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Marriage and Family Therapist License Requirements in Mississippi

Mississippi’s marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) is the permanent professional level license. A candidate must graduate from an accredited program, pass a licensing exam, provide evidence of good character, and then work under supervision for two years. The candidate will be credentialed as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Associate (LMFTA) while meeting the supervised practice requirement.

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 Education Requirement in Mississippi

Although the time frame and basic requirements are similar to those of many other states, Mississippi is more stringent in some areas – beginning with program accreditation.

In order to become a marriage and family therapist in Mississippi, a person must complete a master’s or doctoral program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). There can be a small risk in enrolling in a program that is new and holds pre-accreditation candidate status. The degree will be license-qualifying provided that the program goes on to achieve accreditation.

The program must include a full 12 months of practicum, or supervised work experience. During this time, the student will need to earn 500 client contact hours. At least 200 of the hours must involve relational therapy (families or couples).

MFT Examination

A candidate will need to pass the National Examination in Marital and Family Therapy before they can be licensed as an LMFTA. The exam is offered in just four four-week windows over the course of the year. The candidate can, however, test before graduation.

Board permission will be required at any stage. The candidate will send the request form along with a $25 fee. The candidate will need to have their educational institution send an official transcript. Examination information can be found on the site of the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm).

The candidate should be prepared to pay $220 to Professional Examination Service. The candidate will be allowed to schedule at any Prometric Center; the candidate will need to remit an additional $75 to Prometric.

An unsuccessful candidate may retake the exam. The candidate is subject only to those regulations set by the testing company.

After passing, the candidate will submit an application for LMFTA licensure.

LMFT Requirement: Supervised Practice

An LMFTA will need to work under supervision for at least two years post-degree. The LMFTA will need to accrue a minimum of 1,000 clinical contact hours. In most cases, the LMFTA must complete the supervised experience within three years; the board will sometimes approve an extension, though, when there are extenuating circumstances.

Post-graduate practice is typically done in the context of employment. If the graduate goes on to doctoral level study and does a clinical internship, the LMFTA may count this toward the post-graduate practice requirement as well.

During this time, the LMFTA will have a clinical supervisor. Clinical supervision involves something more than administrative supervision; the supervisor will foster the associate’s professional growth and ultimately judge whether the LMFTA has the skills to function at the independent level. The clinical supervisor is to be someone who has been approved by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, is working toward supervisor status under the AAMFT, or has been expressly approved by the Mississippi Board. Mississippi approves only marriage and family therapists who have four years’ experience at the independent level and who have done training in supervision. It may be necessary for the prospective MFT to contract with a professional outside their own workplace.

The LMFTA should meet with their supervisor every week for an hour or every other week for two hours. Although 200 hours total supervision hours are required, the Board may give credit for up to 100 that were completed as part of the graduate degree program. At least 50 hours must be individual supervision. (For licensing purposes, two-on-one sessions count as individual supervision – and a 50-minute session counts as an hour.)

At the onset, the supervisee and supervisor will need to write a detailed supervision plan. Up to four hours credit may be granted for time spent creating the plan; no more than four total hours may be credited until the supervision plan is actually approved. There is a $100 fee to have the supervision plan reviewed and approved.

The supervisor will evaluate the associate two times. The first evaluation will occur ten to twelve months after the onset of supervision. The second will occur at the end (24 to 36 months after the onset of supervision). The supervisee will be rated on a number of performance variables, from developing appropriate client-patient relationships to communicating effectively orally and in writing. The evaluation is intended to be shared with the supervisee.

The candidate will also verify their experience through the site director or administrative supervisor.

The Application Process

All needed paperwork can be found on the board site (http://www.swmft.ms.gov/swmft/web.nsf/webpages/FormsPage_FormsPage?OpenDocument). There will be paperwork to fill out at multiple points along the way.

Applying for permission to take the exam, registering supervision, and applying for associate status each carry separate fees. Once the candidate has passed the licensing exam, they will fill out the license application and remit a $25 fee. The candidate will need three references from licensed professionals.

The candidate will need to have a sex offender registry check as well as state and federal criminal background checks. The candidate will fill out a form to request fingerprint cards from the Board. The candidate may have the prints done at whatever law enforcement agency is most convenient; fees may vary. The candidate will send the card back to the board along with a $50 processing fee. The board will not issue a license until the results are in. Instructions for filling out the card can be found in the request form.

The candidate will also need three references from licensed professionals.

License By Endorsement

A candidate may apply by endorsement if the LMFT candidate holds current licensing and was licensed on the basis of similar requirements. The LMFT will need to provide license verification from each state where they have held licensing.

Additional Contact Information

Therapists may opt for membership in the Mississippi Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (http://www.mamft.com/ohana/website/index.cfm?).

Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists (http://www.swmft.ms.gov/swmft/web.nsf).

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Mississippi

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