MFT Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Idaho
Idaho's Marriage and Family Therapy education landscape is more complicated than it might seem. On the surface, the state's roughly 25 degree-granting institutions do not inspire a lot of confidence for those looking for a variety of MFT degree options. But, while it is true that there aren't any programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) in Idaho, there are two schools that offer MFT degree programs that are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Two programs might not seem like a lot but when you consider how few schools there are in Idaho to begin with, it is actually a pretty good number. The state is very explicit on its education requirements for licensure. According to state law, applicants for MFT licensure in Idaho must first earn a graduate degree from a program accredited by either the COAMFTE or CACREP. The law does add a provision that degrees in a related subject from a regionally accredited university would also qualify an applicant as long as the program in question included very specific coursework in line with the state guidelines that have been laid out.
This means that some clinical health counseling degree programs may also help an applicant qualify for licensure. But remember, these programs are clinical mental health counseling programs that may have plenty of overlapping curriculum with what is required by Idaho to become a MFT, but the programs may not have everything. It is important to ask each program specifically and be clear about what it is you are trying to achieve with the degree.
The two programs that do offer accredited MFT-specific degrees are the one at Idaho State University in Moscow and Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa. The programs are unique in that Idaho State offers a Master's in Counseling degree and one of the tracks within that program is Marriage and Family Counseling. The program is designed to prepare students for MFT licensure and if the student is interested, the school also offers a PhD with plenty of overlapping curriculum that could be of use to students. It is highly regarded around the country and its health science center is state of the art. NNU is a religiously affiliated university that offers a Master's of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling. This degree is designed to prepare students for not only MFT licensure but general counselor licensure as well.
Online MFT Degrees in Idaho
There are also a number of online MFT degree options which are becoming more popular and prevalent. There are plenty of schools out there offering online degrees in the subject but there are just five that offer accredited online programs. Capella University and Northcentral University are both accredited by the COAMFTE and while Capella only offers an online Master's MFT degree, Northcentral offers two programs, a Master’s degree program and a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy.
There is also Messiah College, which offers a specific online Master's track in MFT and Regent University in Virginia Beach, which offers a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy online that is also designed to help students prepare to qualify for professional licensure. Walden University offers something slightly different, a Master’s of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. These three programs are accredited by CACREP only.
There are a number of other CACREP-accredited online mental health counseling degree programs available to students and there are also a number of for-profit universities that offer online MFT degrees. Be careful before applying though as only some will help you qualify for licensure.
Read more about an online MFT degree.
MFT Accreditation in Idaho
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. In fact, Idaho explicitly states in its licensure guidelines that applicants must earn a Master's degree or a PhD from a COAMFTE or CACREP-accredited school. It does allow for other regionally accredited programs that meet the explicit coursework criteria, but for the most part, the safe bet is to choose a school accredited by CACREP or COAMFTE. This will signify to employers and other schools that your education met the minimum education standards and that the applicant for licensure has real-world experience in the field. Most schools widely tout the expected student outcomes and any MFT-specific track should explain that the program is designed to prepare the students for licensure.
Career Opportunities for MFTs in Idaho
Unfortunately, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has a tough time collecting employment and salary data on jobs in Idaho. This is why marriage and family therapists are not even listed in the most recent update of this data by the BLS. But clinical mental health counselors in the state earn an annual average salary of more than $54,000, which is right around the national average for the profession and well above the average salary of all jobs in Idaho. It is reasonable to assume that most professional MFTs in Idaho would earn a similar salary.
Idaho doesn't have a hub of MFT employment. The St. Luke's Health System is a popular employer and is always looking for mental health therapists for positions at its locations across the state. The Children's Home Society of Idaho in Boise is looking for a clinical therapist with family experience and the Idaho Youth Ranch in Coeur d'Alene is looking for the same thing. The best bet for employment in the state is obviously Boise but don't forget to check out medical centers in more rural areas as they are likely to be looking for help and have openings. Learn more about MFT license requirements in Idaho.
Marriage and Family Therapists Salary in Idaho
|Coeur d'Alene, ID||$16,580||$18,150||$37,300||$43,970||$47,130|
Table data taken from 2020 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm)