MFT Programs in Georgia

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Georgia

Georgia may be nicknamed the Peach State, but it has a lot more to offer. Besides being home to the large cultural hub of Atlanta, Georgia is also the birthplace of Coca-Cola. Anyone looking for a subtropical, warm place in which to study marriage and family therapy or work as a licensed counselor might consider Georgia. The state has a few accredited MFT training programs to consider, and the requirements for gaining an MFT license in the state are a bit different than in some other states. That being said, let’s take a look at what is available academically for students in the state and how to qualify for licensure as an MFT in Georgia. 

Accredited MFT Programs in Georgia

Those looking for an academic counseling training program will need to check the school’s accreditation status. Accreditation just means that the program has been examined by a recognized accrediting agency and approved. One of the most common therapy accrediting agencies is the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). However, marriage and family counseling programs can either be accredited by CACREP or by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).  Some states favor one accreditation over the other, and in Georgia, all accredited programs are examined by COAMFTE.

COAMFTE Accredited Georgia MFT Programs

While CACREP accreditation can be applied to any qualifying academic training program in the counseling and psychiatry field, COAMFTE sets the standards for marriage and family therapy programs specifically. The COAMFTE lists only four accredited institutions with MFT graduate programs in Georgia. Luckily, COAMFTE-accredited programs are assumed to meet the minimum qualifications for licensure in the state, so the difference in the accrediting agency only matters if a student prefers one over the other.
NameCityStateDegree LevelGRE Required?Full Program NameURL
Valdosta State University (MS)ValdostaGAMastersNoM.S. in Marriage & Family TherapyClick Here
University of Georgia (PhD)AthensGADoctoralNoPh.D. in Marriage and Family TherapyClick Here
Mercer University - Atlanta (MFT)AtlantaGAMastersYesMaster of Family TherapyClick Here
Mercer University - Macon (MFT)MaconGAMastersYesMaster of Family Therapy (MFT)Click Here
Toccoa Falls CollegeToccoa FallsGA MastersYesM.A. in Marriage and Family TherapyClick Here

University of Georgia:

Marriage and Family Therapy Doctoral Program

Located in Athens, Georgia, University of Georgia offers a doctoral-level degree in marital and family therapy. With an approach from a scientist-practitioner model, the program combines learning and practice to create well-rounded therapists. What makes this program unique is the integration of practice in formal research and the development of teaching and clinical supervision skills. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to publish quantitative and qualitative research, work at UGA’s ASPIRE clinic, gain financial assistance through graduate assistantships, travel to conferences, and participate in nationally-funded research groups with HDFS scholars.

Furthermore, students have the chance to practice and participate in implementation research with under-represented populations, which fits in with the school’s mission to work from a social contextual health perspective.


Valdosta State University:

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

Another COAMFTE-accredited program, VSU’s marriage and family therapy program leads to a Master of Science degree. Operating from a system and contextual perspective, the diversity-focused program instructs trainees in approaching counseling with sensitivity toward ways systems and cultures affect clients’ psychology and opportunities. The curriculum covers 60 semester hours of course content, with 18 hours of clinical practicum which lasts for one year and challenges students to practice professionalism, integration of ethics, and problem-solving in a clinical setting.

Students who complete the program will qualify for MFT licensure in Georgia and seek membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). This coursework also prepares students who wish to apply for doctorate programs.


Mercer University:

Family Therapy, M.F.T.

Mercer offers family and marriage therapy programs at both its Atlanta and Macon campuses. With its small class sizes and affiliation with a medical school, the program offers students a unique opportunity to learn and practice clinical skills in an interdisciplinary setting. Working together with others in the health and psychology fields is an important part of treating the whole person when working with a client, so getting the chance to see how mental health interacts with other fields is rewarding. In both Atlanta and Macon, advanced graduate students of the Master of Family Therapy degree have the chance to work with members of the local community in Mercer Family Therapy Centers, which provide low-cost counseling to families, individuals, and couples.


No GRE Required MFT Programs in Georgia

While there are a number of MFT programs that are available in Georgia, some of them still require the GRE for admission. The following list includes all MFT programs that do no require the GRE test for admissions purposes.

What will you learn in a Georgia MFT program?

In MFT programs in Georgia, you will learn counseling techniques and theories dealing with individuals, couples, and families. You will also apply the content you’ve learned in hands-on clinical practice.

While the individual courses may vary, whichever program you choose will cover theoretical foundations in marriage and family systems, assessments, diagnosis, treatments, psychopathology, human development, personality, and human sexuality. COAMFTE-accredited programs are required to offer students courses exploring ethics and research as well. Many of these courses are designed to help you develop your professional identity as a counselor and navigate difficult legal and ethical issues you are likely to encounter in your career as a marriage and family counselor in Georgia.

