Marriage and Family Therapist License Requirements in Oregon

Oregon marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists. A candidate first comes under board jurisdiction when the candidate begins supervised practice; the candidate’s status at this time is registered intern. After the intern has worked under supervision for three years and successfully completed state and national examinations, the intern will become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or LMFT.

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MFT Education Requirements in Oregon

The minimum level of education is a master’s in a mental health field from an appropriately accredited institution. If a candidate has this, the candidate has met the degree requirement, though not necessarily the coursework requirements. If the candidate completes a marriage and family therapy program that is either accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) or expressly approved by the Oregon Board, the candidate will have met all coursework requirements. Otherwise the candidate will need to demonstrate that they have the following courses, as part of her master’s program or afterward:

  • Human development and family studies (6 quarter hours)
  • Marital and family theoretical foundations (3 quarter hours)
  • MFT treatment, assessment, and diagnosis (12 quarter hours)
  • Research methods/ statistics (3 quarter hours)
  • Professional studies (3 quarter hours)
  • Practicum (600 clock hours)

The Board considers three quarter hours to be the equivalent of two semester hours. The student will need 24 quarter hours or 16 semester hours of additional supporting coursework.

The Board site includes a list of approved programs ( There are currently three MFT programs in the Portland area and one in the Willamette Valley area. If a program does not appear on this list, and does not have COAMFTE accredited, it must be accredited at the school level by one of the regional accrediting agencies. Online education is acceptable as long as the stated requirements are met.

If a candidate needs to take additional courses to supplement their master’s program, these should also be done through an accredited institution.

Candidates should be aware that the minimum standards for the practicum experience will be going up. Candidates who graduate in October of 2014 or later will be expected to have at least 700 total hours of practicum, with at least 280 spent in direct client contact.

The total program requirement will go up from 48 to 60 semester hours. There will be a new requirement for a class in diversity studies. The student will be expected to have a discrete class in diagnosis of mental disorders.

Post-Graduate Supervised Practice

An intern will need three years of post-graduate experience. During this time, the intern must accrue at least 2,000 client contact hours. The intern may count therapy sessions with individuals. However, at least half of the required minimum must be with couples or families.

Although the intern’s status is intern, the graduate is eligible for employment in a number of settings. During this time, the intern will be under the clinical supervision of a highly trained professional. The supervisor will monitor treatment plans and discuss raw data from therapy sessions.

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The clinical supervisor must meet requirements set by the Board. Professionals are deemed qualified if they have been approved as supervisors by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) or credentialed as diplomats by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC). LMFTs and others with comparable credentialing are also acceptable as supervisors provided they meet the following requirements: They must have been trained in systemic theory and must have five years of experience and 30 clock hours of supervision training. The Board site includes a supervisor registry with contact information for board approved supervisors (

The minimum amount of direct supervision in a given month will depend on the number of client contact hours. If it was less than 45, it is two; otherwise, it is three. Some supervision hours can take place in a small group setting. However, at least 50% must be individual. It is acceptable to communicate with the supervisor electronically; however at least 25% of the supervision hours must take place with both parties physically present in the same location.

The intern has up to five years to complete requirements.

The Application Process

A prospective intern will turn in an application at the onset of practice, though the requirements will not be met for some years. The application is for examination and (ultimately) licensure. A candidate will need official transcripts sent to the Board. If the candidate did not complete a COAMFTE-accredited or Oregon-approved program, the candidate will have their school submit a form with course descriptions. A $172.25 fee is due with the application. Application forms and related materials can be found here:

The candidate will have a fingerprint-based criminal background check. Applicants are asked to contact the Board for instructions. The application asks for a social security number. The applicant will answer her questions about their professional background.

The candidate must submit their professional disclosure statement to the Board. The professional disclosure statement lets clients know the therapist’s qualifications and fees and also informs them of their rights. The supervisor’s name is included.

The supervisor and intern must also submit a clinical experience plan and have it approved.

Additional paperwork will be required when there is a change in workplace or supervision or if the intern takes a leave. Hours must be reported every six months. The supervisor will also submit an evaluation at six month intervals.

MFT License Examination

Oregon uses the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards exam to assess competence. A candidate will become exam eligible when her licensing application is approved. The candidate will need to register with Professional Examination Service. The candidate will then be allowed to schedule an exam at a Prometric center. She will pay a total of $295 in examination-associated fees.

The candidate will receive testing results from the Oregon Board.

A successful candidate will take the state law and rules exam after supervision requirements have been met. This will arrive in the mail.

License by Reciprocity

An LMFT applying by reciprocity must submit verification from her state of licensure. The LMFT will also need to submit transcripts (and additional information about coursework if the program was not COAMFTE-accredited). Other requirements include a background check and submission of a professional disclosure statement. The application fee is the same as it is for candidates applying by the traditional route.

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Oregon recognizes the California exam as well as the national exam.

Practicum requirements may be waived if a therapist has at least five years of experience. Experience may substitute for some other requirements, for example, if the candidate had fewer than 2,000 supervised hours (

Additional Information and Contacts

The Board office is located in Salem. Representatives may be contacted by phone or email (

An additional professional resource is the Oregon Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a division of the AAMFT ( Candidates will find lists of in-state MFT programs, approved supervisors, and exam preparation resource materials.

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Oregon

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