Licensure or certification laws for marriage and family therapists (MFTs) provide a mechanism for the public and third-party payors to identify qualified practitioners of marriage and family therapy.
Marriage and Family Therapists who obtain the MFT license or certificate have met high educational and clinical experience criteria. All states require a Master's or Doctoral degree and supervised clinical experience.
The most common titles used for this license are "Marriage and Family Therapist" or "Marital and Family Therapist."
There are an estimated 48,000 marriage and family therapists in the United States and Canada. All laws regulate marriage and family therapists at the independent level of practice, with 20 states also regulating entry level therapists.
In the United States, the number of states regulating marriage and family therapy has grown rapidly--from 11 in 1986 to 50 in 2009 (plus the District of Columbia).
In Canada, currently two provinces have passed legislation to regulate the practice of marriage and family therapy.
States or provinces not listed here rely on the professional designation of AAMFT Clinical Membership to identify marriage and family therapists while their legislatures consider regulatory legislation.