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Marriage and Family Therapist Requirements in Minnesota

Minnesota’s marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy. There are many professionals with MFT credentialing within the state: 1,478 LMFTs and 346 LAMFTs, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

In order to be licensed as an LMFT (or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist), a person needs to earn a graduate degree, work under supervision for two years, and pass national and state examinations. LAMFT (or Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist) is the license one works under while accruing their experience hours.

An LAMFT has passed the national exam, but is not eligible to take the state oral exam until they complete the supervised experience 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. 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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LAMFT/ LMFT Requirement: Education

A marriage and family therapist will need a degree from an appropriately accredited institution. The program does not necessarily have to hold programmatic accreditation through COAMFTE, but if it does not, the LMFT candidate will need to document that they have had an equivalent course of study.

  • The candidate will need nine semester hours, or twelve quarter hours, of human development courses. Human behavior, psychopathology, personality development, and human sexuality all fall under this category.
  • He must also have nine semester hours of marital and family studies. This includes things like family functioning, family subsystems, and contemporary types of family.
  • Marital and family therapy is another nine semester hour requirement. This includes major theories, intervention methods, and MFT treatment planning.
  • There must be three semester hours of professional studies. Professional socialization, interprofessional cooperation, ethics, and family law should be among the topics.
  • The research requirement is also three semester hours. This should include research methods, statistics, and research of special issues.
  • The clinical practicum should include 300 hours of client contact. These do not all need to be spent supporting couples and families. However, no more than half of the required hours should be spent carrying out individual therapy.

A candidate who has coursework deficiencies will be able to make them up post-master.


National Board MFT Examination

The candidate will make their first application to the board when they have finished the educational requirements. The same application will serve two purposes: authorize them to take the national exam and demonstrate that they have met the other requirements for licensure as an LAMFT. Included in the examination application packet is a practicum affidavit.

A candidate should turn in their application two to three months before the testing window. This will give the Minnesota Board time to affirm the candidate’s eligibility – and allow them to register by the deadline established by the testing company.

The candidate will fill out the appropriate form and remit a $220 application fee to the Minnesota Board. The fee for testing is also $220. It must be paid to a separate organization, Professional Examination Service, or PES.

Before the candidate can actually take the test, the candidate will need to remit an additional $75 to Thomson-Prometric, the company that manages the computerized testing sites where the exam is administered. Once authorized, the candidate is allowed to test at his or her choice of testing sites. The exam is given during several four-week testing windows each year. Testing resources, including practice questions and upcoming deadlines, are found on the site of the Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm).


LMFT Requirement: Supervised Practice

The candidate will need 4,000 total hours of post-master work experience. At the minimum, 1,000 must be spent providing direct face to face therapy to clients; of these, 500 must be spent with couples and family groups.

The associate should have experience assessing and treating mental disorders during the supervised practice period. Psychoeducation counts toward the 1,000 hour direct client contact requirement only when it is in the context of a therapeutic relationship. Many activities can be counted toward the general experience requirement, from handling paperwork to attending staff meetings and doing continuing education.

The associate must have an approved clinical supervisor to oversee the direct client hours and provide consultation on the provision of care. This individual is to be an experienced LMFT who has had academic coursework or continuing education in supervision. A list of potential supervisors can be found on the board site (http://mn.gov/health-licensing-boards/marriage-and-family/applicants/boardapprovedsupervisorlist.jsp).

The supervisor will use data like case notes and recorded sessions to provide guidance. The associate will need at least 200 total supervision hours. Up to half may be in a group setting with three to six supervisees present. The remaining hours may be one-on-one with the supervisor or one-on-two; both are, for the purpose of licensure, considered individual supervision.

At the end of the supervisory period, the supervisor will summarize the candidate’s experience and have the form notarized.


Oral Exam

A final step in the licensing process is the state oral exam. This assesses a candidate’s knowledge and awareness of laws, ethics, and professional responsibilities. When the candidate is finished with the supervision requirements, the candidate will complete the appropriate application packet. Click here for the Oral Exam application.

The packet includes two professional references. The Minnesota Board refers to these as endorsements, but they should not be confused with ‘endorsement’ as the term is used by many state agencies. The endorser will provide their license number and tell whether they are aware of any ethics violations and whether they believe the candidate is qualified to practice independently. The supervisor’s verification form is also due at this time.

The application must be notarized and accompanied by a nonrefundable $110 fee. Once the application is approved, the candidate will be scheduled to appear before the board. The Board notes that if the candidate passes the exam, he or she will leave with their license. The licensing fee will be prorated, depending on the month/ stage of the renewal cycle.

Links to many of the relevant statutes are included in a PDF document about the exam which is accessible on the Board site (http://mn.gov/health-licensing-boards/marriage-and-family/forms/). However, the Board notes that these do not cover everything the candidate will be expected to know.


License by Reciprocity

An out of state marriage and family therapist can be licensed by reciprocity if the state where he or she is credentialed has standards that are equivalent or higher. The out of state MFT will need to provide license verification that shows that their license is in good standing. They will not need to retake the national exam if they have already done so. The out of state MFT will still need to take the state exam.


Application Forms and Materials

Click Here for all MFT application forms and materials.


Additional Information and Organization Contacts

Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy: http://www.bmft.state.mn.us

An additional professional resource is the Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (http://www.minnesotafamilies.org). There are groups for students and fellows. A candidate may want to ask MAMFT about prep courses for the oral exam – MAMFT notes that there are some available within the state.

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Minnesota

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