MFT Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Missouri

Prospective MFT students will likely find a number of different graduate programs across the state of Missouri that provide specialized training in the fields of counseling, mental health care, and marriage and family therapy (MFT). However, it is important to note that although there are a number of MFT programs across the state or programs that offer specialized training in couples or family therapy, a final degree from all of these programs does not guarantee that a student will be able to practice as a licensed MFT in the state of Missouri. As such, students are advised to closely examine licensure requirements for any state in which they may like to practice in the future and ensure that the graduate program they attend meets the requirements outlined by the state government.

Within Missouri, both of the two programs that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) are housed within Saint Louis University (SLU), which is located in the bustling state capital, St. Louis, Missouri. The nationally-known institution offers both a Master’s and a PhD program in MFT, both of which provide students with unique training experiences, with an emphasis on diversity, social justice, and scientific inquiry, to prepare them for careers in a range of settings.

The Master’s Program at SLU is comprised of at least 60 credits in MFT, as well as clinical experiences within a practicum and an internship experience. Students accrue a minimum of 500 hours of direct client contact during their 2+ years in the program. Moreover, students interested in pursuing a specialty within MFT can choose to study medical family therapy, honing skills in interdisciplinary collaboration and care.

The PhD program in Medical Family Therapy offered by SLU requires students to have completed a master’s program in MFT that is accredited by COAMFTE prior to admission. Those admitted to the program take 51 credits over and above the courses that they took within their master’s program. In addition to coursework, students also complete comprehensive examinations and receive extensive training in research, which culminates in the completion of a dissertation project. Importantly, the program at SLU emphasizes preparation for work in hospital settings, which entails collaboration with both medical and other mental health professionals. In order to gain real-life experience, students engage in clinical practicum experiences that provide an overview of traditional mental health settings, as well as specialized training in the medical domain, and are required to complete a 9- to 12-month internship.

Online MFT Degrees in Missouri

Of note, the state government of Missouri indicates that coursework that is completely online does not meet requirements for eligible coursework within the rules and regulations for LMFTs. As such, nationally-based online universities that are accredited by COAMFTE and offer graduate programs in MFT, such as Capella University and Northcentral University, would likely not constitute sufficient educational background for an individual that wishes to become licensed. Nonetheless, if a student wishes to learn more about the field of MFT or practices in a similar field and wishes to gain specialized knowledge in MFT without pursuing licensure, coursework offered as a part of these programs may be relevant and helpful.

Learn more about an MFT degree online.

MFT Accreditation in Missouri

The Missouri State Committee for Marital and Family Therapists indicates in their rules and regulations that in order to become licensed in MFT in the state, individuals must complete at least 45 hours of coursework with content that meets the stringent requirements of the government, administer at least 1,500 hours of face-to-face clinical work after graduation from their graduate institution, and successfully pass a national test gauging their knowledge of the field.

One way that students can ensure that they meet the educational requirements for coursework is to attend an educational institution that is accredited by a regional or national accrediting body. Accreditation refers to the process through which educational programs receive a “stamp of approval” from an outside body that indicates that its coursework and student requirements meet a given, objective standard. Generally, within MFT, institutions that are accredited by the main accrediting body—the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education—meet the requirements outlined by states across the nation for licensure. Moreover, some governmental agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, may require or prefer that candidates have attended an accredited school. As such, considering a given school’s accreditation status is an important factor to consider when pursing graduate studies.

Career Opportunities for MFTs in Missouri

Importantly, anyone seeking to pursue an MFT career over the next several years can rest assured that there will be plenty of opportunities for employment; in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates around a 14% growth in positions for MFTs through 2031. In addition to growing opportunities, the U.S. World and News Report ranks MFTs as the 20th best job in social services based on factors such as future growth in the industry, salary, and work/life balance, among others. Salaries for working MFTs will vary widely depending on their place of employment, as MFTs generally make more in governmental positions and less in other domains. Overall, the types of jobs that MFTs hold can vary widely, from opportunities within hospitals and medical settings, to academic and educational settings. Learn more about MO 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 Missouri

Location 10% 25% Median 75% 90%
United States $33,140 $39,130 $51,340 $68,020 $92,930
Missouri $33,410 $37,100 $44,370 $54,460 $74,710
Kansas City, MO-KS $32,180 $34,920 $39,310 $52,730 $86,700
St. Louis, MO-IL $32,030 $35,380 $41,370 $49,440 $65,380

Table data taken from 2020 BLS (

Featured Missouri Schools with MFT Degree Programs