MFT Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Mississippi
For those that are interested in pursuing a degree in marriage and family therapy (MFT), there are currently 2 programs within the state of Mississippi that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), as detailed below. However, there are a number of other programs offering specialized education in MFT or education in areas closely related to MFT, such as general counseling. These programs may be unaccredited, or simply accredited by a different organization, such as the Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Currently, there is one program accredited by CACREP that offers specialized training in MFT — Mississippi College.
Reformed Theological Seminary offers a Master of Arts degree in marriage and family therapy and counseling (MFTC) with a strong Christian focus. The 71-hour program, located in Jackson, Mississippi, strives to provide students with an enhanced understanding of the interface between theology and therapy. Each course is taught from “a biblical perspective” and strives to integrate this perspective with family system theories of MFT. Students can expect to complete at least 500 hours of face-to-face contact with clients during their time in the program, which is introduced in a graduated process—for instance, students in their first year of the program begin by working the front desk at the Seminary’s Center for Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling, and slowly work up to developing a caseload of clients. If students are interested in developing a dual focus in theological studies and counseling and may be interested in serving on church staff, the Seminary offers dual degrees in MFT and Master of Divinity in Counseling.
University of Southern Mississippi, located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, offers a Master of Science in MFT that students generally complete in two to five years, depending on whether they choose to pursue the degree full- or part-time. The program is comprised of 60 credit hours designed to provide students with a strong foundation in the theory and practice of MFT, instructed by USM faculty with specialties in diverse areas. In terms of clinical training, students are required to complete at least 500 clinical face-to-face hours and 100 supervision hours, In addition to clinical training and coursework, students are required to complete clinical comprehensive examinations, and may choose to complete either a thesis or written comprehensive examinations. The program highlights its strengths as high rates of post-graduate employment and passing of the national MFT examination and opportunities to build specialties during each student’s time in the program.
Online MFT Degrees in Mississippi
Students interested in pursuing MFT graduate study on a part-time basis or on a more flexible schedule often consider programs that offer online content. There are an increasing number of programs in the field of MFT that offer either part- or full-time online degrees; however, there are currently only two online-only programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFTE). Although neither Capella University nor Northcentral University are based out of Mississippi, they offer masters- and doctoral-level online degrees in MFT that meet requirements outlined by COAMFTE.
Learn more about an MFT degree online.
MFT Accreditation in Mississippi
One major consideration for students considering pursuing a graduate-level MFT degree is the accreditation status of a given institution. When a program is accredited, this means that the program has met certain requirements outlined by an objective accreditation board. In the field of marriage and family therapy, the main accrediting body is the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE); however, there are other national accreditation bodies in the larger field of counseling, such as the Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), as well as regional accreditation bodies.
The benefits of choosing an accredited program are mostly related to becoming licensed; most states in the U.S. recognize accredited programs—particularly COAMFTE-accredited programs—as automatically meeting requirements for licensure in the state. Programs accredited by COAMFTE and CACREP in Mississippi are detailed above. Indeed, the Mississippi Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists outlines in their statutes that applicants to become an LMFT in the state must have attended a COAMFTE-accredited program.
Career Opportunities for MFTs in Mississippi
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that as of May 2015, there were only 40 MFTs working in the state of Mississippi; however, this number is likely to increase, as the number of jobs available for MFTs is expected to grow around 20% over the next decade! The mean salary in the state as of May 2015 was $45,100, though salaries for MFTs across the country vary considerably based on the setting in which they work, their licensure status, and number of years at their job. The benefits of the MFT career path have been recognized by the U.S. News and World Report, which included MFT on its list of “best jobs,” based on factors such as pay, job opportunities, work/life balance, and future growth. Learn more about MS MFT license requirements.
Marriage and Family Therapists Salary in Mississippi
Table data taken from 2016 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm)