MFT Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Louisiana
The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers both master’s and a doctoral degrees in MFT that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The Master of Arts program offered by ULM requires that students complete 60 credits of coursework (generally completed over the course of 2 years), 500 hours of direct client contact (150 of which will be completed at the MFT Clinic at the University of Louisiana), and successful completion of comprehensive examinations. Students also have the opportunity to complete a research thesis, which is recommended particularly for those with an interest in pursuing research within their career or moving on to a doctorate program.
ULM also offers a doctorate (PhD) program in MFT. The 69-credit program seeks to provide students with a strong background in both the clinical (through coursework and hands-on clinical experiences at the MFT Clinic at the University of Louisiana and other local agencies) and research (through completion of a dissertation and research opportunities to collaborate with renowned academics in the field). Overall, the PhD program at ULM is designed to prepare students for careers as scholars, teachers, researchers and senior-level supervisory clinicians. For this reason, it is a great option for students wishing to pursue careers with some research or teaching emphasis.
Although receiving a degree from the University of Louisiana is currently the only option for students that wish to attend a COAMFTE-accredited institution, there are certainly a number of other programs in the state that offer education in the field of counseling more generally, or even provide training in marriage and family therapy. For instance, Southeastern Louisiana University offers a Master of Science in counseling with an MFT concentration that is accredited by another accreditation body, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The University of the Holy Cross also offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Arts in counseling with the possibility to specialize in marriage, couple, and family counseling. An even greater number of programs likely offer MFT-relevant coursework; however, it is recommended that those seeking to attend an alternate program that is not listed ensure that the coursework and requirements of the program meet the minimum standards for licensure in their state.
Online MFT Degrees in Louisiana
A quick online search reveals a number of different programs that offer graduate-level training in MFT based completely online. However, it is important for prospective students to realize that although there are numerous different MFT programs that offer online coursework, there are fewer programs that offer curricula approved by accreditation agencies such as the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). To date, only two programs that are completely online are accredited by COAMFTE—Capella University (which offers a masters-level program) and Northcentral University (which offers both masters- and doctorate-level programs). Although neither of these programs are located/based in Louisiana, students within the state that receive COAMFTE-accredited degrees are eligible to apply for licensure, given that they meet other listed requirements.
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MFT Accreditation in Louisiana
An important consideration in the selection of a graduate program is the program’s accreditation status. Accreditation refers to a process through which educational programs submit their coursework and student requirements to an objective accrediting body, who determines whether or not a program meets minimum requirements. The process has been embraced as a way to ensure quality education in a given field; in the area of MFT, the main accreditation body is the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). As such, COAMFTE-accredited universities are likely to meet educational requirements for the majority of US states, and therefore, there is a benefit to attending a COAMFTE-accredited university.
However, this does not mean that students that did not attend a COAMFTE-accredited university cannot become licensed as an MFT. Within the state of Louisiana, the Licensed Professional Counseling Board of Examiners, Marriage and Family Therapy Advisor Committee indicates that while attending a COAMFTE-accredited institution guarantees that a student meets the educational requirements for licensure, there are other ways through which students may become eligible, outlined in the full licensure requirements.
Career Opportunities for MFTs in Louisiana
Statistics gathered by the government indicate that job prospects for MFTs are expected to grow at a rate of 20% over the next year, which represents an extremely promising rate! The mean wage for MFTs in Louisiana is currently $43,500. Although this is lower than the national average wage within the profession, it is important to note that the cost of living in the south is considerably lower than some of the major metropolitan areas. In terms of specific job opportunities, MFTs that have gained licensure can practice in a variety of different settings, including private practice, universities, other educational settings, for local, state, or federal governments, in medical settings, and in residential settings! The wage and benefits offered to MFTs will vary greatly depending on the setting and position in which they work. However, across opportunities, there appear to be a number of benefits to the job— the U.S. News and World Report ranked MFTs as having the 3rd best job within the social sciences, and there appear to be a number of resources and opportunities specifically within Louisiana! Read more about the LA MFT licensure requirements.
Marriage and Family Therapists Salary in Louisiana
Table data taken from 2020 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm)