Path to Licensure

Do you want to become a marriage and family therapist?

The state of Massachusetts has a specific process that can help you get education requirements, employment opportunities, and eventually, a license to practice marriage and family therapy in Massachusetts.

Step One: Get a Masters degree, with coursework in marriage and family therapy.

Massachusetts has a number of universities that have graduate studies in marriage and family therapy. Please contact the program directors for more information about their programs.

Massachusetts requires you to graduate from a 60-hour Masters program. Many out-of-state Masters programs, including all COAMFTE-approved programs, meet the expectations of the Allied Board of Mental Health. If your degree contained fewer than 60 graduate hours, you may need to enroll in further graduate programs or attain a CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study). Please note that if you’re relocating to Massachusetts, completion of a 45 graduate hour degree suffices only if it was attained before July 1, 1999.

Step Two: Gain professional experience at a mental-health agency, clinic, or hospital.

Post-graduates must complete a minimum of two years full-time (or 3360 hours part time) in an organization that meets the standards of the Department of Mental Health, such as an agency, clinic, or hospital.

The two-years full time must include a minimum of 1000 hours of face-to-face client hours; a minimum of 500 of these hours must involve either couples or families.

Applicants are required to attain 200 hours of supervision, of which 100 must be individual supervision. Supervisors have to be licensed (though not necessarily LMFTs) and in a supervisory position within their agencies/places of employment.

Step Three: Pass the National Exam.

Massachusetts accepts the national marriage and family therapy exam. The national exam can be taken while you are accruing post-graduate hours.

Testing windows in Massachusetts are the third full week of every month (Saturday to Saturday). Please complete the first eight pages of the licensure packet prior to the initial day of the testing window. Upon review, the Allied Board of Mental Health will send an invitation to take the test, including the registration process and exam fees.

The national exam can be completed at any Prometric Testing Center in the United States. The Family Solutions Institute provides print and online study materials.

If you’ve already taken the national exam and moving to Massachusetts from another state, please contact the AMFTRB to request a score transfer.

Step Four: Complete the Application for Licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist

Make sure that you add a 2×2 photo of yourself with the completed application.

The application fee is $117, and checks can be made out to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Also, make sure that you include your official transcripts from your graduate program and verification of membership in AAMFT (though you do not have to be a member in order to apply).

The application includes two reference forms, information sheets for your supervision process, and a criminal offender record information request form. Make sure that the latter form is notarized.

The mailing address is:

Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals
Division of Professional Licensure
1000 Washington St, Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118-6100

Step Five: Receive your License in Marriage and Family Therapy!

The reviewers of applications for the board meet once a month, and will notify you upon acceptance of your application.


Moving To and From Another State:

New Massachusetts residents with licenses in other states and countries may receive a Massachusetts license through reciprocity if their license was granted based on requirements that have equivalent/more stringent standards than the Massachusetts requirements. Many US state’s licenses have been accepted as equivalent, some have not. The Board of Allied Mental Health makes this determination on a case-by-case basis, as each application is received, so please check with the Board directly about your existing license before moving to Massachusetts. Active military, veterans and their spouses will be given special consideration for licensure by reciprocity.

In the case of California, the national licensing exam and some master’s level credits have been determined to be not equivalent, as California uses its own exam and a different model for identifying credit hours. If you apply with a California license, the Board will review your credentials and provide you with a path to licensure. Please note that it can include taking the National exam, enrolling in masters-level course work from a local university, and re-collecting clinical supervision hours.

For More Information:

Please contact the Board of Allied Mental Health at 617-727-0084 or at amh.board@state.ma.us.