With its history and mesh of Native American and cowboy culture, Oklahoma may be the perfect place for some people hoping to study or work as a couple and family therapist (CFT). For those considering where to study and practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist, there are many options for schools to choose from and states in which to pursue licensure. So here is everything you need to know about studying and getting licensed as an MFT in Oklahoma.
Accredited MFT Programs in Oklahoma
A major consideration when searching for a quality MFT academic training program is whether or not it is accredited. A program that is accredited is one that has been examined by an accrediting agency to determine how well the curriculum trains future MFTs. One major accrediting agency is the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP examines all kinds of counseling programs, including MFT programs. The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) is an accrediting agency that examines couples and family counseling programs specifically. Oklahoma only has one accredited program, and it is COAMFTE-accredited.
Oklahoma State University:
MS in Marriage and Family Therapy
This full-time Stillwater program combines a mixture of theory learning and skills practice. Students learn the basics while also being encouraged to craft their own therapeutic techniques and approaches. The program also requires students to earn practical experience working as counselors in clinics. Unlike many programs, which place students with local clinics within their communities, Oklahoma State has an on-campus counseling clinic called the Center for Family Services, which serves individuals, couples, and families on campus and in the community.
No-GRE MFT programs in Oklahoma
Many applicants for graduate school have heard of the requirement made by many graduate schools to submit GRE scores. The GRE standardized test is meant to assess applicants’ readiness for continued education. However, the test, which is only required by U.S. schools, causes stress to many. Due to many factors, including the Covid19 pandemic, many schools are choosing to temporarily or permanently do away with the requirement to submit scores. Instead, these programs place greater weight and emphasis on other application materials, like letters of recommendation and transcripts. Luckily for students hoping to avoid the test, Oklahoma State University is temporarily waiving the requirement, though it is unclear for how long they will continue to make it optional.
What will you learn in an Oklahoma MFT program?
MFT programs in the U.S. look largely the same in their overall makeup, because every state has similar requirements for licensure, though they vary in the details. Students in MFT programs in Oklahoma can expect to learn the basic theories and techniques of marriage and family therapy and also gain some practical experience in the years leading up to graduation.
Students can expect to take courses in marriage and family systems foundational theory; assessment and treatment related to marriage and family therapy; human development; professional studies; ethics; and research. Furthermore, students will gain practical hours working at a clinic in a supervised practicum. The clinic may be in the community or in an on-campus clinic. Students will earn at least 300 hours of supervised practicum while working on completing their graduate school requirements.
How to become an LMFT in Oklahoma
The Professional Counselor Division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health is the organizing body in charge of approving or denying the licensing of marital and family counseling candidates. The process to become licensed as a CFT in Oklahoma is one with multiple steps and stages. Candidates must earn a graduate or Ph.D. degree in marriage and family therapy or a related degree from an accredited program; complete supervised post-graduate counseling work; and pass two exams.
The first step is education. As mentioned previously, the program can be in MFT or a related field as long as the candidate demonstrates that they have completed the specified courses in the foundations of MFT counseling. The program should include a practicum in which candidates earn at least 300 hours of practical experience.
Before beginning their post-graduate supervision, in which the candidate works as a counselor while employed at an approved clinic, the candidate must submit an application to the Board. The application is sent with graduate transcripts, recommendations, and verification of the practicum done in school. The Board assesses the candidate’s education and suitability before approving their continued participation in the program. The Board will also assess the supervisors’ clinic to make sure it meets minimum requirements. Finally, the candidate will need to get a background check, which is processed by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
When the supervision is approved, the candidate may begin accruing the required hours. Over a minimum of two years, the candidate will be required to earn 1,000 hours of work with clients, 250 of which should be in sessions with clients related to family and couples counseling. The candidate should also gain 150 hours of direct supervision. Together, the supervisor and supervisee will keep a log of hours and records of treatment planning and the supervisor’s evaluation of the candidate.
When the candidate turns in their application, they will receive approval to register for the national exam around 60 days after turning in their application. The candidate will need to take two exams: the Examination in Marital and Family Therapy, which is a written test, and an oral test. The candidate has three years to pass the written test and one year to pass the oral exam after being approved by the Board.
What does an LMFT in Oklahoma do?
Okhlamho LMFTs focus on relationships. While other mental health counselors may also work with many different types of clients on multiple issues, LMFTs have a specialization in couples and family systems and an understanding of key issues specific to families, couples, and relationships in general. LMFTs may work with clients on a variety of challenging areas, including divorce; trauma; communication issues; child or elder abuse; life transitions; pre-marital counseling; couples counseling; relationship management; mental health assessment and diagnosis; anger management; grief; depression; anxiety; and many others. LMFTs may work with individuals, couples, families, or children from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Oklahoma LMFT Career and Salary Opportunities
Those concerned with momentum and potential in their field of choice don’t need to worry. The MFT field is projected to grow by 16% nationwide in the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are many reasons for this growth, but the Covid19 pandemic played no small part. The increased isolation brought on by lockdowns and social distancing measures caused many people to feel the need for therapy more than ever before. Furthermore, many people were confronted with their preexisting mental health and relationship challenges in ways they had not previously. The increased dependence on telecommunication and working from home normalized the use of technology for telehealth. Besides the pandemic, awareness and demand for mental health services have grown over the years as social media has grown and education has spread. Advances in technology have further increased people’s ability to access mental health services through telehealth.
In 2021, the number of licensed, practicing MFTs in the U.S. was 54,800, and the average salary was $59,660, both of which are numbers with the potential to grow as the industry continues to grow in demand. Oklahoma was similar, with its 830 LMFTs earning $58,210 on average per year in 2021.
Oklahoma MFT Resources
As mentioned earlier, there is only one accredited couples and family therapy program in Oklahoma. We have included a link to the program below for convenience.
Oklahoma State University: MS in Marriage and Family Therapy