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MFT Requirements in Louisiana

Louisiana’s marriage and family therapists are regulated by the Marriage and Family Therapy Advisory Committee, under the banner of the Louisiana LPC Board of Examiners.

Practitioners are credentialed at two levels: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or LMFT, and MFT Intern, or MFT-I. Full licensure as an LMFT requires a graduate degree, a period of supervised practice, and successful performance on a national board examination. Intern status can be granted as soon as education is complete (and paperwork approved). However, this level of practice comes with limitations.

Some professionals opt for dual licensure in marriage and family therapy and another mental health discipline. Supervised practice may count toward the requirements for two different professions provided all criteria are met.

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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MFT-I Requirements: Education

There are several ways to meet the educational requirements. A person can qualify with a master’s, doctoral degree, or post-graduate certificate. MFT degrees are to come from regionally accredited universities. Programmatic accreditation is less crucial, but can simplify the process. MFT programs that hold accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) are presumed to meet all standards.

A marriage and family counseling program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is acceptable if it meets requirements set by the board. There must be at least six courses in MFT as well as an appropriately supervised practicum that includes at least 500 hours of direct work with clients. Fully 250 of these hours must be with couples or families. The program must cover the AAMFT code of ethics.

Other programs may be acceptable if they have 60 semester hours of coursework and cover substantially equivalent content. The following must be included:

  • Theoretical knowledge of MFT (2 courses)
  • Clinical knowledge of MFT (4 courses)
  • Assessment and treatment (2 courses)
  • Development of individuals, couples and families across the lifespan (1 course)
  • Professional ethics (1 course)
  • Research (1 course)

An additional course should develop a student’s own interest in some type of specialized content that has relevance to his practice as an MFT.

There should be a 500 hour practicum that meets standards set by the board. In some cases, the practicum may be done separately from the qualifying degree program.

Graduates may be granted intern status if their practicum fell somewhat below board mandates. In this case, the hours will be added to the post-graduate practice requirements. Details can be found in Section 3311.

There is an additional provision for programs that had their curriculum approved prior to July 10, 2010.


Applying for MFT-I Status

The MFT-I applications and forms can be found here: http://lpcboard.org/MFT-I

The candidate must have official transcripts sent upon first application.

There is a three part application to fill out before an intern can be registered. Some candidates opt to submit the first section before they have employment lined up. However, the three sections may be submitted together. At the end of the application, the candidate will need to attest that they have read applicable rules; these can be found on the board site. The candidate should be prepared to remit a $100 fee with section one.

There are some conditions where a candidate may legally work before being registered; this is the case when the MFT is continuing in a position begun as a student (and applies for registration promptly). However, the MFT-I candidate won’t be allowed to count any hours until his or her supervision is approved. It’s important for any candidate to make sure they are practicing within the legal authority.

Intern candidates should be aware of application deadlines. They may opt to apply at another point during the cycle, but will need to remit the $50 expedited processing fee.


LMFT Requirements: Supervised Practice

The intern will need to work under supervision for at least two years and accrue at least 3,000 hours of clinical service. At least 2,000 must be spent providing direct services. Time spent in activities like writing case notes and consulting with other professionals will count toward the clinical requirement but not the direct service requirement. A candidate may be allowed to carry over up to 500 of the required 2,000 from his graduate school days, though, provided the board determines it was systemically oriented.

During the post-graduate period, the intern must have at least 100 hours of supervision. (The board requires 200 total hours of supervision, but up to 100 hours of the requirement may be met through work done while in graduate school.)

Clinical supervision is different than administrative supervision. The clinical supervision must be provided by an approved supervisor or supervisor candidate. The intern must seek board approval before beginning.

During the post-graduate experience period, the intern will need to meet face-to-face with their supervisor at a ratio of one hour for every ten hours of client contact. Supervision sessions may take several forms. The intern may meet with the supervisor individually or in a small group setting. It also counts if the supervisor is watching the supervisee live or joining with him to conduct a therapy session. At least half of supervision must be individual (with no more than one other supervisee in attendance).

If the intern adds a worksite or changes supervisors along the way, he must fill out additional paperwork and pay another $100 fee.

The requirement for supervision does not end automatically when the 3,000 hours are reached. The candidate must first be approved for licensure.

The intern will provide clients with a statement of practice.

In 2012, a time limit was imposed on intern status – it is good for seven years. However, a candidate who does not meet experience requirements in the allotted time can reapply.


LMFT Requirements: Examination

A national board exam is also required before licensure. The exam is available during several 28-day windows each year; advance registration is required (http://www.amftrb.org/examdate.cfm). The candidate can attempt the exam at any point during his time as an intern. The candidate will need the permission of the board.

Once approved, the candidate will register with Professional Evaluation Service and pay applicable fees.

The candidate will be able to register at his choice of Prometric sites.

Re-examination is allowed, but the candidate must wait six months between attempts.


Applying for LMFT

LMFT license application carries a nonrefundable fee of $200. The application must be notarized. A passport-type photograph will be required. The LMFT application and forms can be found here: http://lpcboard.org/LMFT_Instruction_Forms.htm

Generally speaking, applicants should follow the application schedule found on the Board site. However, if they need to go through the process in an expedited manner, they may submit an extra $50 fee. Candidates requesting expedited processing may submit their application at any point. (It should be noted that this applies to standard application; if there are circumstances that require board review, the process will take longer.)


Out-of-State and International Marriage and Family Therapists

An MFT who has met similar requirements in another U.S. jurisdiction may be licensed by endorsement.

Internationally educated candidates may be eligible for license by examination if their education is deemed substantially equivalent.


Additional Information and Contacts

Louisiana LPC Board of Examiners (http://www.lpcboard.org)

The Board can be reached by phone at 225-765-2515. Additional contact information is found in the application packet. However, the board notes that they are not able to advise graduates on whether the particular courses they have taken meet the requirements for licensure.

The Louisiana Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the state affiliate of the AAMFT, does not handle licensing, but does provide quite a bit of information on their website (http://www.lamft.org/). Students will find a list of marriage and family therapy/ counseling programs as well as a list of potential supervisors.

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Louisiana

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