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Marriage and Family Therapist Requirements in Michigan

Michigan’s marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy (http://www.michigan.gov/lara/). The Board boasts 790 licensees as of March 2013.

There are two levels of credentialing. Limited licensure requires a master's or doctoral degree. This is intended as a temporary status.

Once an individual completes all requirements, including supervised practice, the candidate will be eligible for full licensure as an LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist).

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Educational Requirement for Limited Licensure

The MFT must complete a graduate program in marriage and family therapy. A program that is accredited by COAMFTE will be accepted as meeting all coursework requirements. If the program is not COAMFTE-accredited, the candidate will need to submit syllabi or course descriptions that demonstrate that she has met core requirements.

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. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their program.

The candidate must have three courses (totaling six semester hours) in each of the following areas:

  • Family studies
  • Human development/ personality therapy/ psychopathology
  • Family therapy methodology

At least two semester hours are required in each of the following areas:

  • Ethics/ law/ professional standards
  • Research

A master’s level candidate must meet an eight-month practicum requirement, either as part of the graduate program or in an acceptable post-graduate program. If the master's program was not COAMFTE-accredited, the candidate will need to have a supervisor attest that he had 300 hours of client contact as part of the practicum. 60 hours of supervision is required. The supervisor may be an LMFT, social worker, professional counselor, psychologist, or doctor. Any professional who has status as supervisor or supervisor-in-training through the AAMFT qualifies.

The student may use ‘trainee’ or ‘intern’ in their title when working with patients in a healthcare setting. The student does not need a state-issued credential until they are ready to begin their post-graduate practice.

Criminal Background Check

The candidate must have a criminal background check performed before the candidate can be issued a limited license. The candidate may select any of the approved vendors (http://www.michigan.gov/msp/). The candidate must fill out the form found in the application packet and take it to the appointment.

A candidate who has a criminal background is not necessarily precluded from licensure. The Board will consider age and other mitigating factors.

The application packet includes questions about professional and legal background as well as substance abuse issues. Any ‘yes’ answer will require documentation.


Supervised Experience Requirement for Full Licensure as an LMFT

The post-graduate supervised practice requirement is to be completed in a healthcare facility or other setting acceptable to the Board. The limited license holder must accrue at least 1,000 direct client contact hours before they can be eligible for full licensure. At least half of the required minimum must be spent providing services to couples or families.

The therapist should have 200 hours of direct supervision during this period. Up to half of the supervision hours may be done in a group setting with three to six supervisees; a full 100 hours must be done one to one or one to two.

While working under a limited license, the MFT may use the title Limited Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist or Limited Licensed Marriage Counselor. The MFT may hold this status for a maximum of six years.

A candidate who has a doctoral degree in MFT from an approved program may have experience requirements waived, however, it is recommended to verify this with the Michigan Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.


MFT Examination

Before the candidate can attain full licensure as an LMFT, the candidate must pass the AMFTRB Examination in Marital & Family Therapy. The candidate must seek board permission before registering; the candidate receives permission by submitting an application and all required materials.

The exam is administered in four-week widows spaced throughout the year. Upcoming testing windows and registration deadlines can be found on the AMFRTB site (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm). A candidate should submit required materials to the Board well in advance of the registration deadline. The candidate will pay $220 to Professional Examination Service for the exam. The candidate will pay an additional $75 to Prometric to take the test at one of their sites.


The Application Process

Applications and forms are found on the main page of the board site (http://www.michigan.gov/lara/). An $85 fee must accompany the license application.

Some materials will need to be completed by third parties. An official graduate transcript is to be sent directly from the school. The Board asks that all required materials arrive within three weeks of the application.

The review process typically takes six to eight weeks. Candidates can monitor application status at the following address: www.michigan.gov/appstatus. The candidate can expect notification if there are required materials missing from the file.

Applicants may call the Board at (517) 335-0918. However, the Board asks that they wait at least three weeks before requesting information by phone.

The Board keeps application materials on file for two years.


Out-of-State Marriage and Family Therapists

The Michigan Board requires license verification from any state where a candidate has held permanent licensing. MFTs are not eligible for licensing if they have a current disciplinary sanction encumbering a credential. Once it is resolved, they can apply.

An LMFT who has a current license and has been credentialed for five or more years is a candidate for license by endorsement. An out-of-state therapist who does not meet this requirement can still apply. However, the LMFT will need to show that they meet Michigan's licensing requirements. The LMFT will need to verify their experience. The LMFT will also need to verify the practicum (unless it was part of a COAMFTE-accredited program).

Candidates who have passed the AMFTRB Examination in Marital & Family Therapy can have scores sent by the Interstate Reporting Service.

Out-of-state candidates have two options for fingerprinting. One is to have the fingerprints made at a local LiveScan facility and have them printed. The other option is to have them done on an FBI or other governmental card. The fingerprints will eventually be processed by Identogo. They should be sent to the address found in the application packet. There will be a $62.75 fee for processing.


Additional Information & Contacts

Requirements can be found in section 333.16909 of the Michigan code (http://www.legislature.mi.gov/).

The Michigan Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT) is an additional professional resource (http://www.michiganfamilytherapy.org/ohana/website/index.cfm?). A candidate can find a list of in-state programs that offer MFT degrees on the MAMFT site (http://www.michiganfamilytherapy.org/ohana/).

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