAMFTE.
The only online programs accredited by the COAMFTE are Capella University, which is also accredited by CACREP, and Northcentral University which is accredited by both and also offers an accredited online PhD in the subject. That PhD program is the only accredited online program in the subject in the country.
Learn more about an online MFT degree.
MFT Accreditation in Delaware
Accreditation is important in every state because each state requires its professional marriage and family therapists to earn their degree at an accredited institution. This is true in Delaware as well. The state requires that all applicants for licensure first earn a degree from an accredited institution. The accreditation is designed to ensure that the program meets minimum standards and also allows the state to know what each potential license-holder has and has not studied. They will also know that the student has real world experience in the subject. Basically, accreditation serves as a stamp of approval not just for state licensure but also for future employers who are looking to hire the best and the brightest.
The COAMFTE and CACREP are the only recognized accrediting bodies in the space so be wary of other accrediting bodies and schools touting accreditation. It is important to note that not all CACREP-accredited programs are specifically designed to prepare a student for a licensure in the state. Choosing an unaccredited university or college could mean jeopardizing your chances at qualifying for MFT licensure in Delaware.
Career Opportunities for MFTs in Delaware
The counting stats for marriage and family therapist employment in Delaware might seem discouraging but look deeper and you will see that Delaware is actually one of the more MFT-friendly states in the country when it comes to employment. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 260 professional marriage and family therapists working within Delaware's borders. This may not seem like many but considering Delaware's population and job market, the BLS notes that Delaware is actually the third-best state in the country in MFT employment per 1,000 jobs. Essentially, almost one percent of every 1,000 jobs in Delaware is an MFT or related counseling position.
The BLS estimates that Delaware MFTs earn an annual average salary of $51,170, just a bit less than the national average of $53,520. It is also roughly the same as the annual average salary in the state across all professions.
Dover and Wilmington are obviously the biggest cities for finding employment as an MFT in Delaware. But cities like Middletown and Seaford are also home to children services programs, substance abuse organizations and others that are constantly looking for qualified family therapists. Don't forget that the state itself and local counties are also large and common employers of family therapists.
Marriage and Family Therapists Salary in Delaware
|Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division||$47,510||$47,520||$51,730||$62,600||$77,390|
Table data taken from 2014 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm)