LMFT Education Requirements - Effective August 1, 2012

New LMFT education requirements take effect August 1, 2012, and apply to the following individuals:

  • Applicants for licensure or registration who began graduate study on or after August 1, 2012.
  • Applicants who began graduate study before August 1, 2012, and who graduated from a degree program that meets the requirements stipulated in Business and Professions Code Section 4980.36; or
  • Applicants who began graduate study before August 1, 2012, and did not complete that study on or before December 31, 2018.

Degree Program Requirements

  • The degree program must contain no less than 60 semester or 90 quarter units of instruction.
  • The degree program does the following:

  1. Throughout its curriculum, integrates marriage and family therapy principles, the principles of mental health recovery-oriented care and methods of service delivery in recovery-oriented practice environments, and an understanding of various cultures and the social and psychological implications of socioeconomic position, and an understanding of how poverty and social stress impact an individual's mental health and recovery;
  2. Allows for innovation and individuality in the education of marriage and family therapists;
  3. Encourages students to develop the personal qualities that are intimately related to effective practice;
  4. Permits an emphasis or specialization that may address any one or more of the unique and complex array of human problems, symptoms, and needs of Californians served by marriage and family therapists; and
  5. Provides students with the opportunity to meet with various consumers and family members of consumers of mental health services to enhance understanding of their experience of mental illness, treatment, and recovery.

  • The degree program includes no less than 12 semester or 18 quarter units of coursework in theories, principles, and methods of a variety of psychotherapeutic orientations directly related to marriage and family therapy and marital and family symptoms approaches to treatment and how these theories can be applied therapeutically with individuals, couples, families, adults, including elder adults, children, adolescents, and groups to improve, restore, or maintain healthy relationships, as stipulated in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(1)(A).
  • The degree program includes no less than six semester or nine quarter units of practicum that involves direct client contact in a supervised clinical placement that provides supervised fieldwork experience, and adheres to the requirements stipulated in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(1)(B)(iv).
  • The practicum in the degree program includes a minimum of 150 hours of face-to-face experience counseling individuals, couples, families, or groups (BPC Section 4980.36(d)(1)(B)(ii)).
  • In addition to the 150 hours of face-to-face experience, the practicum must include 75 hours of either of the following:
  • Client-centered advocacy, as defined in Section 4980.03; or
  • Face-to-face experience counseling individuals, couples, families, or groups (BPC Section 4980.36(d)(1)(vi)).
  • The degree program includes instruction in diagnosis, assessment, prognosis, and treatment of mental disorders (Psychopathology), as specified in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(2)(A).
  • The degree program includes instruction in developmental issues from infancy to old age and all areas of study specified in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(2)(B).
  • The degree program includes instruction in the broad range of matters and life events that may arise within marriage and family relationships and within a variety of California cultures and includes instruction in all areas of study specified in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(2)(C).
  • The degree program includes instruction in cultural competency and sensitivity and the areas of study specified in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(2)(D).
  • The degree program includes instruction in multicultural development, cross-cultural interaction, and the areas of study specified in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(2)(E).
  • The degree program includes instruction in the effects of socioeconomic status on treatment and available resources, as specified in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(2)(F).
  • The degree program includes instruction in resilience and the areas of study specified in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(2)(G).
  • The degree program includes instruction in human sexuality and the areas of study specified in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(2)(H).
  • The degree program includes instruction in substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, addiction, and the areas of study specified in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(2)(I).
  • The degree program includes instruction in California law and professional ethics for marriage and family therapists and the areas of study specified in BPC Section 4980.36(d)(2)(J).
  • The degree program includes instruction in case management, systems of care for the severely mentally ill, public and private services and supports available for the severely mentally ill, community resources for persons with mental illness and for victims of abuse, disaster and trauma response, advocacy for the severely mentally ill, and collaborative treatment, as specified in BPC Section 4980.36(e).

Please refer to BPC Section 4980.36 for the exact education requirements effective August 1, 2012.

How Are the Education Requirements Changing August 1, 2012?

The main difference in the requirements that go into effect August 1, 2012, is the separation of the additional coursework requirements, such as human sexuality and psychopharmacology. The new requirements integrate these areas into the degree program requirements, rather than treating them as separate courses that may be completed outside of the degree program. Applicants that fall under the requirements effective August 1, 2012, must meet the qualifying degree program requirements in order to be registered as an MFT Intern. Under the previous requirements, some of the additional coursework could be completed outside of the degree program and after being issued an intern registration number.

A list of schools with MFT programs is provided on the BBS Web site. Please contact the school for more information on whether or not the degree meets the necessary requirements.