MFT Programs in Dallas, Texas

Kacy Kaiser

Written by Kacy Kaiser

M.S. in School Counseling | Long Island University

Updated & Fact Checked: 06.21.2024

Mental Health and access to care are areas of need in Dallas, Texas. According to a 2022 report from Mental Health America of Greater Dallas, 36.8% of adults in the Dallas area report having anxiety or depression symptoms. This is higher than the national average of 32.3%. In addition to higher symptom rates, adults in Dallas have less access to mental health care. An estimated 61% of Dallas residents do not have health care as reported by Dallas County Mental Health.

Marriage and Family Therapy is growing nationwide especially in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The demand for this counseling specialization is increasing. People often seek counseling to cope with the stressors in their lives, and most times, those most stressful situations are due to our relationships. Marriage and Family Therapists are trained counselors specializing in common relationships and healthy versus unhealthy relationship patterns.

Marriage and Family Therapy students must learn the foundations of counseling theory and practice while examining the impact a person’s mental health can have on their relationships. The intersection of our relationship with ourselves and our relationships with key people in our lives is commonly difficult to manage and where most people tend to suffer.

If you live in the Dallas, Texas, area and want to pursue this challenging and fulfilling career as an MFT, we will list several options for MFT programs that will provide you with the knowledge and training you need to build a successful career.

Online MFT Programs in Dallas

Before starting any degree-seeking program, you must first ensure that the program can meet your needs. Online programs offer great flexibility, which can be ideal for working students or those with other commitments. Other aspects you need to consider are the cost of the program, the time it will take to complete it, and if you have the necessary resources to complete the program. You will need a working desktop or laptop computer and possibly some specific software programs if you will use an online program.

Here is one online program that Dallas residents can take advantage of:

This COAMFTE-accredited 60 credit-hour Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program combines practical training in couple, family and child therapy, mental illness, substance abuse and addiction, with emphasis placed on assessment and diagnosis.

Other online programs, not in the Dallas area, but still available to Dallas residents are:

Offers an online Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Counseling. The program has a 60 credit requirement along with 500 hours of practicum experience. The program is COAMFTE accredited.

Offers a 100% online Masters in Counseling with Marriage and Family Therapy track.  The program is designed to prepare students to become licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) by passing the national exam.

Offers a 100% online program accredited by COAMFTE.  Graduates will be eligible to sit for the National MFT exam and apply for licensure in most states.

Accredited MFT Programs in Dallas

Dallas COAMFTE-accredited Programs

The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education is a national accrediting body for marriage and family therapy programs. The programs that COAMFTE accredits meet high-quality standards and are recognized by state and national professional organizations.

There is one university in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that has a COAMFTE-accredited program in Marriage and Family Therapy. Listed below are some critical components of this program:

Abilene Christian University(in-person program)

  1. Master of Marriage and Family Therapy
  2. This program meets the requirements for licensure as a LMFT by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists.
  3. In-person Program
  4. 60 credit-hours

Dallas CACREP-accredited Programs

CACREP is another counseling program accreditation that prepares students to become Marriage and Family Therapists. These programs may be in related areas such as Clinical Mental Health Counseling but allow for students to specialize in Marriage and Family Therapy. CACREP stands for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. It is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that accredits counseling programs in the United States and Canada.

CACREP standards are designed to ensure that counseling programs are of high quality and that their graduates are prepared to practice counseling in a competent and ethical manner. The standards cover many areas, including curriculum, faculty qualifications, clinical experiences, and assessment procedures.

CACREP accreditation is a valuable asset for counseling programs. It demonstrates to students, employers, and the public that the program meets high-quality standards. CACREP accreditation can also help programs attract qualified students and faculty, making it easier for graduates to obtain licensure and employment.

CACREP accredited programs in the Dallas area are:

  1. Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  2. School Counseling
  1. Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  2. Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
  3. School Counseling
  1. Clinical Mental Health Counseling

No GRE-Required MFT Programs in Dallas

Many colleges and universities require a standardized test called the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) for admission into graduate-level programs. The GRE is similar to the SAT, often required for entry into bachelor’s degree programs. In recent years, many colleges and universities have moved away from requiring standardized admission tests. You can find many Marriage and Family Therapy programs that do not require the GRE for admission. However, some may require it under certain circumstances.

This Master of Arts program does not require the GRE.