In Georgia, the hands-on application of course learning culminates in a year-long supervised practicum, which has minimum hours that need to be completed. Georgia MFT programs require students to complete 500 hours of client contact in a marriage and family clinical therapy setting with supervision by an approved supervisor.

If you did not complete a COAMFTE-accredited program for marriage and family therapy, it is possible to qualify for licensure if your master’s or doctorate were obtained in a related field, like counseling, pastoral counseling, social work, applied psychology, applied sociology, applied child and family development, medicine, and psychiatric nursing. If you receive your master’s in a similar related field, you may have to complete additional coursework to fully qualify for an MFT license.

How to become an LMFT in Georgia

In many states like Georgia, university MFT training programs that are COAMFTE-accredited have already proven that they satisfy state requirements for licensure. However, some states have more stringent requirements a student must satisfy before they qualify to become an LMFT, so make sure the program you choose satisfies the qualifications for becoming an LMFC if you decide to practice counseling in a state other than Georgia.

Students qualify for licensure if they attend a COAMFTE-accredited program or if their program is accredited by another agency and the student has taken three courses in marriage and family studies, three courses in human development, one course in research, one course in ethics related to marriage and family therapy, and three courses in lifespan development. The program must also include a practicum/internship portion. These are done in highly supervised, clinical settings approved by your school. A minimum of 500 hours of direct client contact and 100 supervised hours are required.

After you’ve completed your graduate degree, your next step is spending time as a resident counselor, which is essentially a pre-licensed therapist who has approval from the Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists to practice with supervision. In Georgia, this step means applying to become an associate marriage and family therapist.

Once you have been approved, you can begin your supervised training, and your license will last for as long as it takes for you to satisfy the training requirements for full licensure.

As a resident in marriage and family counseling in Georgia (aka an associate marriage and family therapist), you will be expected to complete a minimum of 2,000 hours of marriage and family therapy clinical experience in no less than two years and no more than five with a board-approved supervisor. Those 2,000 hours must include 100 hours of direct supervision.

Once you have completed these requirements, you can apply for approval to take the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Board’s Examination. When you’ve received approval, you can register for the exam directly.

After passing the test, you will need to do the following to apply for your license:

  • Complete an application form with related materials.
  • Have your school send official transcripts directly to the licensing office.
  • Pay a $100 fee.
  • Obtain two letters of reference from professionals familiar with your work as a therapist.
  • Complete a background check.

Once you have applied, you get to wait while Georgia reviews your test scores, education, and application. If your application and exam scores meet the requirements, you’ll be notified of your approval via an online portal.

What does an LMFT in Georgia do?

A licensed marriage and family therapist in Georgia specializes in families and couples as a system. However, this does not mean that you cannot work with individuals in your counseling as an MFT therapist. However, your work with individuals will come from a family systems perspective. LMFTs in Georgia work with groups and individual clients to understand relationship dynamics and how each person fits into each bigger whole. Working with the client, MFT counselors work to heal and connect. Your job as an MFT in Georgia may also require you to act as a bridge for your clients, helping them access help and care in areas that may not be related to your job. Your job as a counselor may also call on you to take down barriers if your clients have systemic blocks to healing that are out of their control.

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Georgia

The following list includes all marriage and family therapy programs in Georgia. The program accreditation is noted, as well as where the programs are located and whether or not the GRE is required for admission.
NameCityStateDegree LevelGRE Required?Full Program NameURL
Valdosta State University (MS)ValdostaGAMastersNoM.S. in Marriage & Family TherapyClick Here
University of Georgia (PhD)AthensGADoctoralNoPh.D. in Marriage and Family TherapyClick Here
Mercer University - Atlanta (MFT)AtlantaGAMastersYesMaster of Family TherapyClick Here
Mercer University - Macon (MFT)MaconGAMastersYesMaster of Family Therapy (MFT)Click Here
Toccoa Falls CollegeToccoa FallsGA MastersYesM.A. in Marriage and Family TherapyClick Here

Georgia LMFT Career and Salary Opportunities

Most students pursuing MFT as a career are doing so because they want to help people. However, that does not mean that it is not an economical decision. The industry is projected to grow by 16% nationwide by 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is faster than in many other industries in the country. If you choose to work as an MFT in Georgia, you will be joining a national workforce of 54,800, a number that is quickly growing as more programs in MFT appear. The average salary for LMFTs in the U.S. was $59,660 as of May 2021.

Georgia MFT Resources

If you are interested in Georgia schools with marriage and family therapy programs, here are links to the programs we’ve already mentioned.

Additional Resources:

University of Georgia: Marriage and Family Therapy Doctoral Program

Valdosta State University: Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

Mercer University: Family Therapy, M.F.T.