Marriage and Family Therapist License Requirements in New York

New York marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Office of the Professions. The Office boasts 884 licensees, with 54 new marriage and family therapy licenses issued in 2012.

Credentialing as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) is dependent on completing a qualifying graduate degree, passing a licensing exam, and working under supervision for a year. The MFT graduate can apply for a limited permit which will allow the MFT to complete the supervised practice requirement.

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Educational Requirements

A candidate should complete a master’s program that is accredited by COAFTE or has been approved by New York as license qualifying. The Board will accept other degrees that are deemed equivalent.

The graduate will need the following coursework in order to demonstrate equivalency:

  • He will need at least three semester hours of human development coursework. This is to cover the child, family, and individual.
  • He must have at least twelve semester hours that contribute to his clinical knowledge of marriage and family therapy. Psychopathology must be addressed.
  • The candidate will need at least six semester hours that contribute to his theoretical knowledge of the profession.
  • He will have a three semester hour research requirement.
  • An additional three semester hours will be required in professional ethics.
  • The practicum experience is to include at least 300 hours of clinical contact with clients.

If a candidate completed a master’s degree in a related field (for example, psychology, social work, or mental health counseling) the candidate will be permitted to meet equivalency requirements through post-master coursework. Such degrees are considered license qualifying.

If the prospective MFT has a qualifying degree but does not meet the practicum requirement, the candidate will have the option of doing the internship post-master as a non-matriculated student in license qualifying program.

Internationally educated candidates will need to demonstrate that their education was substantively equivalent.

Child Abuse Training

If the student completed a New York program, they can expect to have met the requirement for state-specific training in child abuse identification and reporting. If the candidate completes a program that was not registered in New York, however, the candidate will need to take a class through an approved vendor. This can be done online.

Supervised Practice

The MFT candidate will need to accrue at least 1,500 client contact hours working under supervision.

If the candidate completed a marriage and family therapy program, the candidate may apply the hours that they earned as a student toward the requirement. If their master’s was in another field, the candidate cannot count any hours that were earned before graduation. If the Office determines the candidate has a qualifying degree, however, the candidate can count the hours that are accrued while completing the additional educational requirements (so long as they are earned in a manner consistent with legal regulations).

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If the candidate will be completing the post-graduate supervised practice in New York, the candidate will need to apply for a limited permit. This requirement does not apply to hours earned as a student. The limited permit is issued for a year, but may be renewed for one more years if the candidate is still working toward meeting licensing requirements.

A permit is issued for a particular employment setting. If the candidate has two employers, the candidate will need two permits.

Professional Supervision

The permit holder must be under the supervision of a qualified professional who holds New York licensing. New York will accept, as supervisors, professionals from various fields so long as they are competent in MFT practice. The list includes psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses.

The supervisor may be the permit holder’s employer or another individual who is employed by, or contracted by, the agency. New York does not permit individuals who hold limited permits to contract for their own supervision hours.

The supervisor must meet with the supervisee for at least two hours every other week. Additionally, the supervisor must provide oversight and make themselves available for consultation and assessment. If the supervisor is not on-site, the supervisor will need access to client records.

If a candidate completes the supervised experience requirements in another state, the conditions may be different. The candidate will need to meet the requirements of the state where they are working.

MFT Licensure Examination for New York

The candidate will also need to pass the AAMFTRB marriage and family therapy exam. The candidate may do this while working under a temporary permit (or any time following graduation). Board permission is required. The candidate will need to submit a license application and fee to the New York Board. At this point, the candidate will wait to receive directions via email. Once the candidate has been approved, the candidate will register with Professional Examination Service; a $220 fee will be assessed at this time.

The Application Process

The fee for a limited permit is $70. The fee for application and initial licensure is $371. The applications may be submitted at the same time. If the candidate is not ready to begin supervised practice in an employment setting but wants to take the licensing exam, the applicant will submit the licensing application first. (A portion of the application/ licensing fee may be refunded if the candidate withdraws his application.)

The applicant must have their school verify that the applicant has completed the educational requirements. If the applicant’s program was not COAMFTE-accredited or explicitly approved by New York, the applicant will also need to submit official transcripts.

If the candidate has held any professional license in another state, the candidate/applicant will need to provide license verification. The application itself must be notarized.

All forms are available on the Board site ( The applicant can check their status online.

Out-of-State LMFTs

An out-of-state LMFT is a candidate for license by endorsement if they have been in active practice for at least five out of ten of the years preceding the application. Even an endorsement candidate is required to have graduated from a master’s program and to have completed a period of supervised practice. However, the standards the LMFT is held to are those that the other state had at the time of licensing, not those that New York has in place now.

An out-of-state LMFT who does not meet endorsement requirements may still be eligible for licensing. If the other state does not have requirements that are substantially equivalent, the candidate may demonstrate that they have met the standard licensing requirements.

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Test scores may be requested through the PES. The Board notes that the California licensing exam will not be accepted in place of the national one.

An out-of-state therapist will need to meet New York’s requirement for training in child abuse.

Additional Contact Information

There are multiple ways to communicate with the licensing agency. The nature of the inquiry will determine what phone extension or email address is most appropriate; a full list of contacts can be found on the site of the Office of the Professions (

The New York Association for Marriage and Family Therapy is the state’s professional organization (

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in New York

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