Requirements for admission are:

  1. Official transcripts
  2. Church Endorsement Form
  3. Copy of Photo ID
  4. Recommendation Form
  5. Meningitis Shot

Requirements for admission are:

  1. Primary application
  2. Supplemental application
  3. Bachelor’s degree with 3.0 GPA or higher
  4. Three Letters of Recommendation
  5. Essay
  6. Interview

Master of Science in Counseling

Requirements for admission are:

  1. Bachelor’s degree with 3.0 GPA or higher
  2. GRE required ONLY if undergraduate GPA is below 3.0
  3. Application
  4. Essay
  5. Three Recommendations
  6. Resume

What Will You Learn in a Dallas MFT Program?

A master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy will have a curriculum focused on psychological principles and theory related to the relationship dynamic. Here are some of the things you will learn in a Dallas MFT program:

  • Theoretical foundations of MFT: You will learn about the different theories and models of MFT, including systems theory, structural family therapy, and strategic family therapy.
  • Assessment and diagnosis: You will learn how to assess and diagnose family problems, using a variety of tools and techniques.
  • Intervention strategies: You will learn how to intervene in family systems, using a variety of techniques, such as communication skills training, problem-solving skills training, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Ethics and professional standards: You will learn about the ethical and professional standards that govern the practice of MFT.
  • Research and evaluation: You will learn how to conduct research and evaluate the effectiveness of MFT interventions.
  • Clinical supervision: You will receive clinical supervision from experienced MFTs, which will help you develop your skills and knowledge.

How to Become an MFT in Dallas, Texas

If you live in the Dallas area and want to be a licensed MFT, you must abide by the process set forth by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists. This governing body is responsible for issuing professional licenses in the state of Texas and requires 4 steps in the process.

Here are the steps on how to become an MFT in Dallas, Texas:

1. Complete a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy.

The degree must be from a program accredited by COAMFTE or CACREP. These accreditation groups promote best practices for Marriage and Family Therapy educational programs through establishing, reviewing, and revising accreditation standards and policies and the accreditation of graduate and post-graduate educational programs. 

2. Pass the national licensing exam.

The Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AAMFTRB) administers the national licensing exam for marriage and family therapists.

The exam is a multiple-choice test that covers the following areas:

  • Human development
  • Family systems
  • Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Treatment planning and intervention
  • Legal and ethical issues

3. Complete two years of supervised clinical experience.

The supervised clinical experience must be under the supervision of a licensed marriage and family therapist. The experience must include a variety of settings, such as private practice, community mental health centers, and hospitals.

4. Apply for licensure.

When you have completed all the requirements, you can apply for licensure with the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists. The application process includes submitting an application fee, transcripts from your graduate program, proof of passing the national licensing exam, and a completed application.

Once you have obtained your license to practice marriage and family therapy in Texas, it is essential to take steps to maintain your license. The TSBEMT requires all licensed marriage and family therapists to complete continuing education, pay an annual renewal fee, and meet specific ethical standards.

Here are some additional tips for becoming a marriage and family therapist in Texas:

  • Get involved in professional organizations.
    There are many professional organizations for marriage and family therapists in Texas. Getting involved in these organizations can help you network with other professionals, learn about new developments in the field, and stay up-to-date on the latest licensing requirements.
  • Attend continuing education courses.
    Continuing education is required for all licensed marriage and family therapists in Texas. Attending continuing education courses will help you stay up-to-date on the latest research and best practices in the field.
  • Volunteer your services.
    Volunteering your services as a marriage and family therapist can be a great way to gain experience and make a difference in your community. Many organizations could benefit from the services of a marriage and family therapist, such as domestic violence shelters, schools, and community health centers.

Career and Salary Opportunities for MFT’s in Dallas

The job outlook for marriage and family therapists in Dallas, Texas is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of marriage and family therapists will grow 14% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is expected due to increasing demand for mental health services and an aging population that is more likely to need counseling services.

Marriage and family therapists provide counseling and therapy to individuals, couples, and families. They work with clients to address a variety of issues, including relationship problems, mental health concerns, and life transitions. Marriage and family therapists can work in various settings, including private practice, hospitals, clinics, and schools.

Texas’s median annual salary for marriage and family therapists is $56,947. The highest-paying industries for marriage and family therapists in Texas are hospitals, individual and family services, and state government.

Here are some additional tips for finding a job as a marriage and family therapist in Dallas:

  • Network with other marriage and family therapists in your area.
  • Attend conferences and workshops to learn about new trends and opportunities.
  • Build your online presence by creating a website and social media accounts.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of finding a job as a marriage and family therapist in the city of Dallas.

Dallas is a vibrant and diverse city with excellent career opportunities for Marriage and Family Therapists. Use the steps outlined in this article to embark on a rewarding career helping people in the beautiful city of Dallas, Texas.