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Marriage and Family Therapist License Requirements in Wisconsin

Wisconsin marriage and family therapists are licensed by the marriage and family therapy section of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. The professional level credential, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or LMFT, is reserved for those who have earned masters’ or doctoral degrees, completed at least two years of supervised practice, and passed national and state examinations. Individuals are eligible to work under a training license while completing supervised practice and examination requirements.

An LMFT may apply for an additional qualification in addictions. An LMFT with appropriate training may carry out psychometric testing for the purpose of screening and referral. There is a separate adjunct application for psychometric testing.

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 Requirements in Wisconsin

A candidate will need a graduate degree from a regionally accredited school. The degree must be in marriage and family therapy or something "substantially equivalent".

An individual who completes a graduate program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education will be presumed to meet all curricular requirements. Other candidates will need to document the following coursework upon application for the training license:

  • Human development (2 courses totaling 6 semester hours)
  • Marital and family studies (2 courses)
  • Marital and family therapy (2 courses)
  • Research (1 course)
  • Professional studies (1 course)
  • Clinical practicum (300 client contact hours)

The candidate will need additional courses in at least one of the following: human development, marital and family studies, or human development. The section requires a total of at least nine courses drawn from these content areas.

Education for Additional Qualifications

An MFT candidate will need formal graduate coursework in order to be qualified to do psychometric testing. A candidate who seeks an addictions qualification may take classes or seminars.

Additional training requirements must be met at the practice stage.

Supervised Practice

The marriage and family therapist will need to work under supervision for at least two years and until such time as the MFT accrues at least 3,000 total experience hours. The supervised MFT will need at least 1,000 hours of direct client contact.

Prior to beginning supervised work, a graduate must pursue a training license. A professional working under a training license is permitted to use the title Marriage and Family Therapist. The training license is issued for four years. Renewal is not guaranteed, but the marriage and family therapy section may choose to do so.

MFT Supervision Requirements

The therapist-in-training will need a clinical supervisor who meets one of the following requirements:

  • Professional who has been approved by the AAMFT
  • Master's level LMFT with five years of experience
  • Doctoral level LMFT
  • Psychiatrist or psychologist
  • Other professional pre-approved by the Wisconsin Board (only in instances where a qualified professional cannot be located)

The trainee will need one hour of direct supervision for every ten hours of clinical contact.

In addition, the supervisor must be available for emergency consultation. The licensing agency notes that the clinical supervisor assumes legal and ethical responsibility and can place limits on the supervisee's practice.

At the end, the supervisor will provide a notarized statement on a board-supplied form attesting that requirements are compete.

Supervision for Additional Qualifications

A candidate who seeks an addictions qualification must do 1,000 hours of work that meets supervision requirements for this specialty, either as part of her pre-licensure supervised practice or later.

A candidate who seeks authority to administer psychometric tests must have some supervision under a psychologist. Training must be sufficient for the psychologist to verify proficiency in administration of one or more tests.

National Board Examination

The AMFTRB examination is required before a professional can be licensed at the LMFT level. A marriage and family therapist may opt to take the exam at any time after the MFT candidate has been approved for a training license (provided they included the additional $15 contract fee with her application).

The candidate will register with Professional Examination Service (PES) and pay a $220 examination fee, being careful to observe deadlines found on the AMFTRB site (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm). Later the candidate will schedule the exam at a Prometric Center; the candidate will pay an additional $75 fee at that time.

The candidate will still be able to work under a temporary permit even if the candidate fails an examination attempt. Retakes, however, will incur substantial additional fees. The exam is administered four times a year, during 28-day testing cycles.

If a candidate for LMFT has taken the exam but does not qualify for license by reciprocity, the candidate can have their scores sent directly by PES.

Laws and Rules Test

An applicant at the LMFT level must also pass an online open book laws and rules exam. There is a $75 fee. Although the laws and rules examination is not required for the training license, a candidate who wishes to take it early may submit the fee with the initial application.

There is substantial preparatory information available in the FAQs. A candidate may use the rules and regulations posted online while taking the exam. A candidate who does not pass will need to remit an additional fee.

The MFT Application Process

All forms are available online (http://dsps.wi.gov/Default.aspx?Page=6521518).

The initial credential fee is $75 for both the training license and the standard LMFT license. Additional fees will be due at whatever level the candidate opts to take the licensing exams.

The application includes an affidavit that must be notarized. There are two mailing addresses in the application directions, selection depends on whether a candidate opts for regular or express delivery.

Applications are processed in seven to 15 business days. The candidate will receive emails when supplementary materials have been received and requirements met. It is also possible to monitor application status online.

Out of State MFT Licensure by Reciprocity

An out-of-state LMFT must provide verification of their credential on a form supplied in the application materials.

A reciprocal candidate will need to submit a copy of the rules and regulations under which they were licensed. The candidate will not need to submit documentation of supervised practice, transcripts, or other educational documentation.

The reciprocal candidate must pay a $170 initial credential fee plus a $75 fee for the laws and rules exam.

Temporary License

Some candidates may opt to pursue a temporary license. This is for individuals who have completed supervision requirements but not yet taken the licensing exam. In some cases, candidates who have completed supervision requirements in other jurisdictions may opt for it. It is issued for just nine months, but may be renewed or placed on hold in some instances. A key thing to remember about this license category is that the credential will be lost if the candidate does not pass the exam on a first attempt.

Contacts & Additional Information

Marriage and Family Therapy section of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (http://dsps.wi.gov/Default.aspx)

The Wisconsin Association for Marriage and Family Therapy is an additional resource (http://www.relationshiphelp.org). A candidate will find tips about taking on the jurisprudence exam as well as information about the licensing process. Affiliation is not tied to licensure.

Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Programs in Wisconsin

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