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MFT License Requirements in Colorado

Colorado's marriage and family therapists are licensed by the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners, a part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies. Full licensure as an LMFT requires graduate education, examination, and supervised practice. While working under supervision, the candidate will have a temporary permit.

Capella University, offers one of only two online Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) - accredited master's programs in Marriage and Family Therapy. This program prepares you for MFT state license eligibility. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their program.

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LMFT Education Requirements in Colorado

MFT education will take place at the master’s or doctoral level. The program must either be approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education or judged equivalent. The program must be housed in a regionally accredited educational institution. It should be a sequenced course of study with an identifiable body of students; there must be examinations and grades. If the degree was conferred in 1979 or after, it must include at least 45 semester hours of coursework.

The course of study will need to include 9 semester hours in each of the following areas: human development, marital and family studies, and marital and family therapy. It must include 3 semester hours each of research and professional studies. Military training can be counted toward licensing requirements if it is found to be substantially equivalent.

LMFT Exam in Colorado

Colorado utilizes a licensing exam developed by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards. A candidate handbook, and upcoming testing dates, can be found on the AMFRTB site (http://www.amftrb.org). The exam is administered via computer. There are four testing windows each in 2013 and 2014.

A candidate may seek permission to take the licensing exam as early as her final term. The candidate must also pass an online jurisprudence exam: the Colorado Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination. There is an $18 fee assessed; it grants a 60 day testing window. This test is untimed. A candidate who fails the exam is allowed to retest, but must pay the fee again. There is a 10 day wait period between examination attempts.

MFT Postgraduate Experience and Supervision Requirements

A candidate must work under supervision before a license can be granted. The supervisor verifies that the supervisee is providing the mandatory disclosure form to clients; she also helps him understand and adhere to all professional and ethical responsibilities and ensures that the services he provides meet standards.

Before beginning supervised practice in Colorado, the therapist must register as a candidate and be accepted. This status is good for four years.

The length of time a candidate must spend accruing post-degree experience will depend on the degree she has attained. A candidate with a master’s will need to do at least 24 months of supervised post-degree work experience. During this time, she must accrue 2,000 practice hours. 1,500 must consist of face-to-face contact with clients. The candidate may count some individual therapy sessions toward this total. However, she will need at least 1,000 hours providing direct services to couples and families.

A candidate who earns a doctoral degree can achieve full licensure after as little as 12 months of supervised work. Her post-doctoral experience will still need to include 1,500 hours of client contact, 1,000 of them with families and couples.

Candidates need 50 hours of supervision per 1,000 hours of practice (100 total hours for master’s graduates, 100 for those with doctoral degrees). Some supervisory meetings can take place in a group setting. However, at least 25 of the 50 must be individual. The board notes that supervision hours are to take place throughout the experience period, in a manner that is consistent with the accrual of experience hours.

The candidate is allowed to count up to 300 hours of teaching toward her practice requirement. This holds true whether she has a master’s or doctoral degree. If the candidate has a master’s, she can credit up to 30 supervision hours for supervisory meeting pertaining to the teaching of marriage and family therapy. If she holds a doctoral degree, she can credit only 15.

The candidate has five years from the time of first application to complete all requirements for licensure. Failure to do so will mean that a candidate has to initiate the application process anew. If there have been changes in requirements during the interim period, she will be subject to the new requirements.

The LMFT Application Process in Colorado

There is paperwork to be filled out at more than one stage of the process. The first application is for registration as an MFT candidate. Transcripts are part of the candidacy application process. If the program is not approved, the candidate will need to submit a course description/ syllabus for all required courses. If her supervisor is not a Colorado LMFT, she will need to submit additional paperwork. There is a $55 fee for the temporary permit (candidate status). All forms are available on the DORA site (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-Reg/CBON/DORA/1251632536976). After supervision has concluded, the supervisor will provide a statement verifying the experience.

License by Endorsement

An MFT can be licensed by endorsement if she has substantially equivalent qualifications. She will need license verification from each agency where she has held licensing. She must hold a master's or doctoral degree. She will need to verify one of the following: post-degree supervised practice or two years of active practice. If an applicant is seeking licensure on the basis of active practice, she should have averaged at least 20 hours a week and should not have had a break in practice for more than 6 months. If she is seeking licensure on the basis of supervised practice, two years of post-master or one year of post-doctoral work will suffice.

An endorsement candidate will still need to pass the Colorado online jurisprudence exam. International MFTs must have their credentials evaluated.

Provisional Licensing

Provisional licenses may be granted to graduates who provide therapy in residential child care facilities. MFTs in these settings should be aware that the supervision that is required to practice legally is not necessarily adequate in meeting the supervision requirements needed for standard licensure.

Additional Information

Colorado's marriage and family therapists are licensed by the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners, a part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

The Colorado Association for Marriage and Family Therapy is an additional professional resource CAMFT is not involved with the licensing process, but does provide a downloadable guide to the licensing process.

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Colorado

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