Family and Child Therapy Degree Programs in Michigan

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

In Michigan, family and child therapy degree programs are available at the master's and doctoral levels. However, keep in mind that program titles may vary while still being relevant to the field. Relevant program titles may include human development and family studies, clinical psychology and counselor education. Students typically participate in clinical experiences and practicums; those pursuing a doctorate also focus on completing a research and developing a dissertation.

Applicants to a master's degree program should have a bachelor's degree, and applicants to a doctoral program should have a master's degree. Applicants who do not possess a relevant educational background will need to complete additional courses to be considered.

Michigan State University

MSU in East Lansing is home to a human development and family studies PhD program that has a couple and family therapy specialization. Applicants with master's degrees in the field may be admitted directly into the COAMFTE-accredited program, while applicants with master's degrees in other fields may need to complete specific coursework first.

Upon acceptance into the PhD program, students complete 42 department-required credits, which include statistics and research classes and a dissertation. The couple and family therapy specialization requires students to take classes covering current theories in couple and family therapy, family and community diversity, successful therapy models and sex therapy. Students can also choose 6 credits of electives. To obtain supervised clinical training, students work in the campus' Couple and Family Therapy Clinic. Additionally, students participate in a 9-month internship.

University of Detroit Mercy

This Detroit-based university offers a clinical psychology master's program with a child clinical psychology focus and a clinical psychology PhD program. Admission into the master's program requires a bachelor's degree, GRE scores and prerequisite coursework if the bachelor's degree isn't in psychology. The master's program is designed to accommodate working professionals' schedules and can be completed in 2 years of full-time study or 3 years of part-time study. Some of the classes that students may take include child development, family therapy, evaluation methods of children, statistics and adolescent psychiatric disorders. Students can also expect to complete a comprehensive exam and clinical training. Graduates should meet the eligibility requirements for receiving a limited psychology license in Michigan.

Bachelor's- or master's-holding students can apply to the PhD program if they've completed 2 relevant lab classes and prerequisite coursework in statistics, personality theory, abnormal psychology and developmental psychology. Accepted students can expect to complete close to 100 credits through coursework, clinical training, comprehensive exams, an internship and a dissertation. Students may learn about assessment methods, psychiatric disorders, adolescent assessment, therapy concepts and developmental psychology. Students may be able to customize their curricula through 15 credits of electives and research work. It takes roughly 5 years to complete the program, and students must be finished within 7 years.

While completing the graduate programs, students may be able to receive supervised training in the University of Detroit Mercy Psychology Clinic. The clinic offers services to the community that include couples and marriage therapy and various psychological evaluations. Graduates may work with clients who are 3 years of age or older.

Western Michigan University

The Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids campuses of WMU offer a counselor education master's program in marriage, couple and family counseling. Students may learn about current issues that modern families and couples may face and methods for overcoming these issues. A 600-hour fieldwork experience is required to complete the program. Graduates may be prepared for professional counseling careers, or they may be able to prepare for a career as a licensed marriage and family therapist if they work with an advisor while completing the program.

Career Requirements

Depending on the scope of practice, individuals must obtain licensure from either the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs' Board of Psychology or Board of Marriage and Family Therapy. Licensure from the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy requires individuals seeking full licensure to complete a graduate degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Applicants must then pass a national exam administered by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board (AMFTRB).

Graduates of a non-COAMFTE-accredited graduate degree program must submit descriptions of the courses they completed. Additionally, graduates of non-COAMFTE-accredited degree programs must show proof of completing a sufficient amount of direct client contact hours. After the education requirements are approved, they must pass the AMFTRB exam.

To practice as a fully licensed psychologist in the state, individuals must complete a doctoral degree program in psychology that included a supervised 2,000-hour internship and obtain an additional 2,000 hours of supervised practical experience after graduating. The final step to obtaining licensure is taking the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) given by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).

Alternatively, limited licensure is available to those with master's degrees in psychology who completed a 500-hour practicum in the program. Additional requirements for limited licensure include completing a 2,000-hour supervised clinical experience after graduation and passing the EPPP.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Child and Family Therapy Degree Programs Offered Graduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)*
Michigan State University University; public; small city Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development and Family Studies - Couple and Family Therapy $18,132 in-state, $35,628 out-of-state
University of Detroit Mercy University; private; nonprofit; large city Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology,
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology
Western Michigan University - Kalamazoo University; public; small city Master of Arts in Counselor Education - Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling $16,561 in-state, $30,492 out-of-state

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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