MFT Degrees, Schools, and Careers in West Virginia
Currently, the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling requires that individuals hoping to become a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT) complete at least 60-credits of graduate coursework within MFT which fulfill specific content areas outlined by the Board. It is important to know that the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Education (COAMFTE), the main accrediting agency within marriage and family therapy, has yet to accredit any schools within West Virginia. As such, if an individual hopes to be licensed after getting his or her graduate degree in West Virginia, he or she must double check to ensure that the curriculum of their MFT or counseling program meets state requirements for licensure.
The other major accrediting body in the space is the Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). West Virginia University is the only school in the state with an accredited counseling program and they do not offer a MFT-specific track within the degree program. There may be overlapping coursework and credits, but be sure to double-check with the school and ensure the program is designed specifically help you earn MFT licensure in West Virginia.
Online MFT Degrees in West Virginia
Given that there are no COAMFTE-accredited programs based in West Virginia, those wishing to pursue an MFT degree from an accredited university might consider getting their degree online. Overall, pursuing the MFT online offers several advantages, such as increased flexibility and the ability to maintain employment while seeking your degree. There are no online-only schools based in West Virginia, but students can choose to enroll in nationally-based online programs that are COAMFTE-accredited, such as Northcentral University (which offers both the M.A. and PhD in MFT) or Capella University (offers M.A. in MFT).
Learn more about an online MFT degree.
MFT Accreditation in West Virginia
As alluded to previously, many states across the United States require that MFT trainees complete several requirements prior to becoming licensed—most frequently, these include attending a program that meets certain educational requirements, completing a large number of supervised clinical hours (usually around 3,000!), and taking an examination. When MFT programs meet a specific standard for the quality of their education, they often become “accredited,” which means that they have been given the stamp of approval by a certain organization.
Within MFT, the central accreditation organization is the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, or COAMFTE. So, any program that has been accredited by COAMFTE has met minimum requirements for accreditation. As noted previously, many states use accreditation as one way of determining whether an individual can sit for licensure, so if a trainee has a degree from an accredited program, they can rest assured that they meet the state’s licensure requirements pertaining to education. In addition to licensure issues, some governmental organizations, such as the Veterans Administration, only hire individuals with an COAMFTE-accredited degree.
Career Opportunities for MFTs in West Virginia
Excitingly, the field of marital and family therapy has been heralded as an area of tremendous opportunity, as The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates around 20 percent job growth in the field over the next decade! Moreover, the U.S. News and World Report highlighted marital and family therapy as the No. 3 career in the social services, based on parameters such as job growth, salary, flexibility, and upward mobility.
According to government data, West Virginia has the second highest location quotient—which is a measure of MFT employment— in the country, currently employing 480 MFTs in various settings. The mean salary of MFTs in West Virginia is around $36,000, which is less than the national average of $53,520; however, it is important to remember that the cost of living in West Virginia is likely less than others areas of the country.
Marriage and Family Therapists Salary in West Virginia
Table data taken from 2014 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm)