The information below is collected from state licensure boards or regulatory agencies responsible for regulating the professions of marriage and family therapy. The information is reviewed on an annual basis. Please be advised that laws, regulations, and policies may change at any time, so always check with your state for the most up-to-date information.
California has one MFT license and one registered title; Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT), and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).
Associate Registration Requirements
- A master's or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy, or a related topic with equivalent coursework, from a regionally-accredited program, or a COAMFTE-accredited program.
- Must include a six-semester or nine quarter units of practicum, with a minimum of 150 hours of direct client contact. Must also include 75 hours of either client-centered advocacy and/or face-to-face counseling experience.
- A plan established to complete hours of work experience and supervision.
- Must pass the California Law and Ethics exam. If an applicant does not pass, the applicant must re-take the exam for each registration renewal until passed.
- This registration must be renewed annually, for up to six years.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Marriage and Family Therapist License Requirements
- Completion of the requirements for the AMFT registration.
- Pass the clinical exam, and an exam on California Law and Ethics.
- Completion of two years of post-degree work experience as an MFT.
- A minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised experience, during a period of at least 104 weeks.
- A minimum of 1,700 hours must be earned post-degree, and a maximum of 1,300 hours obtained during graduate training may count towards this requirement.
- A minimum of 1,750 hours of direct counseling to individuals, groups, couples, or families. A minimum of 500 of which must be with families, couples, or children.
- A maximum of 1,250 hours of nonclinical practice.
- One hour of direct supervisor contact is required for every five hours of client contact. No more than six hours of supervision shall be credited during any single week.
Licensure by Endorsement (Portability)
Read more details on California MFT licensure
California Board of Behavioral Sciences
- Must provide verification of licenses held in other jurisdictions, with evidence of no disciplinary action.
- The requirements of licensure in the previous state must be equivalent or exceed the requirements for California licensure, as determined by the Board.
- If the applicant has less than 3,000 hours of supervised experience, time actively licensed as a MFT shall be accepted at a rate of 100 hours per month, up to a maximum of 1,200 hours, if the applicant also completed a practicum during graduate training.
- The applicant can complete additional educational requirements while registered as an associate.
- Must pass the California Law and Ethics exam.
- Guide to LMFT Out-of-State Applicant Requirements
In order to renew a license, a licensee must complete continuing education every 24 months.
State Officials & Legislative Information