MFT Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Hawaii
As one of the smallest states in the country, Hawaii is in a tricky place when it comes to Marriage and Family Therapy. The problem is that while Hawaii’s regulations governing the licensing of Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) require aspiring MFTs to have earned at least a Master’s degree in the subject or a related field; according to the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), a regulatory body that serves to monitor quality of the MFT programs across the nation, there aren’t any accredited MFT degree programs in Hawaii. Unfortunately, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) also indicates that there are zero accredited degree programs in the field in Hawaii. It is easy to see why finding competent MFTs in Hawaii can be a bit difficult.
Online MFT Degrees in Hawaii
This doesn’t mean students in Hawaii who can’t or don’t want to leave the islands for the mainland are without options however. There are five schools that offer accredited online Master’s degree and PhDs in Marriage and Family Therapy. Capella University is accredited by the COAMFTE and offers an accredited Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Northcentral University is also accredited by the COAMFTE and it offers two programs, a Master’s degree program and a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy.
There is also Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania which offers an online Master’s Degree in counseling and a specific track in MFT. The school specifically states that the track is designed to prepare students for the LMFT exam. Regent University in Virginia Beach is the fourth school and it offers a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy online that is also designed to help students prepare to qualify for professional licensure. The final school is Walden University, which offers a Master’s of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.
All of these schools are accredited by one of the two primary accrediting bodies in the space. It is important to understand, especially when researching online degree programs, that checking for accreditation is important and can mean the difference between a worthwhile investment and a worthless one.
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MFT Accreditation in Hawaii
It is important to consider the accreditation status of the program in every case. Accreditation is a stamp of approval that signifies that a program meets minimal educational standards. There are two widely accepted accrediting bodies for Marriage and Family Therapists -- the COAMFTE and CACREP. It is important to note that not all CACREP-accredited programs are specifically designed to prepare a student for a licensure in the state, so it is important to check with each school individually before making a choice. Most schools will specifically mention whether they have a degree track in MFT that prepares students for licensure and the exam. In Hawaii, the COAMFTE 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 Hawaii
There is good news however and that is that because Hawaii is constantly struggling to recruit competent marriage and family therapists to the island, it is also willing to pay quite a bit more than the national average in salary. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are just 160 marriage and family therapists in Hawaii. But those MFTs make an annual average salary of $60,490, well above the national average of $53,520. Also, the BLS considers all the islands except Oahu as a non-metropolitan area and the annual average salary for MFTs working on the other islands is an eye-popping $68,160.
There are a number of health centers across the island that serve as the primary employers of MFT in Hawaii. The Kalihi Palama Health Center in Honolulu is seemingly always on the search for clinically trained and licensed social workers with MFT experience. Hawaii Behavioral Health in Kamuela is hiring multiple behavioral health specialists and the Center for Autism in Maui County is constantly looking for behavioral counselors with family therapy experience as well. The state itself also needs a lot of help from counseling and therapy professionals. The Child and Family Service of Hawaii is in need of clinical specialists and even the state Judiciary is looking for social workers with family specific experience. Read more about the HI MFT licensure requirements.
Marriage and Family Therapists Salary in Hawaii
Table data taken from 2020 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm)