MFT Programs in Kentucky

Anna Harris

Written by Anna Harris

Marketing Manager | M.Ed in CMHC – William & Mary

LMFT Candidate | Updated & Fact Checked: 3/4/2024

The decision to become a marriage and family therapist is not a simple one. Many factors go into the choice to pursue the field, and it is not the end of the decision-making. Once you know you want to begin the journey to become an LMFT, it is time to make another important choice: where to study and work. One state with plenty of MFT programs to choose from in Kentucky. The moonshine capital of the world has five schools that offer programs in marital and family therapy training. This article will also take a look at the state’s requirements for earning licensure as an MFT.

Accredited MFT Programs in Kentucky

Before you choose an MFT program, it is important to make sure the program will prepare you for the job and meet the standards set by the state to be licensed. A program that has met these minimum requirements is labeled accredited. One of the most common therapy accrediting agencies is the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which accredits clinical mental health masters and Ph.D. programs. If your program of interest says it is CACREP-accredited, that means your education there will satisfy the requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist in almost every state in the U.S. The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) is accredited specifically for couples, marriage, and family therapy programs.

CACREP Accredited Kentucky MFT Programs

Since CACREP is an accreditation given to mental health counseling programs in general. That means that not every CACREP-accredited program is marriage and family therapy. There is one CACREP-accredited program in Kentucky.

Western Kentucky University:

MAE in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

The Master of Arts in Education at Bowling Green is a clinical mental health counseling training program that offers a couples and family counseling concentration. The program offers students the chance to earn classroom knowledge of theories, techniques, and best practices in counseling, but it also gives students the chance to give MFT counseling under supervision to real clients. Western Kentucky University also provides the opportunity for students to engage in scholarly activities in couples and family counseling, group counseling, and individual counseling at the Talley Family Counseling Center. The program also places a heavy emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaboration and encourages students to engage with community entities for the good of their clients.

COAMFTE Accredited Kentucky MFT Programs

COAMFTE-accredited MFT programs have been examined and found to meet the state training standards for future couples, family, and marriage counselors. While every state has different standards, COAMFTE-accredited programs are generally thought to satisfy most state educational requirements. Here are the four COAMFTE-accredited programs in Kentucky.
NameCityStateDegree LevelModalityAccreditationGRE Required?Full Program NameURL
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (MA)LouisvilleKYMastersCampusCOAMFTENoM.S. in Marriage & Family TherapyLearn More
Campbellsville University (MMFT)LouisvilleKYMastersCampusCOAMFTENoMarriage and family therapyLearn More
University of Louisville (MSSW)LouisvilleKYMastersCampusCOAMFTENoMaster of Science in Social WorkLearn More
University of Kentucky (MS)LexingtonKYMastersCampusCOAMFTEYesM.S. in Marriage & Family TherapyLearn More

University of Louisville:

MS in Couples and Family Therapy

The university’s on-campus, two-year program in Louisville prepares students to work in local communities with at-risk individuals and families. The program is provided by the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work and Family Science. The program teaches students theoretical foundation, practical application, ethics, research, and theory. Students can also choose to complete a dual degree in social work, which will take either two or three years.

University of Kentucky:

MS in Family Sciences (Couple and Family Therapy Emphasis)

University of Kentucky’s MS in Family Sciences with a concentration in Couple and Family Therapy takes a family systems perspective in its application of techniques. Students will learn theory and techniques in their traditional coursework while also engaging in client contact hours, community outreach, research, and graduate assistantships. Students take 53 traditional coursework credits and an additional 10 credits for their practicum, which requires students to complete 300 to 500 clinical practice hours with clients.

Louisville Seminary:

MA in Marriage and Family Therapy

Louisville Seminary’s program seeks to create proficient marriage and family counselors who approach their clients and their work with a mix of scientific theory and technique and theological worldview. In addition to regular coursework, students gain practical experience in working with real clients in both the on-campus counseling clinic and community clinics in the area. According to the program, most students pursue their education at Louisville Seminary with the goal of becoming spiritually-informed marital and family therapists. However, other students work to earn their M.Div. and pursue work as ministerial workers who are also qualified to counsel couples and families.

Campbellsville University:

Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy

Campbellsville University’s MFT program was ranked as one of the top MFT programs in the U.S. in 2020 by The 60-credit program boasts a mixture of a firm foundation in therapeutic technique and theory mixed with a Christian worldview in its teaching. The program has a two-year and a three-year track for completion, and students complete the program on a hybrid basis, with 50 percent of courses done online. In their final year, students must pass a comprehensive exam with a passing score of at least 70 percent in order to get their degree.

No-GRE MFT programs in Kentucky

Traditionally, students preparing to enter graduate school have been required to submit GRE scores with their applications to even be considered for entrance to the program of their choice. However, for the last few years, many schools have begun to remove the requirement to submit GRE scores with applications and instead focus on other supplemental application materials, like letters of recommendation. If you are hoping to avoid the work that comes with studying for and taking the GRE, here are a few MFT programs in Kentucky which do not require the test scores.
NameCityStateDegree LevelModalityAccreditationGRE Required?Full Program NameURL
Western Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenKYM.A.E.CampusCACREPNoM.A.E. in in Education in Marriage, Couple, and Family CounselingLearn More
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (MA)LouisvilleKYMastersCampusCOAMFTENoM.S. in Marriage & Family TherapyLearn More
Campbellsville University (MMFT)LouisvilleKYMastersCampusCOAMFTENoMarriage and family therapyLearn More
University of Louisville (MSSW)LouisvilleKYMastersCampusCOAMFTENoMaster of Science in Social WorkLearn More

What will you learn in a Kentucky MFT program?

Your education in a Kentucky MFT program may vary a bit depending on which school you choose, but in general, you will be guaranteed to learn a mix of theory, technique, and practical application. In your program, you will study coursework including family studies (which includes family systems, blended families, and family subsystems); marriage and family therapy theory; marriage and family therapy techniques; human development; psychopathology; professional studies; ethics; and research.

Every COAMFTE and CACREP-accredited program is required to include a practicum and/or internship portion in which students earn clinical experience working directly with clients under the supervision of an approved supervisor while still in school. Students should earn at least 300 hours in clinical work with clients during this practicum before they can graduate.

How to Become an LMFT in Kentucky

Kentucky allows residents of the state to become licensed MFTs if they have completed an MFT program or equivalent programs, such as counseling, social work, community mental health, or psychology. Kentucky specifies the programs should be COAMFTE, and if it is not, students should demonstrate having completed the minimum coursework mentioned in the previous section. Students must also earn a minimum of 300 hours of work directly with clients in the practicum.

The Board of Licensure for Marriage and Family Therapists oversees the licensure, and there are two levels of licensure for MFTs. The first is licensure as an associate marriage and family therapist. An associate’s license is for working in the required post-graduate supervision known as the residency in training period. You must apply with the Board for this license prior to accruing hours in your post-grad supervision period. Once you’re a licensed associate, you can start your supervision. Associates and their supervisors will create a written contract that details the eventual termination process for the supervision period. Furthermore, both supervisor and supervisee will keep a log that shows the dates of the sessions. Associates must earn 1,000 client contact hours and 200 hours of supervision, 100 of which may be in a group setting.

Before candidates can receive full licensure as a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), they must pass the national exam. When the candidate has their associate’s license approved, their name will be submitted for the examination, which approves them to take the exam. Once the candidate’s name has been submitted to the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board (AMFTRB), they may register for the exam with PES/AMFTRB. The registration fee is $220, though candidates will pay an additional $75 directly to the test administrator, Prometric-Thomson.

Once a candidate has passed the exam, they are ready to apply for full licensure. The application packet includes questions related to background and professionalism. Answers should be accompanied by proof and supporting information. First-time licensure fees total $225.

What does an LMFT in Kentucky do?

LMFTs in Kentucky are connectors within their communities. They act as a guide to families, individuals, and couples as they navigate challenging relationships and other issues. Using a number of techniques both shared with general clinical mental health counselors and unique to the MFT field, couples and family therapists observe and assess those they counsel to create actionable goals toward wellness for their clients. Furthermore, LMFTs connect their clients to other community agencies and disciplines to ensure a well-rounded view of the client’s well-being. Occasionally, LMFTs may act as advocates for clients who might experience systemic barriers.

Kentucky LMFT Career and Salary Opportunities

Clinical mental health counseling in all its forms is seeing an increase in popularity. Mental health awareness has grown over the last few years, and with it has come to an increase in demand for counseling services. The Covid19 pandemic created a boom in demand as well. The pandemic also encouraged more people to use virtual work, which has increased access to and awareness of telehealth. These factors, among others, have likely contributed to the overall growth of the mental health industry. The field of marriage and family therapy specifically is projected to grow by 16% nationwide by 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2021, the number of licensed, practicing MFTs was 54,800, and the average salary was $59,660. Kentucky’s average yearly salary was comparable at $57,210. The state has a healthy number of MFTs as well at 400, perhaps due to the number of accredited programs accessible to LMFTs in training.

Kentucky MFT Resources

The number of accredited MFT programs to choose from in the U.S. may be overwhelming, so here are links to the programs mentioned in this article.

Additional Resources:

Western Kentucky University: MAE in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

University of Louisville: MS in Couples and Family Therapy

University of Kentucky: MS in Family Sciences (Couple and Family Therapy Emphasis)

Louisville Seminary: MA in Marriage and Family Therapy

Campbellsville University: Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy

MFT Programs in Other States