Of the many vital acronyms in the psychological profession, COAMFTE is especially important if you're hoping to enjoy a promising career as a marriage and family therapist. The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFTE) accredits training programs like the M.A. and PsyD programs offered by Alliant International University to ensure the highest caliber of professional education.
Learn more about COAMFTE and how it can benefit your career as a marriage and family therapist (MFT).
What is COAMFTE Accreditation?
As one of the fastest-growing specialties in mental health, marriage and family therapy benefits couples and families around the world. To ensure clients are seen by the most knowledgeable and experienced therapists, the field’s governing body, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), created a special accrediting agency to hold graduate and post-graduate training programs to the highest standard.
- To oversee and ensure high-quality MFT education through accreditation.
- To promote continued improvement in the field of professional marriage and family therapy education by helping institutions develop top-tier programs.
- To develop and preserve standards so that students enrolled in accredited institutions receive adequate knowledge, skills, and ethics for professional competence.
- To serve as a guide for students selecting quality training in marriage and family therapy, and to produce a list of accredited programs for state boards and licensing agencies.
COAMFTE oversees marriage and family therapy training programs at the master’s, doctoral, and post-degree levels.
Why is Accreditation Important?
Accreditation is a useful indicator that students can use to compare different training programs and determine whether the program offers quality education that meets the current requirements for professional practice. Since COAMFTE was developed and continues to be maintained by its parent organization, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy programs accredited under it are regularly monitored and evaluated to ensure they meet established professional standards.
How Do Schools Get COAMFTE Accredited?
Programs accredited by COAMFTE endeavor excellence in the field of marriage and family therapy, which means they are held to the highest standards. COAMFTE-accredited educational programs should meet the following guidelines:
- A comprehensive focus on the relational/systemic philosophy and ethics within the field of marriage and family therapy (MFT)
- A curriculum, program structure, and process founded in the Professional Marriage and Family Therapy Principles (PMFTPs)
- A dedication to multiculturally-informed education, including consideration for how societal and systemic inequality affects diverse, marginalized, and/or underserved populations as well as appropriate responsiveness to these effects
- An inclusive and diverse learning environment
- An educational experience that conforms to the mission, goals, and outcomes of the specific level of educational attainment (i.e., master’s, doctoral, post-degree)
- Access to appropriate learning resources required to prepare students for MFT practice
- A commitment to clinical training, if applicable to program outcomes
COAMFTE accreditation is achieved after a self-study report from each program (evaluating its mission, goals, outcomes as well as graduate and faculty competencies), an on-site visit, and a thorough evaluation by COAMFTE. This process is ongoing, and programs must continually meet acceptable standards to maintain accreditation.
How does COAMFTE Benefit Students?
Students who enroll in programs accredited by COAMFTE are pursuing degrees that meet the standards of professional practice in MFT. Here are some other benefits of attending a COAMFTE-accredited program:
- Knowledge that the faculty in your program are likely active contributors to the existing knowledge and research regarding marriage and family therapy
- Confidence that your program will stand behind its stated objectives
- Preparation for state and/or national MFT examination
- Preparation for licensure as a marriage and family therapist
- The option to have your coursework, credits, and clinical hours transferred among other COAMFTE-accredited programs
- Earning a recognized qualifying degree that facilitates the attainment of licensure
- Earning a recognized qualifying degree that may facilitate attainment of licensure in other states
You can be sure that your COAMFTE program is regularly monitored and evaluated to keep with the current standards of professional practice, and you can assure that, as MFT standards change, your COAMFTE-accredited program will adapt appropriately.
Alliant International University is one of only a handful of California institutions to hold the distinction of being accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy.
In fact, Alliant’s PsyD in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Program was the first COAMFTE-accredited PsyD program in the country and is the only COAMFTE-accredited PsyD program in the state of California.
Whether you choose to pursue a graduate education in MFT with Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology or another university, choosing a COAMFTE-accredited program may help you best achieve your professional goals as a Marriage and Family Therapist.
Click here for more information on the benefits of COAMFTE Accreditation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Marriage and family therapists work to help couples, families, and individuals in processing and solving the problems that arise from the close inter-personal conflicts that are not uncommon to these extremely close relationships.The amount of time it takes can vary from person to person, but here at CSPP, it will take you a minimum of 2 years on top of your pre-existing bachelor's degree, in order to graduate with your Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy. There is then additional time needed for you to pass your licensure exams to become a fully recognized professional here in California.In order to become a practicing marriage and family therapist in California, you will need more than your degree in Marriage in Family Therapy—though you will need that too. In California, you will also need to be officially licensed by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). As the governing licensure body for California, the BBS administers the Law and Ethics Exam and the Clinical Exam, both of which need to be passed in order for you to obtain your license to practice as an MFT in the state.
If you wish to practice as an MFT in another state, you will need to follow the guidelines set out by said state. A comprehensive list of licensure boards for each state is compiled by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and is located here.