Marriage and Family Therapist Requirements in Maryland

The Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, or BOPC, licenses the state’s marriage and family therapists. The board issues two credentials. Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist (LGMFT) is a temporary license for candidates who have completed their education and examination requirements, but have not yet met the requirement for supervised practice. Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist (LCFMT) is the independent level license that will be granted after a period of supervised practice. Learn more about becoming a marriage and family therapist in Maryland here.

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  • Capella University offers an online MS in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program that is accredited by COAMFTE (Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education). The curriculum incorporates current MFT education standards and is designed to help you prepare to pursue state licensure eligibility. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their program.
  • Pepperdine University offers an online Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program designed to prepare students for licensure in their state. Click here to learn more.
  • Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers a CACREP accredited online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Click here to learn about the psychology and counseling programs at SNHU.
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Maryland Educational Requirements for LGMFT/ LCMFT

In order to be licensed at any level, a candidate will need to complete either a master’s or doctoral degree in marriage or family therapy or some other graduate program that is judged equivalent.

Master’s programs are to include at least 60 semester hours of coursework. (90 quarter hours is considered to be the equivalent of 60 semester hours.)

If a candidate did a shorter master’s, this doesn’t necessarily mean they cannot be licensed by examination in Maryland. It does mean they will need to take additional courses.

Whatever path a candidate takes, there are specific coursework requirements. There must be a total of 45 semester hours in the core content areas outlined below:

  • There must be three courses in the analysis of family systems. Included in this content area is the practicum. It must include, at minimum, 300 hours of client contact (at least 100 of them relational therapy) and 60 hours of supervision. In addition to the practicum, the student will need one course in psychopathology and one in normal and abnormal human development. The psychopathology course must cover diagnosis.
  • There must be a total of four to five courses in the theories and techniques of family therapy. One must cover mental health diagnosis and treatment within the family system. One must provide an overview of major models of family therapy. There may be three additional courses, each elucidating a separate model, or two to three courses which focus on models individually or in combination.
  • Couples theory coursework must include a comprehensive overview and an in-depth look at three particular models. The three models may or may not all be addressed in separate courses.
  • Additionally, the student will need coursework in ethnicity and gender issues in marriage and family therapy. The topics may be covered together in one course or may be treated separately.
  • There must be one course on sexual issues as they relate to MFT. Sexual orientation must be covered, as well as normality and dysfunction.
  • One course in professional, legal, and ethical issues is required.

Details about coursework can be found in 10.58.08.04 of the Maryland code. If a candidate is not sure if they have all the required coursework, they can have a transcript review done before submitting their application. If there are deficiencies, the Board will let the candidate know what they will need to take in order to remedy the situation. There is a $25 fee for this service.

LGMFT/ LCMFT Requirements: Examination

In order to be licensed as either an LGMFT or LCMFT, a candidate must pass two exams: a national board examination and a jurisprudence test (the Maryland Professional Counselors and Therapists Law and Regulations test).

The licensing exam is the national marriage and family therapy examination developed by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) and Professional Examination Service (PES). It is offered during four four-week windows spaced throughout the year. Each window has a registration deadline. In order to be authorized to take the test, the candidate must submit their license application to the Maryland Board well before this time. (The Middle Atlantic Division of the American Association for Marriage says to request an application packet at least ten weeks before the start of the testing window.)

Once approved, a candidate will register with Professional Examination Service (PES) and pay the required fee (currently $220). A handbook and sample questions are available on the AMFTRB site (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm).

The candidate will be allowed to schedule an exam at the Prometric Learning Center of their choice. An additional $75 will be due to Prometric.

Retakes are permissible. However, additional fees will be required.

LCMFT Requirement: Supervised Practice

The graduate must work under supervision for at least two years and accrue at least 2,000 post-graduate hours. At least half the credited hours are to be face-to-face client/ patient contact.

The LGMFT will need at least 100 hours of post-graduate clinical supervision, with no more than half of the required hours taking place in a group setting. The clinical supervisor must be one of the following: a Maryland LCMFT, a professional who has been approved by the AAMFT as a supervisor or supervisor-in-training, or another experienced mental health professional who has been expressly approved by the Maryland board.

An LGMFT license is issued for two years, but the licensee may apply twice for an extension. Extending the time period beyond six years is at board discretion.

The Application Process

Forms can be requested from the board at 410-764-4732. They are also available for download in Microsoft Word form (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/bopc/SitePages/forms.aspx). Official transcripts are to be sent at first application.

Out-of-State Marriage and Family Therapists

Maryland will endorse marriage and family therapy professionals who hold current licensing and have had two years of supervised experience. A clean disciplinary history is among the requirements.

A licensed MFT will not necessarily have to meet all of Maryland’s specific coursework requirements or show that their graduate program had 60 semester hours. However, their transcripts must show that they’ve had at least three semester hours each in couples therapy (theories and techniques), sexual issues, diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues, and professional, ethical, and legal standards of MFT practice.

An endorsement candidate will need to take the jurisprudence exam. They will need to pass the national board exam if they haven’t already done so.

Additional Information and Contacts

The Board may be reached by phone at 410-764-4732 or on their website at: http://dhmh.maryland.gov/bopc/SitePages/Home.aspx

An additional resource is the Middle Atlantic Division of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy – the branch of the professional organization that serves Maryland, DC, and Delaware (http://madmft.org).

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Maryland

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