MFT Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Oregon
Currently, two programs in the state of Oregon—Lewis and Clark College and the University of Oregon—are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Lewis and Clark College is located in Portland, Oregon, and offers both an M.A. and an M.S. in marriage, couples, and family therapy (MCFT); the only difference between the M.A. and M.S. degrees is that the M.S. students generally have increased interest in research and complete a research thesis project during the course of the program. Students complete 60-64 credits of coursework, along with an intensive clinical supervised experience over the last 15 months in the program. In total, the program is generally completed in three years if courses are taken on a full-time basis, and in 4 years if taken part-time. Within the program, students can choose to pursue a specialization in addictions in families, international family therapy, sex therapy, or eco-psychology, all of which represent unique experiences for aspiring MFTs.
The University of Oregon offers a 90-credit, 2-year program in couples and family therapy. Students through the program complete theoretical work in the classroom, as well as applied clinical experiences in settings such as the on-site Center for Healthy Relationships. There are several ways in which students within the UO program can specialize their training. First, if they so choose, students can elect to take a more active participation in research and complete their own thesis while in the program. Second, the program offers a Spanish-language specialization for those therapists hoping to pursue clinical study with Spanish-speaking populations.
Although only the above programs have currently been accredited by COAMFTE, that does not mean that there are only two programs in the state that provide specialized training in MFT. In fact, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), has accredited several programs across the state that offer MFT training, including George Fox University and Portland State University, both of which offer masters-level specializations in couples and family therapy. Students might also consider one of the many other CACREP-accredited programs in areas closely related to MFT, such as clinical mental health counseling. No matter what the final decision of the prospective student, it is recommended that students familiarize themselves with the educational requirements of the state government licensure board in the state that they would like to eventually practice.
Online MFT Degrees in Oregon
Currently, there are no online-only, COAMFTE-accredited MFT programs that are based in Oregon. However, this does not mean that students within the state that are hoping to pursue their MFT with online coursework have no options. Many campus-based programs offer some online coursework or other ways of flexibly adapting the class schedule to meet students’ needs. Moreover, students can choose to enroll in nationally-based online programs. Currently, COAMFTE has accredited both Capella University’s M.A. program in MFT, as well as Northcentral University’s Master's and PhD programs in MFT.
Learn more about online MFT degrees.
MFT Accreditation in Oregon
The state of Oregon indicates that individuals hoping to pursue licensure must meet certain requirements as outlined in their rules and regulations. In particular, prospective LMFTs must submit an application to the state, attend a program that meets the state’s outlined educational requirements, a minimum of 3 years supervised clinical experience, and pass a national examination. The rules and regulations outlined by the Board indicate that students that attend a COAMFTE- or CACREP-accredited program in MFT automatically meet the educational requirements, whereas students that have not attended an accredited program must prove that they have taken courses that the board has outlined as necessary.
Accreditation of a program simply refers to a process through which educational programs apply for and receive a “stamp of approval” from an objective accreditation board; the “stamp of approval” serves as a proxy for the quality of the education provided by the program. Many state licensing board use accreditation as a means through which they can verify that a student’s education is up to standard; as such, students that attend programs accredited by the main board in MFT (COAMFTE) or related fields (CACREP) likely have greater portability of their license.
Career Opportunities for MFTs in Oregon
Career opportunities for MFTs across the nation are increasing; national estimates gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate that job growth in the MFT field will skyrocket 20 percent over the next decade, a growth rate not observed in many fields of work! The U.S. News and World Report ranked positions in MFT as one of the top three jobs in the entire field of social sciences, based on factors such as work/life balance, job flexibility, and opportunities. One other benefit to a degree in MFT is the variety in settings in which LMFTs can work; indeed, therapists can work with couples and families in settings ranging from hospitals and university settings, to private practice and residential settings. Within the state of Oregon, there are current 300 MFTs employed in these various settings. The mean salary, as reported by the BLS, is $40,920, which is slightly lower than the national average for the profession. Learn more about OR MFT license requirements.
Marriage and Family Therapists Salary in Oregon
Table data taken from 2014 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm)