Frequently Asked Questions about Approved Supervisors

I am a new Approved Supervisor applicant. How do I obtain a copy of the latest Approved Supervisor Designation: Standards Handbook?
click here

What do I need to do to begin training to become an AAMFT Approved Supervisor?

Make sure you meet the prerequisites and that you can reasonably expect to fulfill all the requirements. The process is outlined in Section One of the handbook. Explore and identify the best means for you to take the Fundamentals of MFT Supervision course as soon as reasonably possible. Identify and contract with an Approved Supervisor who qualifies as a mentor, and begin training. Ask all mentors to complete verification of mentoring forms for documentation to trainees. Your training period begins when you start to supervise trainees and concurrently receive mentoring.

Do I need to send in anything to AAMFT before I begin training for the Approved Supervisor designation?
No. AAMFT has no designation for supervisor candidates and does not pre-approve training.

What AAMFT membership requirements must be met before I begin training?
You must hold an Early Professional or a Full Professional membership with Clinical Fellow Designation to be a supervisor candidate. Students in COAMFTE accredited doctoral programs can begin training with a Professional (DS- Doctoral Student) membership. By the time you complete your supervisor candidate training and submit your Approved Supervisor application packet, you must be a Full Professional member with Clinical Fellow Designation or an Early Professional member if you are a graduate of a COAMFTE accredited doctoral program, and submitting the Approved Supervisor application under the doctoral track.

Can supervisor candidates be grand-parented under a previous training standard?
No. Supervisor candidates will not be grand- parented under a previous training standard. All supervisor candidates must complete their training under the current standards. 

Are training requirements to become an Approved Supervisor ever waived?
No. The training requirements were established by the AAMFT Board of Directors and they apply to all prospective Approved Supervisors. They are not waived, and exceptions are not granted.

Is being accepted as a supervisor in my state/province the same as being an AAMFT Approved Supervisor?
No. AAMFT Approved Supervisors have gone through training designed by AAMFT to promote the highest level of proficiency for supervisors. The organization's designation signifies to other professionals that the Approved Supervisor has gone through a prescribed training program of education and mentoring, and has demonstrated skills in the provision of MFT clinical supervision. States/provinces and other organizations may not have the same guidelines as AAMFT.

Where can I find an AAMFT Approved Supervisor for mentoring?
Consult with MFTs in your area for recommendations for an Approved Supervisor mentor who may be a good fit for you. You can also search for available supervisors in our Approved Supervisor Directory here.   

Can I use an "alternate supervisor" as a mentor to train for the Approved Supervisor designation?
No. A current AAMFT Approved Supervisor who fits the guidelines of experience in the handbook must provide mentoring and oversee the training process of supervision candidates.

Do I have to take an AAMFT offered or pre-approved fundamentals of supervision course, or can I take a course in my area?

All supervision courses must be offered by or pre-approved by AAMFT to satisfy the requirement for an AAMFT Approved Supervisor designation. A list of AAMFT-offered courses can be found at under "Enhance Knowledge" and "Approved Supervisor Resources" Courses are primarily offered online. 

For the 30-hour fundamentals of supervision course, AAMFT offers two different options for course completion that will best fit participants’ particular needs of becoming an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. The first option is a hybrid course, consisting of 15 hours of interactive hours and 15 hours of online work. The second option is a fully virtual, 30-hour course with no online work. Both Hybrid and Virtual options cover the same learning objectives. The only difference between them is the layout of the course. 

Under the doctoral track, the fundamentals of supervision course through the COAMFTE doctoral program must be pre-approved by AAMFT.  Only individuals enrolled in a COAMFTE accredited doctoral program may take the pre-approved full 30-hour fundamentals of supervision course through their degree program.

Courses that were formerly pre-approved by AAMFT are no longer approved as of July 1, 2015.

If my supervision fundamentals course is over five years old by the time I'm ready to apply, do I have to take the full course over? What if it is 10 years old?
If you completed the fundamentals course in its entirety but it has been longer than five years (but less than 10 years) at the time of application, you must either take the entire 30-hour course again or "update" the course by: completing a 6-hour refresher course. This is to ensure that newly designated Approved Supervisors will have recent exposure to supervision literature and evolving supervision techniques.

If you completed the fundamentals course in its entirety, but it has been longer than 10 years at the time of your application, you must take the entire 30-hour fundamentals course again. This is to ensure that newly designated Approved Supervisors will have recent exposure to supervision literature and evolving supervision techniques.

If I did everything but the personal philosophy of supervision paper and it’s been more than five years, must I take the whole course over?
Yes. According to the current standards, in both the options of Hybrid and Virtual Fundamentals of Supervision course, the personal philosophy of supervision paper must be completed within 30 days from the last day of the interactive session. “It is important to remember that the participants do need to dedicate time to attend all the required sessions in its entirety and complete the paper before the deadline. Unfortunately, no exception is made once the course deadline expires in thirty days, and retaking the entire course is the only alternate.   

If I let my designation lapse, must I take the Fundamentals course again?
No. You may reapply after taking a supervision refresher course as long as that course was taken within two years of your re-applying.

I want to apply for the Approved Supervisor designation, but I received supervision mentoring more than two years ago. Will it count?
The hours of supervision mentoring will be allowed to count towards the AAMFT Approved Supervisor designation provided they meet the following criteria:

  • The mentor(s) were AAMFT Approved Supervisor(s) at the time the mentoring was provided,
  • You provided no supervision without mentoring,
  • At least 90 hours of supervision and 18 hours of mentoring are completed within 2 years of applying for the designation,
  • Ask each mentor to verify your training and skills with a mentor report to document your training. It is the final Mentor’s ethical responsibility to be sure s/he is familiar enough with your training and skills (at least 10 hours of mentoring) to give a recommendation to AAMFT.
I am a supervisor candidate. Can I advertise that I am in training for the AAMFT Approved Supervisor designation?
“Supervisor candidate” is not a membership category of AAMFT and it should not be used in advertisements as a title or a designation. You may put this information on a CV, or resume, or in a description of activities (e.g., "provides MFT supervision under AAMFT mentoring"). When indicating the fact that you are a supervisor candidate, you are ethically obligated to be clear that you are in training, and have not yet received the designation. Do not imply that you will be awarded the designation by a certain date. Offer to provide a completed supervisor candidate verification form to trainees for their own documentation of supervision and to anyone who has an interest in your progress toward the designation.

I am a supervisor candidate and have finished my mentoring hours. May I continue to supervise without mentoring until I finish my supervision hours or receive the designation?
No. All supervision by a supervisor candidate must be done under mentoring until the Approved Supervisor designation is awarded by AAMFT.

Will the supervision provided by a supervisor candidate count toward a trainee's AAMFT membership? License?
Supervision provided by a supervisor candidate under ongoing supervision of supervision by a current Approved Supervisor mentor may count toward the supervision hours needed for AAMFT membership.

To assure that the supervision candidate is qualified to provide the supervision, the trainee should be provided with a copy of the supervisor candidate verification form. Trainees include this documentation with their membership applications when they are ready to apply for their membership.

Whether or not such supervision counts toward a trainee’s license or certification depends upon the laws and requirements of the trainee's jurisdiction, which should be determined before beginning supervision.

What can I do if my mentor has died or for some other reason I cannot locate him or her?
In general, it is important to have and keep documentation of your mentoring through a verification of mentoring form and log of mentoring. If this is not possible, contact AAMFT for advice.

Once I become an Approved Supervisor, do I carry the designation for life?
No. The term Approved Supervisor implies that the holder is actively engaged in and available to provide clinical supervision. The designation is awarded for five years and may be renewed. The renewal process, including the continuing education requirement. A person must also maintain their AAMFT membership and pay a $100 annual supervision renewal fee to maintain the designation. Failure to pay the renewal fee will result in the designation being dropped.

I am an Approved Supervisor near the end of my five-year term, and I understand that there is a continuing education requirement for renewal. May I substitute other courses or workshops in place of the Approved Supervisor Refresher course?
No. The six-hour Approved Supervisor refresher courses are specifically designed to cover the material experienced Approved Supervisors need updating and to provide opportunities for experienced supervisors to interact around common concerns and questions. Effective July 1, 2015, AAMFT is the exclusive provider for all supervision courses, including the 6-hour refresher course. You can find the dates of and register for a refresher course online here .

What happens if I do not renew my designation upon my five-year renewal date?

If the requirements for the five-year renewal are not completed and submitted to AAMFT by the deadline indicated on the renewal notification, the designation will automatically be resigned. If you wish to regain the designation at a future point, you will be required to demonstrate that you have taken an Approved Supervisor refresher course within two years prior to reapplication.

To renew the designation after five years, do I only need to take the refresher course, and it will be renewed automatically?
No, in addition to taking the refresher course, you must also complete and send in an Approved Supervisor renewal form which you can access on the Approved Supervisor Resources page of the website or here .

When I have finished my final application, where and how do I send it?
You must scan and email it to or fax it to 703-838-9805. We are no longer accepting mailed-in applications.

What are the fees for becoming an Approved Supervisor and for maintaining the designation? 
(These fees and dues are in addition to annual AAMFT membership dues and are subject to change)


Approved Supervisor Application Processing Fee (non-refundable; includes initial dues) $  200.00
Annual dues for the Approved Supervisor designation $  100.00

Doctoral Track-specific FAQs

Do I have to graduate from a COAMFTE accredited doctoral program in order to apply for the designation under the doctoral track?
Yes. You do have to graduate from a COAMFTE accredited doctoral program in order to be eligible to apply for the designation under the doctoral track. Your degree has to have been awarded already.

What does my membership status need to be during my training period and at the time I submit my application?
You must maintain the highest level of membership you are eligible for during your training period and at the time you submit application. Early Professional (Doctorate) or Full Professional membership with Clinical Fellow Designation is acceptable during training period and Early Professional or Full Professional membership with Clinical Fellow Designation is acceptable at the time you apply for the designation, unless you are eligible at that time for a higher category of membership. For instance, if you hold an Early Professional membership at the time you apply for the supervisor designation under the doctoral track, but you already hold the highest level of MFT licensure in a state, we will not be able to approve you for the designation until you have transferred your membership to Full Professional with Clinical Fellow Designation.

How long can I be an Approved Supervisor and maintain Pre-Clinical Fellow Membership? 
All Approved Supervisors must hold Full Professional membership with Clinical Fellow Designation at the time of their first 5-year designation renewal, regardless of membership status at the time of applying for the designation. 

Do I have to have a mentor from the faculty, and does s/he has to be an AAMFT Approved Supervisor?
Yes, the program must have a faculty member who qualifies and serves as an Approved Supervisor mentor for students.

What happens if I attend but do not graduate from a COAMFTE doctoral program?
Individuals who attend but do not graduate from a COAMFTE accredited doctoral program may count a Fundamentals of Supervision course and all of their supervision and mentoring hours during the program toward the Approved Supervisor designation. However, they must fulfill all other requirements, including total supervision and mentoring hours, and hold Full Professional membership with Clinical Fellow Designation at time of application for the designation as outlined in section one of the supervision handbook.

Approved Supervisor Directory

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) is providing this Approved Supervisor Directory (Directory) as a benefit for AAMFT members only. Access to and use of this Directory or any of the information contained in this Directory by persons who are not members of AAMFT is prohibited.

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