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Vermont’s marriage and family therapy profession is regulated by the Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals. There is one level of licensure, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or LMFT. Licensure requires graduate education in MFT, a national board examination, and two years of supervised practice.
However, therapists come under Board jurisdiction before they begin work in any other than a university-supervised internship. Placement on the roster of unlicensed psychotherapists is a safety measure; the main requirement at this stage is legal and professional fitness.
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.
A candidate will need a minimum of 48 semester credits of graduate coursework. Some units may be completed post-master. However, the candidate will need to provide evidence of having a degree that included at least 36 semester hours. This requirement is of relevance primarily to candidates who earned degrees in the past; most modern MFT programs have well above the minimum. At least 18 semester hours of the original degree must be identifiable as having to do with MFT/ systems theory/ relational perspectives.
Students do not have to attend programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) to be eligible for licensure in Vermont; however, those who do not will need to document that their program met an extensive set of content requirements. Those who attend COAMFTE-accredited programs will be assumed to have met most coursework requirements, though they will need to provide evidence of having taken a course that included DSM-based diagnosis and treatment.
Northcentral University offers the only other COAMFTE - accredited online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy in the country. Click here to contact Northcentral University for information about the program.
Generally, MFT programs must be housed in schools that hold institutional accreditation. However, candidates may complete post-master training through programs that hold only COAMFTE accreditation.
Candidates who did not complete COAMFTE-accredited programs will need to document the following coursework. There must be at least six semester hours of coursework that develops an MFT systems perspective.
There must be at least three semester hours of coursework in each of the following areas:
There must be a total of at least six semester hours drawn from content areas in the following list:
The candidate must also have at least 500 hours of internship. Graduates of programs not accredited by COAMFTE will need to submit syllabi upon application.
The candidate must work under supervision for at least two years. Before beginning work in Vermont, he must register as an unlicensed psychotherapist. He will need to accrue at least 3,000 hours of work experience. All therapy should be carried out from a systems perspective, though individual and group sessions may be counted. At least 2,000 hours must be direct services with clients; at least 1,000 of the client hours must be in sessions with families or couples. Up to 1,000 hours may be indirect service work.
The licensure candidate will need at least 100 hours of direct supervision. He is not allowed to practice more than 30 hours without having at least one supervision hour. At least 50 total supervision hours must be carried out individually. The rest may be in a group setting with up to six unlicensed psychotherapists in attendance.
Clinical supervision is something different than administrative supervision or an employer-employee relationship. Employee-employer supervisory relationships are prohibited, as are all dual relationships that might preclude candid discussion of all issues related to MFT practice. The clinical supervisor must be either a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist or Licensed Clinical Social Worker. If licensed in a state other than Vermont, the individual must meet Vermont requirements. The Board may approve supervision by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical mental health counselor, however, in instances where there is no LMFT available who can carry out the supervision.
At the end of the supervisory period, the supervisor will verify hours and provide a recommendation for licensure. He will provide a general evaluation in narrative form.
The first short application is submitted when the candidate requests placement on the roster of unlicensed psychotherapists. All necessary paperwork is available on the site of the Office of the Professions (http://vtprofessionals.org/opr1/allied_mental_health/Psychoforms.asp).
The candidate will need to answer questions regarding his legal and credentialing history and any limitations on his capacity to practice safely. ‘Yes’ answers will require a written explanation and in some cases, additional supporting documentation (for example, court documents or a statement by a medical provider). The candidate will also indicate whether he is in good standing or compliance with taxes, child support, and court fines (as applicable).
Both licensed and unlicensed psychotherapists are required to have professional disclosure statements; an outline is provided in the psychotherapist application. The LMFT application can be turned in before requirements are met. The Board recommends turning in an application before supervision has been completed – this will allow the candidate to be approved to take the national board examination.
The Vermont LMFT licensing application is also available on the OPR site. It must be submitted with a $125 fee. Materials are to be mailed to the Office of Professional Regulation in Montpelier.
The candidate will need to pass the National Marital and Family Therapy Exam before he can be licensed. There are currently four twenty-eight day testing cycles each year. Once a candidate has been approved by Vermont, he may contact Professional Examination Service to register. He can expect to pay $220 at that time. Later he will schedule an exam at a Prometric Center and remit an additional $75.
The exam is given by computer. A candidate bulletin and study materials can be found on the website of the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm). Registration deadlines are available through 2014.
An LMFT may be licensed without examination if he holds current licensing in a state with similar standards. The other state will fill out two forms: verification of licensure and verification of licensing standards. The verification of licensing standards form asks a number of questions that assess the similarity of the state’s licensing requirements: for example, whether two calendar years of supervised experience was required and whether supervision had to be carried out by an LMFT or clinical social worker.
The following rule is currently noted as “subject to legislative approval”: In the future, LMFTs may be issued Vermont licenses on the basis of having held licenses in good standing for at years five years and practiced actively in a U.S. state or Canadian province. (In this case, active practice would be defined as over 20 hours a week for 48 weeks a year.)
The Board can be contacted at 802-828-2390.
Find MFT License Requirements in Your State:Learn more about becoming an LMFT in your state: