MFT Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Maryland
Maryland is an interesting state when it comes to Marriage and Family Therapy education. This is because, despite the fact that the Department of Education statistics show that there are more than 100 public or private colleges and universities in the state, there is exactly one school in the entire state with an accredited MFT-specific degree program. That school is the state’s flagship university – The University of Maryland, College Park – which offers a Master’s degree in Couple and Family Therapy and boasts a state-of-the-art research and training facility for aspiring MFTs.
To be clear, there are plenty of other schools in the state that offer a Master’s degree in Counseling or Psychology, which would likely help someone interested in MFT pursue the career path. There are also a number of schools in the state that offer MFT coursework and classes as part of their undergraduate and graduate psychology and counseling curriculum. However, what we are focused on specifically are degree programs that are not only accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education but also ones that are designed to prepare its students for MFT licensure, which is both specific and strict in every state in the country.
Students interested in MFT programs as an undergraduate will major in psychology or family studies to meet the prerequisites required for most of these programs. This is because the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene requires applicants for MFT licensure to have earned at least a Master’s degree or a PhD to even qualify to sit for the exam.
MFT Degree Programs in Maryland
The bad news is that the University of Maryland is the only school in the state that offers a specific MFT degree program. The good news is that the program is among the best in the entire country thanks to the university’s commitment to providing updated resources to the program. One of the only programs that doesn’t allow applicants to use the SOPHAS, applicants are asked to answer the additional Couple and Family Therapy application questions in order to qualify. The curriculum has two primary components: didactic coursework and supervised clinical practice with clients. The supervised client contact begins in the student’s first semester. Students are required to earn 400 hours of face-to-face client contact and 250 of these hours must be with families or couples. Luckily, the school has a Center for Healthy Families where students can earn this experience. Students may choose to do to leave campus for some of that experience. Students may pursue a thesis or the non-thesis option. The thesis must be defended in oral arguments.
Online MFT Degree in Maryland
Online MFT schools in Maryland are almost non-existent. There are zero state-specific schools that have online MFT degree programs leaving only national for-profit MFT education providers. There may be some schools that offer online MFT coursework, but we are looking at degree-granting programs specifically. Northcentral University, Liberty University, Touro University and National University are just a few of the schools that offer fully online MFT degrees.
MFT Accreditation in Maryland
Accreditation is the most important piece of the puzzle for any higher education degree program, and especially marriage and family therapy. Accreditation is essentially a stamp of approval achieved by a university that shows that it meets quality standards and is a reputable institution that employers can trust.
In marriage and family therapy, there is one organization responsible for accreditation -- The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The COAMFTE accredits master's degree, doctoral degree, and postgraduate degree clinical training programs in the subject. Once a program has become accredited, it is required to submit annual reports demonstrating continued compliance with standards. Accredited programs are reviewed at least every six years. The COAMFTE has recently begun accrediting online MFT degree programs as well.
There are other accrediting bodies that accredit counseling degree programs that can lead to marriage and family therapy licensure. This means that if you are considering clinical counseling programs as the preferred route to MFT licensure, you shouldn’t necessarily be discouraged if the program isn’t accredited by the COAMFTE because it may just be accredited by another institution.
For a database of all of the accredited MFT degree programs in the country and in Maryland, please consult this list.
Career Opportunities for MFT in Maryland
For a state without the inherent size benefits of California or New York, Maryland has a sizable professional MFT population. According to the BLS, Maryland employed more than 900 professional MFTs and they made an annual average wage of roughly $81,320 as of May 2022. In fact, the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan area is one of the highest-paying metros for MFTs with an average reported salary of $89,470. The BLS reported that between 2021 and 2031, employment in the profession was expected to grow by 14% nationally. Read up on MD MFT license requirements.
2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics job market trends and salary figures for marriage and family therapists are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2023.
Marriage and Family Therapists Salary in Maryland
|Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD Metropolitan Division||$29,510||$35,300||$42,720||$51,510||$71,930|
Table data taken from 2020 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm)