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MFT License Requirements in Ohio

Ohio marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board. There are two levels of licensing. The higher level is Licensed Independent Marriage and Family Therapist, or LIMFT. The lower level is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or LMFT – this can create some confusion as a majority of states use this title for the independent level license.

A professional becomes eligible for the LMFT license in Ohio after completing a master’s degree and passing a board examination. He becomes eligible for the LIMFT license after two years of supervised practice.

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 Ohio

A marriage and family therapy degree that is accredited by COAMFTE is considered to have met all requirements. A non-COAMFTE marriage and family therapy degree may be acceptable as well, but the candidate will need to demonstrate that the program included all required coursework.

There must be a year-long practicum experience. It is to include at least 300 client contact hours (150 of them with couples or families). There must be at least one course in each of the following areas:

  • Systems theory
  • Marriage and family studies
  • Human development
  • Professional ethics
  • Research
  • Individual and family appraisal

There are to be at least four marriage and therapy courses that develop knowledge of theories and practical applications. Major approaches may include systemic, object relations, intergenerational, and behavioral, among others.

The student will need some coursework in marriage and family studies and marriage and family therapy before he can begin his practicum.

The Board has reviewed several in-state programs that are not COAMFTE-accredited and determined that they meet requirements. The Board has also noted, in a document in the forms section, which in-state programs will work for a candidate who wants to pursue dual licensure as a counselor and marriage and family therapist (http://cswmft.ohio.gov/FormsM.stm#7).

A candidate who completes a 60 semester hour graduate program in a mental health field other than marriage and family therapy is eligible for licensure if he does the required coursework either as part of his master’s program or afterward.

Examination Requirements for Ohio MFT's

The required exam is the Examination in Marital and Family Therapy, which was developed by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards and is administered at Prometric testing sites around the country.

Students in COAMFTE-accredited programs are eligible to take the exam before graduation. The student will need a letter from a director or professor that states that he is expected to graduate that term.

Graduates can be made eligible to test upon receipt of an official transcript via fax, mail, or email. (Official transcripts will be required at a later stage in the application process.) There is also a very brief request form that may be sent by mail or email. The approved candidate will register with Professional Examination Service and pay the examination fee (currently $220). He will pay Prometric a $75 fee. A candidate handbook is available through the AMFTRB site (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm).

The licensing exam is given in four twenty-eight day windows each year. However, the Board issues approval letters that are valid only for the next one. If the candidate doesn’t sit for the exam, he will need to go through the approval process again. A candidate who has a job offer may be granted a temporary license which will allow him to begin work while he’s going through the examination process.

The Board has provided links to several study guides (http://cswmft.ohio.gov/FormsM.stm#8).

Criminal Background Check

The candidate will need two criminal records checks: one through the FBI and one through Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. He may have his fingerprints done at his choice of WebCheck locations (http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Business/Services-for-Business/WebCheck/Webcheck-Community-Listing). The fingerprints will be sent electronically to the BCI office in London, Ohio, where the checks will be performed. The process could take as long as six weeks, but will generally be quicker if there are no qualifying events.

Complete instructions are available in a PDF on the Board site. The Board recommends that candidates take a copy of the instructions with them when they go to have their prints made. A candidate who has had a recent BCI background check may request to have a copy sent to the Board.

Laws and Rules Exam

The candidate will also need to take an online jurisprudence exam (https://www.cswmft.ohio.gov/exam/Default.aspx) There is a $10 fee. The candidate will be issued a certificate upon completion.

Ohio LIMFT Requirements: Supervised Practice

The LMFT will need to work under supervision for at least two years before he can be eligible for the independent license. He will need to accrue at least 1,000 hours of MFT client contact. He will need 200 hours of supervision during this time period. The clinical supervisor should be an LIMFT or a professional who has been approved as a supervisor by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). If there is not an appropriate supervisor at the LMFT’s workplace, he may contract with one. If there is no one located within a reasonable distance, he may file a hardship request and ask to be allowed to receive supervision from another qualified professional. (This might be a psychiatrist or psychologist or a clinical counselor or social worker who has done training in supervision.)

The Application Process

Candidates should request an application from the Board. They may call 614-466-7131 if not simultaneously requesting examination permission.

When there is no doubt about a candidate’s eligibility, the candidate will be given initial approval following a review by staff members. When there are questions, the application will be held until the next board meeting. This will be the procedure in cases where the candidate has a degree in a field other than marriage and family therapy as well as in cases where disciplinary or legal history raises concerns. In order to be reviewed at the next meeting, the application will need to arrive ten days in advance.

Out-of-State Marriage and Family Therapists

An out-of-state marriage and family therapist may apply for an endorsement license. The Ohio Board will consider the following factors: whether the candidate has met substantially similar requirements, how much experience he has, and whether he has a disciplinary record. The candidate will need to submit official statements from his current state of licensure and all other states where he has held a license. He will also need to submit graduate transcripts and test results. He may submit other documents as needed to demonstrate his qualifications for licensure.

Even if a candidate does not meet endorsement requirements at the LIMFT level, he may receive credit for supervision hours he has completed elsewhere. Since many states have candidates earn their hours before taking the licensing exam, individuals may move to Ohio lacking only the national board exam. If a candidate has a job offer in the state, he may wish to pursue a temporary license which will get him working a little sooner. The application fee for an endorsement candidate is $60 at the LMFT level and $75 at the LIMFT level.

Out-of-state candidates can request a fingerprint package from the Board so as to expedite the licensing process.

Additional Information

Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (http://www.cswmft.ohio.gov/)

General inquiries may be made at (614) 466-0912. The Ohio Division of the AAMFT is an additional resource.

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Ohio

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