The benefits of COAMFTE accreditation for MFT students

Shopify Partners / Burst / Used under licenseWith the exceptions of California and possibly Texas, around the US most graduate degree programs in marriage and family therapy are accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Marital and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Of the 80 or so license-eligible MFT programs in California, only a handful are COAMFTE-accredited MFT programs. Without some background on professional accreditation and what it means, it is perfectly reasonable for prospective MFT students to wonder whether the benefits of COAMFTE accreditation are worth the added challenge of seeking out an accredited program.

Not everyone needs or will especially benefit from attending an accredited program. MFT programs that are not specifically accredited are still generally housed within accredited universities, making their degrees eligible for licensure. (More on that below.) But there are at least four areas where the benefits of program accreditation are likely to be significant for many students:

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#PostThePay is working

#PostThePayBack in January, we launched #PostThePay in hopes of making life a little bit easier for prelicensed therapists and those who employ them. As we described then, too much time is wasted by those on both sides when applicants for a therapy or counseling job wouldn’t take the pay scale that the job offers. Furthermore, California law now requires that employers provide the pay scale to any applicant who asks — so why not just put it in a job announcement?

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MFT job listing lingo

Matthew Henry / Burst / Used under licenseImagine seeing a job listing for a paid position that’s located close to home, involves working with the client population of your dreams, and offers excellent benefits. Excited to learn more, you begin to read over the job description. Upon reaching the “Qualifications” section, you see unfamiliar terminology. You start to question whether you meet the requirements for this position, and you wonder whether it’s worth applying for the position at all.

Many of us have encountered this situation and struggled to make sense of MFT job listing lingo. Fortunately, this article can provide clarification on several terms that may be unfamiliar to prelicensed MFTs who are seeking their first paid clinical opportunity.

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Finding MFT jobs

Originally posted June 2009; updated August 2014.

The most common question I hear these days from marriage and family therapists (MFTs) is simple: “Where can I find a job as an MFT?”

The more pessimistic ones ask the same question, they just leave out the word “Where.”

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Many MFT programs (still) seeking core faculty

After several fairly light hiring years, many graduate programs in marriage and family therapy are hiring new faculty. Here are some of the openings, divided by region.

Teacher-writing-on-blackboard564It’s a happy new year indeed! Good news abounds for those looking for academic positions in marriage and family therapy; there have been a LOT available this cycle. And even now, many are still accepting applications. Here are a number of universities still looking (as of January 19, 2012) to fill faculty positions. In most cases, the positions would start in Fall of 2012.

Given the calendar, I’m only including listings here for openings that may still be accepting new applications. Several schools (my own, Alliant International University, among them) are hiring this year but have already closed to new applicants.

Know of additional openings? I’m happy to add to this list. Email me, or post on them in the comments.


In California, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology is hiring for its Westwood and Orange County campuses.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is hiring a pair of entry-level MFT faculty positions: visiting lecturer and academic intern. (Both are full-time, salary positions on one-year contracts).


Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN is hiring a professor in MFT.

Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, IL, is hiring an assistant professor of MFT.


UConn (the University of Connecticut) is looking for a Program Director for its COAMFTE-accredited family therapy programs.

Virginia Tech is hiring an assistant professor in its MFT doctoral program (though they began reviewing applicants on December 1, so they may not be accepting new applications at this time).


Pfeiffer University is looking for an Assistant Director for its MFT program on its Raleigh/Durham campus.

East Carolina University is looking for a Chair for its Department of Child Development and Family Relations. They’re also seeking out a new faculty member for their Medical Family Therapy program.

I’m quite sure this is only a partial list, so please email me or post in the comments on other openings of which you are aware.