Online MFT Programs in California

Embarking on a marriage and family therapist (MFT) career opens up a fulfilling pathway in the mental health sector. California offers numerous online master’s degree programs in this area, providing the flexibility to continue your professional journey from your living space. Whether your background is a psychology bachelor’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in social work, advancing to an online master’s in MFT can facilitate your transition toward becoming a licensed MFT in California.

Online Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in California

Online MFT programs in California provide students with the theoretical and practical knowledge to help couples, families, and individuals navigate mental health and interpersonal issues. Programs often integrate flexible learning environments with required practicum or internship experiences, offering students a well-rounded education that accommodates their lifestyles and schedules.

COAMFTE Accredited MFT Programs in California

Accreditation is an important factor to consider when choosing a program. Among the online MFT programs accredited by COAMFTE, you’ll find a variety of California-based programs that adhere to the highest educational standards. These programs provide a curriculum approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, ensuring your education is recognized and respected.

Why Study at a California MFT Program?

California is popular with people of different cultures, lifestyles, and levels of wealth. This is to your advantage because you’ll have the opportunity to gain experience working with diverse people, thus helping you build a well-rounded therapeutic practice.

Another significant advantage of studying at a California MFT program is the state’s commitment to mental health awareness and services.

California provides innovative therapeutic techniques and mental health policies. They also have a strong network of practitioners willing to put you at the forefront of these advancements.

Studying in this state allows you to connect with and learn from these experienced professionals. And these connections can help you secure internships, practicum placements, and job opportunities.

California MFT Curriculum


In a California MFT program, your curriculum will prepare you to understand, guide, and assist individuals, couples, and families through various life challenges and mental health conditions.

Common courses include:

Family Systems Theory

This foundational course introduces students to the concepts of family systems theory. You’ll learn how to view individuals in the context of their relational networks, understand family dynamics, and apply therapeutic strategies that address systemic issues.

Understanding Development Across the Lifespan

From infancy through older adulthood, this course gives insight into the developmental stages we all experience. It emphasizes the cognitive, emotional, social, and physical changes that occur, aiding your comprehension of life-stage-related issues that clients may face.

Cultural Competence and Social Justice Considerations

Given California’s rich diversity, MFT programs emphasize understanding and respecting the experiences of different cultural, socioeconomic, and racial backgrounds. Courses focus on understanding systemic inequalities and biases and how they can impact mental health and therapy. 


In addition to the theory aspect of your study, they allow students to have hands-on experience in real-world settings under supervision. It’s an integral part of the program, often involving several hundred hours of practical work. 

Additional courses within California online MFT programs:

  • Introduction to Psychopathology
  • Ethics and Law in Therapy
  • Research Methods
  • Therapeutic Techniques and Interventions

LMFT Salary and Job Outlook in California

LMFT Salary in California

When deciding whether to pursue a career in Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT) in California, you must be sure of the potential income. In California, the compensation for LMFTs is notably competitive compared to many other states. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wage for Marriage and Family Therapists nationally was $49,880 per year as of May 2021.

It was also reported that the highest 10% earned more than $96,520 per year, and the lowest 10% earned less than $37,050 per year. However, these aren’t the exact figures because they can vary based on factors like years of experience, areas of specialization, and the type of workplace.

For instance, LMFTs employed in Individual and Family Services had an annual mean wage of $48,340, while those in Offices of Other Health Practitioners earned $49,630 on average. Notably, the top-paying industry for Marriage and Family Therapists was state government, excluding education and hospitals, with an impressive annual mean wage of $77,960.

California LMFT Job Outlook

The job outlook for LMFTs in California is highly promising. Nationally, the BLS projects a 14% growth rate for the profession from 2021 to 2031, a pace much faster than the average for all occupations. This trend will likely hold if California continues to commit to mental health resources and services.

Furthermore, the BLS predicts around 6,400 job openings for marriage and family therapists each year, on average, over the decade. Many of these openings are expected to arise from the need to replace workers who transition to different occupations or exit the labor force entirely, such as through retirement.

California also offers many opportunities for LMFTs to expand their professional horizons. You find opportunities from state and local professional associations that frequently organize education programs and networking events. These opportunities can enhance your skill and open up new avenues for career advancement.

 In conclusion, a career as an LMFT in California offers competitive remuneration, a robust job outlook, and numerous opportunities for professional growth.

How to Become a Licensed MFT in California

If you have finally made up your mind to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in California, then here is a path to follow;


Like every other career, you must first have a bachelor’s degree. For MFT, your bachelor’s degree must be related to psychology. Having bagged this degree, you can obtain a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a related discipline.

 Meanwhile, you must ensure that these programs are accredited by recognized bodies such as the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

Supervised Practice

Next, accrue 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience over at least 104 weeks. This practical experience is crucial in building real-world skills and applying theoretical knowledge. During the supervised practice period, aspiring MFTs work under the guidance and supervision of a licensed MFT. The supervision process involves regular meetings between the supervisor and the trainee, during which cases are discussed, therapeutic interventions are reviewed, and professional growth is facilitated.

Licensure Examinations

Once the supervised hours are complete, it’s time to tackle the licensure examinations. In California, this involves the California Law and Ethics Exam and the National MFT Exam. Both assessments evaluate a candidate’s readiness to practice ethically and competently. To prepare for these exams, candidates can utilize various study resources, such as textbooks and online courses.

Licensure Application

The final step is to apply for licensure with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. The body reviews your application, ensures you’ve met all the licensure requirements, and verifies you. After verification of the required documents and payment of the necessary fees, successful candidates are awarded their licenses. Meanwhile, this review process can take some time, so patience’s important during this stage.

 This journey, though demanding, leads to a rewarding career as an MFT, offering the opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of individuals and families.

California MFT State Regulations

California has specific regulations regarding the practice of marriage and family therapy. These include educational requirements, supervised experience, ethical standards, and continuing education requirements for license renewal.

California Online MFT FAQ

What Will I Learn in an Online California MFT Program?

You’ll learn marriage and family therapy theories and techniques, how to work with diverse populations, diagnose and treat mental health conditions, and adhere to ethical guidelines. Programs also typically include a significant amount of supervised clinical practice.

Are there COAMFTE Accredited MFT Programs in California?

Yes, several COAMFTE-accredited MFT programs in California can be completed online. These programs meet the highest educational standards and prepare students to become licensed MFTs.

How long does it take to become an MFT in California?

The time it takes to become an MFT in California can vary depending on various factors, including the program’s structure, your availability, and the time required to accumulate the necessary supervised clinical experience. Generally, it can take two to four years to complete the required coursework, followed by another one to two years to fulfill the supervised clinical experience requirements. The overall process can take approximately three to six years

What does an LMFT do in California?

In California, an LMFT provides therapeutic services to individuals, couples, and families. It’s either you find them solving marital problems, family conflict, or treating mental health disorders.

Pursuing an online Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy in California can set you on a fulfilling career path judging from the disciplines and the job outlook. You will be open to opportunities and also be privileged to make a significant impact on the lives of others.

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