When considering a college to pursue a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy it is important to find a school that is fully accrediting. While have a regional accreditation is important, having a program specific accreditation is ideal. The leading accrediting body for these graduate programs is the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) offered by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The COAMFTE is a highly specialized accrediting body that accredits master’s and doctoral degree programs, as well as post-graduate degree clinical training programs in marriage and family therapy. The overall mission of the COAMFTE is to “promote best practices for Marriage and Family Therapy educational programs through the establishment, review and revision of accreditation standards and policies, and the accreditation of graduate and post-graduate educational programs”.
What is the Organizational Structure of the COAMFTE?
The COAMFTE is made up of nine commissioners, which are seven professional members and two public members. In order to be considered to become a Professional Commission member, the individual must be senior marriage and family therapy educators or clinicians. The public members represent the interests of the general public and need not be a professional marriage and family therapy educator, supervisor or practitioner.
What is the Purpose of This Accreditation?
By granting this specialized accreditation for marriage and family therapy programs, the association aims to:
- Encourage programs to continue their own self-study and development
- Indicate that programs are meeting established standards and their own stated objectives
Receiving this accreditation is considered by the association to be both a process and a condition. The process, meaning the act of accrediting, involves evaluating a program’s processes through compliance with carefully outlines professional standards developed by a national consensus of professionals in the field. The condition, meaning the state of being accredited, bears witness that this program has entered into the agreement that they will uphold a commitment to educational quality.
Who Oversees the COAMFTE?
The COAMFTE works in conjunction with the parent organization, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), the state licensing and certification boards, and the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB). The COAMFTE accreditation standards commonly serve as the framework for the development of individual credentialing requirements. The process is a completely voluntary process that requires each organization conduct a self-study, an on-site review by a selected group of peers, and a review and decision by the COAMFTE to determine compliance with accreditation standards. Once a program has become accredited, it is required to submit annual reports demonstrating continued compliance with standards. Accredited programs are reviewed minimally every six years.
By earning a graduate degree from a COAMFTE accredited program you know that you are receiving a top-notch education. Those degrees earned from fully accredited programs are generally more highly regarded when it comes time to find employment.