Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) LicensureMarriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are regulated by the same licensing boards which regulate licensed professional counselors (LPCs), and as such are subject to many of the same requirements.
MFTs must hold a master's or doctorate degree in a behavioral health science, such as counseling or psychology, from a regionally accredited school. To ensure that your degree will fulfill the licensure requirements, your program should be accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (or be substantially similar to such a program), and should include courses in Marriage and Family Studies, Human Development, Professional Studies, Marriage and Family Therapy, Research, and Practicum.
MFTs, in addition to completing their degree, must also complete an internship or residency. These programs should provide a minimum of 300 supervised patient hours. MFTs must also pass a state competency exam, which itself must be offered by the Professional Examination Service and approved by the marriage and family therapy credentialing committee.
After earning their degree, MFTs must complete 3200 hours of hands-on, supervised work experience. This work experience must be completed within two years of graduation, and should include supervised training in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of patients. At least half of the required hours must be completed in direct contact with patients.
MFTs must also complete 200 hours of clinical supervision within this same two years. The applicant must perform satisfactorily under the supervision of a marriage and family therapist who is already licensed.
If a potential MFT holds a master or doctorate degree in a behavioral science, but hasn't completed the specific courses required for licensure, he or she may take post-graduate courses from an accredited institution to fulfill the requirements.
These requirements vary from state to state. Before you choose a program, contact your local professional counselor board and check the specific requirements for your state.
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