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MFT License Requirements in Florida

Florida’s marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling.

In order to be licensed, a person needs to earn a master’s degree and pass a national licensing exam. Supervised practice is another requirement. While working under supervision, the therapist is registered as an intern. Some of Florida’s mental health professionals opt for dual licensing; the requirements for dual licensure are slightly different.

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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Educational Requirements for MFT Intern

A candidate can be licensed with either a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a master’s in a field that’s closely related.

Florida sets the minimum credit hours at 36 – this is lower than in some other states. The candidate will need at least one course (three semester hours or four quarter hours) in each of the following:

  • Techniques and theory of marriage counseling
  • Techniques and theory of family counseling
  • Personality theory or general counseling
  • Marriage and family system dynamics
  • Psychosocial theory
  • Psychopathology
  • Diagnosis, appraisal, and assessment
  • Human sexuality theory
  • Substance abuse theory/ counseling
  • Behavioral research (with an emphasis on clinical application)
  • Professional, ethical, and legal standards of practice

The student must also have an internship or clinical practicum that includes at least 180 contact hours of direct service delivery in marriage and family therapy. An individual who has a master’s degree in a field that is closely related to MFT may be registered with the Board and begin work as an intern even if she lacks a small amount of the required coursework. However, she must have completed at least ten of the required courses. She must have a total of at least six semester hours of coursework in marriage and family systems, techniques, and theories before she seeks intern status.

Additional Educational Requirements for MFT Licensing

There are additional coursework requirements that may be obtained through continuing education. A licensee must have an eight hour class in laws and rules and a two hour course in preventing medical errors.

Courses in HIV/AIDS and domestic violence are also required, but an individual can be licensed without them; she will need to meet the requirement during her first six months as a licensee.

Florida Supervised Practice Requirements

The graduate will need to work under supervision for two years (100 weeks). To be eligible for licensure, she must accrue at least 1,500 hours of experience providing therapy to clients. Her supervisor should have five years of experience in marriage and family therapy; she does not necessarily have to work at the same facility as the supervisee. The intern will need at least one hour of supervision for every 15 hours of therapy – there should be at least one hour every two weeks. It is acceptable to alternate between individual and small group supervision, but there may not be more than six supervisees in the group.

Before beginning, the candidate will submit an intern application. She will need a letter from her proposed supervisor stating that she will be providing supervision. (If the intern needs to change supervisors, or add another one, she will need to submit an additional letter.)

The intern application carries a nonrefundable $150 fee.

Experience gained in a doctoral level internship may be applied toward the supervised practice requirement.

During her period of supervised practice, the candidate should gain experience with a wide variety of family groups, including unmarried couples and those who are going through separation or divorce.

The MFT intern must remain under supervision until such time as she is actually licensed.

MFT Examination in Florida

The candidate will take the AMFTRB national board exam. There are several testing windows each year. A candidate will need to submit her application materials well in advance of the date she plans to test. A list of upcoming application and registration deadlines can be found on the site of the Florida Board (http://floridasmentalhealthprofessions.gov/licensing/.

The cost of the exam is currently listed as $224 – this is payable to Professional Examination Services. The candidate will schedule an exam at a Prometric testing site; she should be prepared to remit an additional $75 to Prometric.

The Application Process for MFT's in Florida

Applicants are expected to know the applicable rules and regulations. In the application, they will certify that they have read them and that they understand their duty to remain cognizant of changes.

The application may be completed online by clicking here. The Board notes that online filing can expedite the process. Candidates may also opt to download and print forms. A two by two passport-style photograph should be included. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $100. An additional $105 will cover the initial licensing period.

Dually Licensed Mental Health Professionals

Psychologists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors, and psychiatric nurse practitioners are eligible to seek dual licensing as marriage and family therapists in Florida. A professional may fill out the dual licensing application/ seek permission to take the marriage and family licensing exam after she has held active licensing or certification for three years.

MFT's Relocating to Florida from Out of State

A marriage and family therapist who is currently licensed in good standing in another state may be licensed by endorsement if she practiced actively during at least three of the preceding five years. In this case, she will be exempted from documenting two years of postgraduate supervised practice. (Out-of-state MFTs who do not meet this requirement must document that they have met the supervised practice requirement – or meet it.) Although it is generally accepted that candidates take the AMFTRB exam for licensing purposes, Florida will accept state-specific exams that were administered in the past in Ohio, California, and Texas.

Some additional coursework is required prior to full licensure. Requirements include an eight hour class in laws and rules and a two hour course in the prevention of medical errors. A class in HIV/AIDS is also necessary, but can be done in the six months following licensure.

A provisional license is sometimes granted to a candidate who needs to meet additional requirements to be eligible for endorsement. The provisional license qualifies the holder to work only under supervision. It is issued for 24 months. The licensee must complete requirements during this time period – provisional licenses cannot be renewed.

An MFT who has held active licensing in another jurisdiction for at least ten years, but is retiring, may be eligible for a limited license at a reduced fee. The limited license allows her to practice only in public agencies or nonprofits that serve indigent or underserved populations.

Internationally Educated MFTs

Candidates who were educated in foreign countries will need to get a professional credential evaluation. This requirement does not apply to those who were educated in Canada.

Additional Information

Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling (http://floridasmentalhealthprofessions.gov/).

The Florida Division of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy is an additional professional resource for the state’s MFTs (http://www.famft.org/ohana/website/index.cfm?p=95575656252).

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Florida

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