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Frequently Asked Questions

In this section you will find some of the most commonly asked questions about the MFT program. If you don't see your question answered please e-mail us at:

The Marriage and Family Therapy Master's degree program is accredited by COAMFTE, but the Post Master's Certificate program is not. Students take the same courses and receive the same high quality clinical supervision. However, we have not sought certification for the Post Master's certificate program because accreditation offers no advantage to PM students.

With full-time study all course work can be completed in two calendar years. Because the master's degree also requires students to receive 500 direct client contact clinical hours and a thesis or clinical project, it usually takes three years to complete the entire program. Master's students who attend part time may take 4-5 years to complete the program. 

With part-time study all the course work for the certificate can be completed in two calendar years. Because the Post Master's certificate also requires students to receive one calendar year of supervised practicum, it usually takes from 2-3 years to complete the requirements for the certificate. Post Master's students have 5 years to complete all the requirements.

There is no "typical" student profile. Master's students in our program range in age from the early 20's to the mid-60's, and come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Some of our master's students are employed full-time and complete the program on a part time basis. Most of our students become student members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

The typical Post Master's certificate student is someone who is seeking licensure in a mental health discipline and/or would like specialized training in working with couples and families. They have master's degrees in a mental health discipline and are employed as social workers, school counselors or pastoral counselors, or work in a counseling agency or private practice.

Master's students can transfer up to 9 graduate semester hours. Decisions about transferring credits are made on a case by case basis. Syllabi are required for review when attempting to transfer courses.

No, but if your degree is not in human development or another mental health related field and you have no experience working with people, you will need to have some experience that shows your interest in working with people and your ability to do so. In addition, students entering the program are strongly encouraged to have previously completed a course in Abnormal Psychology (Master's and Post-Master's applicants) and in Statistics (Master's applicants only) before admission to the program.

To begin practicum, students must have successfully completed 12 semester hours of coursework, completed their comprehensive exams, and been screened for admittance into the clinical practicum.

All students must see clients at the on-site training clinic, The Center for Family Services, during their first year of clinical practicum. Master's students are encouraged to obtain off-site clinical placements at one of several approved sites in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area for their second year of practicum.

Our graduates have gone on to a variety of careers. Typically though, most graduates establish their own private practice or are employed in public or private mental health agencies.

Yes. The practice of marriage and family therapy has been regulated in Virginia since 1995. In the year 2000, LMFT became another licensing category that was among those reimbursed by medical insurance companies based in Virginia.

Further information about this can be found at The Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy's About MFT Licensure in Virginia web page Or the Virginia Board of Counseling web page

No. Our MS degree is 51-54 semester hours of graduate study including 500 client contact hours earned during practicum. According to the present regulations governing the practice of marriage and family therapy in Virginia, you must have completed 60 semester hours of graduate study and at least two years of supervised post-graduate degree experience (residency). However, some of your practicum hours may be applied towards the Residency requirement. When you complete your Residency and academic requirements you are eligible to take the MFT licensing examination. Master's degree students have the option of taking additional credits while in the program to achieve the 60 semester hour requirement.

Our Post Master's certificate program is a minimum of 21 semester hours of graduate study and one calendar year of supervised practicum. To become licensed as a marriage and family therapist you will need to complete a Residency as discussed in the preceding paragraph and you may need additional courses. Practicum hours accumulated during the certificate program will most likely qualify as partial fulfillment of LMFT or LPC Residency requirements.

We encourage students to contact the Virginia Board of Counseling for more information about the licensure process at (804) 662-9912 or go to for more information.

The American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT) is a professional association that supports and oversees the field of marriage and family therapy. You are eligible for Student Membership in AAMFT as soon as you are admitted into this MFT Program (by virtue of its COAMFTE accreditation). You must submit a completed AAMFT membership application. If you live in Virginia, once you are an AAMFT member, you automatically become a member of the Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Information about tuition can be found at the University Bursar webpage.

Yes, Master's students are eligible to become graduate assistants who receive tuition waivers and stipends. We have a limited number of assistantships in our program. Students interested in an assistantship should fill out the appropriate information on the application.

Post Master's students are not eligible for assistantships.

Salary depends on education, geography, job setting, and experience. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the current national salaries for MFT's in 2014 ranged from $29,980 (bottom ten percent) - $78,580 (top ten percent) with a mean annual wage of $51,690. This has increased in the past few years.

Professionals working in agencies or private practices have varying incomes.

No, however the doctoral degree in MFT is offered on the Blacksburg campus. Some of our students have earned our MS degree and gone on to complete their doctoral degree in the program in Blacksburg.