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Marriage and Family Therapist Requirements in New Jersey

New Jersey marriage and family therapists are licensed by the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners. In order to attain full licensure as an LMFT, a candidate will need to complete a master’s degree, pass a criminal background check, meet a practice requirement, and pass a national board examination.

While meeting experience requirements, the candidate will work under a temporary permit.

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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LMFT Education Requirements in New Jersey

A New Jersey MFT must have a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution. The degree may be in marriage and family therapy, social work, or another related field. If the program is in a field other than MFT or social work, however, the candidate will need to demonstrate that it meets the following coursework requirements:

  • Theoretical foundations (2 courses)
  • Clinical practice (4 courses)
  • Individual development/ family relations (2 courses)
  • Professional identity/ ethics (1 course)
  • Research (1 course)

In addition, there should be at least one elective that develops the future clinician’s knowledge in an area of personal interest. It should be applicable to MFT practice, but may be drawn from the candidate’s choice of disciplines.

All courses are to be three semester hours or the equivalent. A full description of what can be included under each content requirement is found in the administrative rules, which are available in PDF form on the Board site (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/mft/marr_rules.htm).

If a candidate has a related degree that did not include the required coursework, the candidate can enroll in a COAMFTE-accredited training program or institute.


Supervised Experience

The New Jersey Board requires three years of supervised experience. At least two must be in marriage and family therapy; the other one is to be in counseling. The Board considers MFT to be a form of counseling, but will allow candidates to apply other types toward this requirement. (In the FAQ, the Board notes that school counseling and pastoral counseling are both acceptable.)

The Board considers 1,500 hours to be the equivalent of a year; this works out to 30 hours a week for 50 weeks out of the year. A minimum of 50 hours of face to face supervision with at least one hour per week.no more than 25 of these hours are to be under group supervision. An MFT candidate may opt for part-time work, but should accrue at least 750 hours over the course of a year. There is a maximum of 1150 hours of MFT client contact and a maximum of 300 hours to be spent on other work related duties. Click Here to see the most recent rules and regulations published here on page 20.

The candidate must work under a professional who has at least five years of experience providing therapy. At least half of the supervision hours must be individual; the Board counts supervision as individual, though, in cases where there is one other supervisee present.

If a master’s degree is the highest degree attained, the candidate must complete at least two of the three years of experience post-degree. (It is acceptable if the general counseling requirement was met beforehand.) If the candidate has a doctoral or other post-master degree, the candidate may count two years of experience that was earned before the terminal degree.

Please visit the New Jersey State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners website for the most current updates.


MFT Licensure Examination

The MFT candidate will need to pass the marital and family therapy board examination, which was developed by Professional Examination Service in cooperation with the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm). The same exam is used in all 50 states; it is currently available in four four-week testing windows per year.

In order to be authorized to take the exam, the candidate must submit the licensing application. Once the candidate has been approved, the candidate will register with PES and pay a $220 fee. The candidate will be allowed to schedule at their choice of Prometric testing centers; the candidate will pay an additional $75 to Prometric upon scheduling.

If the candidate fails an examination attempt, the candidate will need to wait six months before making another attempt.


The Application Process

Paperwork must be submitted to the Board at multiple points along the way. Before beginning supervised MFT practice, a candidate will apply to the Board for a temporary permit. The candidate must have a qualifying degree at this stage; the candidate will request official transcripts from the degree-granting institution.

As part of the application process, the applicant will provide the resume of the proposed supervisor. The supervisor may hold licensing in New Jersey or in another jurisdiction. However, if the supervisor does not have a current New Jersey license, the supervisor must submit a transcript.

The permit application asks for details about proposed job duties and learning objectives. The application fee at this stage is $75.

A candidate must have a fingerprint-based background check upon first application to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. If the candidate has been fingerprinted by any board or committee that is under the banner of the Division (after November of 2003), the candidate will not be required to have his fingerprints done a second time. However, the Board will still need to run a background check at a fee of $22.55. A candidate who has a criminal background will be required to submit details, but may also submit evidence of rehabilitation.

The supervisor will need to file a report twice a year. It is the supervisee’s responsibility to make sure that this happens.

The biannual report includes a list of work-related activities and skills. The supervisor will rate the candidate between one and five on each. The Board notes that a five is the level of proficiency that an MFT is expected to perform at during the early phase of independent practice.

Applications can be found on the ‘licensee information’ page of the Board website (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/mft/marr_licensee.htm). The application packet includes an affidavit that requires notary signature. The candidate will also need to attach a passport-type photograph.

The application itself asks about professional background, medical conditions that could impede practice, and student loan and child support status. An applicant who is in default on a student loan will need to provide documentation that they have reached an agreement. An applicant who is in arrears on child support will be denied licensure.

Out-of-Marriage and Family Therapists

An out-of-state LMFT is eligible for license by credential if the state of licensure has substantially similar licensing requirements.

An out-of-state LMFT who is licensed in another jurisdiction and carries out most of their business activities there may be authorized to practice in New Jersey for up to ten days. The LMFT will need to submit their qualifications to the Board and provide ten days’ advance notice (as per section 45:8B-6 of the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy laws).


Additional Contact Information

The Board may be contacted via online form (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/mft/marr_contact.htm).

The New Jersey Division of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy serves as an additional professional resource (http://www.njamft.org/ohana/website/index).

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in New Jersey

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