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MFT License Requirements in Idaho

Idaho’s marriage and family therapists are credentialed by the Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists.

Idaho regulates MFTs at three different levels. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) is the professional level. Licensure as an LMFT requires a graduate degree, passing scores on a national board examination, and two years of supervised work experience. There are two different credentials that an MFT graduate may legally work under while pursuing supervised practice hours: Registered Intern or Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (LAMFT). The Idaho Board notes that an individual’s supervisor may offer advice on which of the two to pursue. The Idaho Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a state professional organization, provides a chart comparing the two (http://www.idamft.org/index.php?page=licensure).

MFTs should be aware that regulations change periodically. It is recommended that they visit the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses (IBOL) website periodically to see whether any changes have been proposed.

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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Registered Intern Requirements

A registered intern is someone who has completed a qualifying degree – if not in marriage and family therapy, in a closely related field. She does not necessarily have to have completed all the required courses that she will need for licensure. It is also not a requirement (yet) that she pass the national licensing exam.

A person can be registered as an intern for a maximum of four years. She must submit an additional form if she needs to change supervisors along the way.

Idaho LAMFT/ LMFT Education Standards

Educational standards are high, both at the associate and LMFT levels. Candidates must have fully 60 graduate semester hours (or 90 quarter hours). There are multiple options: a COAMFTE-accredited marriage and family therapy degree, a CACREP-accredited marriage and family counseling degree, or another equivalent program. At the least, the master’s program must be housed in a school that holds regional accreditation.

The course of study is to include nine semester hours each of marriage and family studies, marriage and family therapy, and human development. Human development covers, in addition to individual development, the following concepts: family life cycles, human sexuality, and relational aspects of violence and substance abuse.

The course of study must include three semester hours each of research and of professional identity/ ethics. There must be six semester hours of studies related to psychological and mental health competency – this is higher than what is required in many states.

Additionally, there must be six semester hours of combined practicum and internship. The supervised experience is to include at least 300 hours of client work (at least 150 of them with couples or families).

A description of coursework requirements can be found in Statute 54-3405B. It is acceptable to take additional graduate coursework beyond the master’s in order to meet licensing requirements. The Idaho Association for Marriage and Family Therapy notes that many MFT programs fall short of Idaho requirements, offering only one course in assessment and diagnosis and only 54 credit hours total. Traditional courses and distance courses are both acceptable, so long as the school holds appropriate accreditation.

LAMFT/ LMFT Exam Requirements: Idaho

Licensure at the LAMFT or LMFT level also requires passing scores on the National Marital and Family Therapy Examination. The exam is computerized and is administered during several testing windows each year. There is a candidate handbook and a list of testing windows on the AMFTRB site (http://www.amftrb.org/examdate.cfm).

The candidate will submit to the Idaho Board a notification of her intent to take the exam. The paperwork must be received at least two weeks before the Professional Education Service (PES) registration period closes. This is so the candidate can be made eligible. Application deadlines can be found in the form that the candidate submits to the Idaho Board; the AMFTRB site includes a list of PES registration deadlines that may extend into the more distant future.

The candidate will pay $220 to PES upon registration. Later she will schedule an exam at a Prometric site and remit an additional $75 to Prometric.

Idaho LMFT Requirements: Supervised Practice

A candidate must put in a full two years of supervised practice before the higher license can be issued. She will complete at least 3,000 total work hours. At least 2,000 hours of direct client care will be required; a minimum of 1,000 of these hours must be with couples and families.

The candidate will need 200 hours of supervision. Up to half of the supervision hours may be attained in a small group setting with three to six supervisees in attendance. An Idaho associate or intern may count supervision as individual in cases where there was one other supervisee in attendance. When verifying the experience, though, the supervisor will differentiate between these two types of ‘individual’ supervision.

Currently, supervision may be provided by qualified mental health professionals with any of several professional designations. Beginning in July of 2014, supervisees, whether associate or intern, will be held to the following requirements: At least 100 hours of the required supervision must come from a registered MFT supervisor. The other 100 hours may be supervised by a social worker or counselor who holds similar supervisor status or by a psychologist or psychiatrist who meets training and experience requirements.

An affidavit of supervised experience is included in the application packet. The supervisor will have the opportunity to evaluate the candidate’s performance.

The Application Process

Applications are available on the IBOL site. Click here to download the application. Candidates use the same application packet whether they are applying at the LAMT or LMFT level; they will include the appropriate addendums and submit their paperwork to IBOL with the required fee. (Currently this is $75 for application and $75 for licensure.)

Applications are to be notarized. They must be submitted well in advance of Board meetings; deadlines are listed on the licensing section of the site. There are five cycles spanning the time between May 13, 2013 and May 12, 2014. The Board will accept mailed or hand delivered applications, but faxing isn’t an option.

There is a separate, somewhat shorter, form for intern registration. The registration form includes professional fitness questions. The applicant must provide an official transcript and an affidavit from the person who will be providing the supervision. An intern applicant must submit a fee of $25.

An applicant may email the board specialist if she is not able to answer her question with material that is available on the website.

LMFT Endorsement in Idaho

In some cases, out-of-state LMFTs may be endorsed into Idaho. Idaho requires a current license, a good disciplinary record, and (in most cases) documentation of active practice during five of the preceding seven years. In cases where there were extenuating circumstances, the LMFT may not be required to document the full five years’ experience. The endorsement route is not open to those who have been licensed less than five years. These candidates will need to apply by the traditional route.

Additional Information

Idaho’s marriage and family therapists are credentialed by the Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists.

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