MFT License Requirements in Indiana

Indiana’s Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board issues marriage and family therapist licenses at two levels: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or LMFT, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate, or LMFTA.

Licensure at either level requires a graduate degree, a criminal background check, and a national board examination. In order to achieve full licensure as an LMFT, an associate must first work under supervision.

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LMFT/ LMFTA Requirements: Education

An Indiana marriage and family therapist needs a master’s or doctoral degree in MFT or in a related field. If it’s a U.S. program, the school should have regional accreditation. If it’s Canadian, it must be a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Online degree programs are acceptable if they meet the Board’s approval standards. A candidate who has a degree in a related field will need to make up any educational deficits by taking coursework through a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.

A minimum of 27 semester hours (or 41 quarter hours) of relevant coursework is required.

Programs should cover the following concepts:

  • Individual development
  • Family development and relationships
  • MFT theoretical foundations
  • Major models of MFT
  • Clinical problems
  • Therapy techniques
  • Collaboration with professionals in other disciplines
  • Gender and sexual orientation
  • Sexuality
  • Ethnicity, race, culture, and socioeconomic status
  • Behavioral research

In some cases, a single course may cover more than one content area. Research, for example, may be combined with another behavioral health content area. (Candidates can find additional explication in the application packet.)

The candidate will also need two semester hours or three quarter hours in the following areas:

  • Practice standards in MFT
  • Appraisal and assessment of interpersonal disorders

Supervision Requirements

Additionally, the student will need a practicum that includes 500 hours of client contact and 100 hours of supervision by an appropriately credentialed professional. While completing the practicum, the student will use ‘student’ or ‘trainee’ or some similar term that accurately reflects their status.

The associate will work under supervision for a minimum of two years. The associate (LMFTA) may do some individual therapy during this time. It is expected, though, that at least half of the associate’s clients will be there for marriage and family therapy. The associate will need experience with a variety of groupings, including married, unmarried, separating, and divorcing couples, as well as families that include children.

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The associate will need to accrue at least 1,000 hours of clinical experience post-degree. The associate will need a total of 200 supervision hours. At least half of them must be individual. The supervisor who provides these hours should be someone who has been in practice for at least five years or who has been approved by the AAMFT as a supervisor or supervisor candidate. Supervision by another qualified and experienced mental health professional is also acceptable in some instances; the professional must be supervising in areas that are appropriate to her training and experience.

In most cases, the supervisee and the professional who provides the board-mandated supervision hours do not have to both be working and providing services on the same premises. However, the associate does need to have appropriate supervision on-site.

MFT Examination

Licensure requires a passing score on the exam given by the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB). The exam is given in several 28 day windows each year. Upcoming deadlines can be found on the Board site ( http://www.in.gov/pla/2889.htm). The candidate will need the permission of the Indiana Board before registering. The candidate will pay the fees to the testing company after authorization. Additional information can be found on the AMFTRB site (http://www.amftrb.org/).

While the Indiana Board does not issue temporary permits to candidates for MFTA licensing, it is sometimes possible to begin working before taking the exam. The candidate must register for the first available exam.

The MFT license candidate can accrue a maximum of 500 hours while waiting to pass the exam. If the candidate does not pass it, he or she will not be allowed to accrue any more hours until such time as he or she does. However, they will not be forced to give up their job. This is per 2012 rules – candidates for MFT licensure should make sure they’re in compliance with the current ones.

Each examination attempt requires Board approval. If a candidate fails three times, they will need to do remedial work.

The length of the first associate licensing period may vary – it depends on when the license was issued. The associate is allowed to renew twice. If the associate still has not completed requirements, they will need to demonstrate what the Board terms “good cause”.

Candidates who have already completed experience requirements may be issued a temporary permit which will allow them to practice while waiting to take the exam. A candidate who fails the licensing exam is no longer eligible to work under a temporary permit. The only time a permit is renewed is when, for some good cause, the candidate was unable to take the exam he or she was scheduled for.

An unsuccessful candidate may, however, retake the exam. The MFT license candidate will need to wait at least 90 days before making a second attempt.

The Application Process

Applications can be downloaded from the Board site (http://www.in.gov/pla/3031.htm). In fact, they can be filled out online and printed. Candidates may want to take a look well in advance as there are worksheets and supplemental materials. A passport-style photo will be required. Official transcripts must be requested and sent directly to the licensing agency. An applicant at the marriage and family therapist associate level will need verification of his practicum.

The criminal background check must be submitted after the application is received and entered into the system. An applicant should wait to receive an email from the Board. At this point, the applicant will schedule an appointment with Indiana’s approved vendor (http://www.in.gov/pla/3241.htm). The MFT license applicant will take their confirmation page to the appointment (along with valid ID).

The application must be submitted with a $50 fee; there will be additional testing fees of $295 (due to outside agencies).

The application packet includes email and telephone contact information for the licensing agency.

MFT License by Endorsement

An LMFT needs an Indiana license if they live in Indiana or performs services in Indiana for more than a very minimal amount (five days in a month or 15 days in a year).

An LMFT who holds current licensing in another jurisdiction is a candidate for endorsement. Indiana will accept the AMFTRB exam or another licensing exam that is deemed substantially equivalent. (Almost all U.S. jurisdictions use the AMFTRB exam.)

An endorsement candidate will need to take a state-specific jurisdiction exam. It will arrive in the mail after the candidate applies.

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The application packet asks for verification of all out-of-state licenses, including those in other professions.

The endorsement candidate may request a temporary permit to get started sooner – a copy of a current license will be accepted in lieu of license verification for the permit, but not the license. There is an additional $25 charge if a permit is required. The permit is issued for 180 days.

International MFTs

An internationally educated MFT will be considered to have met the educational requirements if her program was authorized by the government in her own state and if the training it provided was found to be substantially equivalent.

Contact Information and Additional Resources

Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing: (http://www.in.gov/pla/social.htm)

Indiana Association for Marriage and Family Therapy on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Indiana-Association-Marriage-Family-Therapy

Indiana Association for Marriage and Family Therapy On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Indiana-Association-for-Marriage-and-Family-Therapy

AAMFT Indiana Division: http://www.inamft.org/ohana/website/

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Indiana

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