Marriage and Family Therapist Requirements in North Dakota

North Dakota’s marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board. There are two levels of credentialing, Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Both licenses are dependent on having a graduate degree and passing a national examination. LAMFT is the lower license. An LAMFT must complete a period of supervised practice before achieving LMFT status. An LMFT candidate will also need to pass a state exam.

Featured Programs:
  • Grand Canyon University (GCU) offers a variety of Master’s programs in Mental Health Counseling including an online M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Marriage and Family Therapy and an online Post-M.S. in Counseling: Marriage and Family Therapy Certificate. Each state has specific education requirements as they pertain to MFT licensure. Confirm with your state that this program will meet licensure requirements. Click here to learn more about the GCU programs and course descriptions.
  • 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.
  • University of West Alabama offers a Master's of Science in Family Counseling as well as several additional Master's programs and a Bachelor's in Psychology undergraduate option. Graduates are prepared to pursue positions in counseling, research, education and other industries. Click here to learn about the University of West Alabama and their programs.

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LAMFT/ LMFT Requirement: Education

There are several paths to licensure, but some are more direct than others. If a candidate graduates from a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), it will be accepted as meeting all educational requirements. There is currently one COAMFTE-accredited program in the state, that school is in Fargo.

If the MFT program was not COAMFTE-accredited, but the school held institutional accreditation through some agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the Board will accept it — so long as the practicum met minimum requirements. It should be 12 months or nine semester hours. If the practicum was shorter than nine semester hours, the graduate can be licensed as an associate but will need to make up the deficiency by doing additional supervised practice under his associate license.

If the degree was not in marriage and family therapy, but in a related mental health field, the Board may still accept it as license qualifying. The candidate will need to do additional coursework, however, to establish equivalency. A candidate who is planning to apply by equivalency should request ‘Form 1’ from the Board.

While completing client therapy in a university directed practicum, the trainee may use ‘Marriage and Family Therapy Intern’ or another similar title.

LAMFT/ LMFT Requirements: Examination

Before the candidate can be licensed as an LAMFT, the candidate will need to take the national examination in marriage and family therapy. The candidate must apply for permission from the board. Once approved, the candidate may register with Professional Examination Service.

After the candidate has registered, the candidate will be allowed to schedule at any Prometric center. There is a $220 fee that must be remitted upon registration and a $75 fee that must be paid later to Prometric.

The examination is administered during four testing periods a year, so the candidate will want to stay apprised of deadlines. Upcoming examination dates and application deadlines are found in the ‘licensing’ section of the website (http://www.ndmftlb.org/page8.html). Testing dates for the coming year are found on the site of the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm). A small amount of preparation material is available on the AMFTRB site as well.

In the event the candidate fails an examination attempt, the will need to wait six months before retaking.

LMFT Requirement: Supervised Practice

An LAMFT must work under supervision for two years. The North Dakota Board requires 2,000 total hours of supervised practice, but may allow up to 500 hours of experience that was earned in the graduate program to be applied to this total. If the program was not COAMFTE-accredited, the candidate will need to do all 2,000 hours post-master.

The LAMFT must earn at least 1,500 post-graduate hours in direct service delivery. The LAMFT should provide 500 hours of therapy to individuals and 500 to families with children. An additional 500 should be spent with couples (whether single, married, or going through separation or divorce).

Clinical supervision should be provided by a professional who has five years of experience or has earned certification from an appropriate organization. There is a list of approved supervisors on the Board site (http://www.ndmftlb.org/licensed.html). At least 300 total supervision hours will be required. Up to 100 can be transferred from a graduate practicum.

Supervision may be individual or group. There must be 150 total hours of individual supervision, however, and at least 50 must be post-graduate.

After completing the supervised practice requirement, the LAMFT will need to take the state jurisprudence exam. The Board will schedule exams periodically as needed.

The Application Process

Before applying, a candidate must read the Century Code and administrative rules. These are available on the Board site (http://www.ndmftlb.org/statutes.html). There is also a link in the application package.

The applicant will need official transcripts. An applicant who has a criminal or complaint history will need to provide details.

An LAMFT will pay $125 for application and initial licensure. An applicant at the LMFT level will pay $190. Application packets are to be mailed to the Board office in Mandan, ND.

Out-of-State Marriage and Family Therapists

A marriage and family therapist who is credentialed in another state can be licensed by endorsement if the MFT has met similar requirements. The out-of-state MFT will use the same application form, but will initial the appropriate spaces if the out-of-state MFT wants the Board to consider their previous supervised experience and/or examination scores.

The candidate will need to provide license verification either on the form included in the application packet or on the other state’s form. The verification may include the necessary information to determine qualifications.

If the Board determines that the therapist did not meet similar standards, the MFT may need to take additional steps. The North Dakota Board notes that supervised experience earned while training for another mental health discipline will be disallowed. If someone applies as an LMFT but does not meet requirements, the application will also be reviewed for LAMFT eligibility.

An endorsement candidate will pay an initial fee of $300. The endorsement candidate will need to take the state jurisprudence exam to become an LMFT.

Additional Information and Contacts

The Board may be contacted by telephone at (701) 223-2986. Additional contact information is available on the Board site (Click Here to go to their website).

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in North Dakota

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