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Marriage and Family Therapist License Requirements in Utah

Utah marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, or DOPL.

There are multiple levels of licensure. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or LMFT, is authorized for private and independent practice. Full licensure as an LMFT requires graduate education, passing scores on a national board examination, and a period of supervised practice.

A candidate can be licensed as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist after meeting just the educational requirements.

A graduate may be granted an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist Extern license if a graduate has a marriage and family therapy degree but is found to have educational deficiencies; this is a temporary status that will apply to only a limited number of applicants.

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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AMFT/LMFT Requirement: Education

The candidate will need a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited program or institution. If the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), it will be assumed to meet all coursework requirements.

If it is not COAMFTE-accredited but is housed in a school with acceptable institutional-level accreditation, it will be considered license-qualifying provided the candidate can document coursework in specific content areas mandated by the state. Utah accepts accrediting agencies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA); this includes all regional accrediting agencies and some national ones (http://www.chea.org/).

Content requirements include the following:

  • Theoretical foundations of MFT (6 semester hours or 9 quarter hours)
  • MFT assessment and treatment (9 semester hours)
  • Human development (6 semester hours)
  • Data analysis and research methodology (3 semester hours)
  • Professional ethics (3 semester hours)
  • MFT elective (3 semester hours)

Additionally, the student will need a practicum that includes at least 500 clinical contact hours and 100 hours of supervision. At least 250 clinical contact hours must be spent with families and couples.

LMFT Requirements: Supervised Practice

Before the MFT licensure candidate can obtain full licensure, the candidate will need to at least have 4,000 hours of experience. The candidate must perform at least 1,000 hours of therapy under supervision. At least 500 hours must be MFT therapy with at least two clients present in the session.

The candidate must receive an hour of clinical supervision for every client contact hour (with a minimum of 100 hours required for licensure).

Other credited professional experience includes, but is not limited to, preparing for sessions, writing notes and other documentation, attending in-services or continuing education classes, and engaging in consultation.

The supervisor must have two years of training and either be approved by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) or have other training acceptable to the Board. Acceptable training incudes completion of a supervision course through a COAMFTE-accredited university or completion of 20 hours of continuing education through AAMFT or its Utah affiliate, the Utah Association for Marriage and Family Therapists. A candidate who opts to do their training through one of these professional organizations must have studies in four separate areas related to supervision.

The UAMFT provides advice and resources for finding a supervisor (http://www.uamft.org/ohana/website/?p=96930390).

Externship License

The Board may issue an externship license to an MFT graduate who has educational deficiencies; this will allow the MFT graduate to obtain a position as an employee, practicing under supervision. However, practice at this level will not fulfill LMFT license requirements. In order to accrue the 4,000 hours required for licensure purposes, the extern will need to complete educational requirements.

The extern license is issued for three years and cannot be renewed.

LMFT Requirement: Examination

The candidate will need to take the National Examination in Marital and Family Therapy before they can be licensed at the LMFT level. The candidate is allowed to continue working under an associate license for up to a year after the candidate fulfills the experience hours, if necessary, in order to meet this requirement. In some instances, the time may be extended into a second year.

The exam is administered via computer during four annual testing windows; it is necessary to register at least a week before the first day of the testing window. The candidate will be able to register after Utah has reviewed the candidate’s qualifications and made him or her eligible. The candidate should be prepared to pay a total of $295 in fees: $220 to Professional Examination Service, the organization that administers the exam, and $75 to Prometric, the organization that runs the computerized testing centers where the exam is given.

The Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards has provided a candidate bulletin and a list of test dates through the end of 2014 (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm).

The Application Process

Candidates are expected to know the applicable regulations before seeking licensure; these can be accessed through the DOPL website.

Application forms and related materials are located Here on the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, Marriage and Family Therapy.

The application includes qualifying questions about legal and professional background. A 'yes' answer will not necessarily preclude a candidate from being licensed, but the Board will need to make a decision based on a review. Written explanation will be required; in some cases, additional supporting documentation will be needed.

The candidate must submit official transcripts at first application. If the program was not COAMFTE-accredited, course descriptions will be required as well.

There is an $85 fee for application at the associate or associate extern level. At the LMFT level, the fee is $120.

The application may be mailed or hand delivered to the DOPL office in Salt Lake City.

LMFT by Endorsement

An LMFT who holds current licensing in another jurisdiction may be licensed by endorsement if they meet requirements for active practice. In lieu of documenting 4,000 hours of supervised practice, the LMFT may document 4,000 hours of lawful practice; a minimum of 1,000 of these hours must have been spent providing therapy. There is a form in the application packet that may be sent to an employer or other third party who has knowledge of the applicant’s practice.

The LMFT will need to submit license verification from a state where he holds a current license. The LMFT will send the form to the issuing state along with whatever fee is required for processing; the completed form may be sent directly from the other agency or included in the application packet.

Contact Information

Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, or DOPL (http://www.dopl.utah.gov/licensing/marriage_family_therapy.html)

The licensing agency can be reached at (801) 530-6628 or (866) 275-3675.

Utah Association of Marriage and Family Therapy: http://www.uamft.org/ohana/website/index

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Utah

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