LMFT License Requirements
- SB 632 – Trainee Practicum Requirements
- New education requirements take effect August 1, 2012. These new requirements only affect individuals who begin or complete graduate study within a specific timeframe. Please read the information below for details on these new education requirements and who they affect. Contact your school to find out if your program adopted the new requirements.
- SB 363 (Chapter 384, Statutes of 2011) made a number of changes to experience requirements for LMFTs effective January 1, 2012.
- SB 363 Sections Affected
- FAQs on Client-Centered Advocacy for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Applicants
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Prior to mailing any application to the Board, we strongly encourage all applicants to review their application and verify the application is complete and includes all required forms and appropriate fees. A completed application provides the applicant the best opportunity to avoid delays in approving the applicant for the licensure examination.
This information is a brief outline of the license requirements for someone who wants to pursue licensure as an LMFT in the State of California. For more detailed information, please refer to Navigating the MFT Licensing Process.
The Board requires applicants to possess a qualifying Doctor's or Master's degree. Please see BPC sections 4980.36, 4980.37, and 4980.41 of the Board's Statutes and Regulations for more information on degree qualifications.
Applicants Beginning Graduate Study Before August 1, 2012, and Complete Graduate Study Before December 31, 2018
Applicants who fall within this timeframe will not be affected by the education requirements that take effect August 1, 2012, unless the graduate program adopted these new requirements prior to August 1, 2012. Please contact your school to find out if your program adopted the new requirements.
Additional coursework required prior to licensing examination for applicants beginning graduate study before before August 1, 2012 and completing graduate study on or before December 31, 2018 ONLY:
- Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting (7 hours)
- Human Sexuality (10 hours)
- Alcoholism and Chemical Substance Abuse Dependency (15 hours must be taken in qualifying degree program)
- Spousal/Partner Abuse Detection and Intervention (15 hours for those who entered degree program on or after 1/1/2004; Course can be any length for those who entered a qualifying degree program between 1/1/1995 to 12/31/2003: Must be taken in qualifying degree program).
- Psychological Testing (2 semester units or 3 quarter units only for those who entered a qualifying degree program on or after 1/1/2001)
- Psychopharmacology (2 semester units or 3 quarter units only for those who entered a qualifying degree program on or after 1/1/2001)
- California Law and Professional Ethics (2 semester units or 3 quarter units)
- Aging and Long Term Care (10 hours only for those who entered a degree program on or after 1/1/2004; For all others this is not a pre-licensure requirement)
Refer to BPC Section 4980.37 for all education requirements that apply within this timeframe.
New Education Requirements Effective August 1, 2012:
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.
The LMFT Education Requirements - Effective August 1, 2012 has additional details on these new requirements. Please contact your school to find out if your program adopted the new requirements.
Notice to All California residents
If you are enrolled in or considering an online degree program that is based in another state, please be aware that your degree will be evaluated in accordance with California in-state degree requirements. Please contact your school to ensure that the program integrates the California-specific content required of California residents. This coursework must be integrated into the program and cannot be remediated post-degree. Therefore, it is imperative that the California-specific requirements are included in the degree program.
- 104 weeks of supervision
- 3,000 hours of supervised work experience.
Please refer to the documents below for a breakdown of supervised experience requirements for the relevant timeframe.
- LMFT Breakdown of Required Experience for Hours Gained On or After January 1, 2012.
- LMFT Breakdown of Required Experience for Hours Gained On or After January 1, 2010, and before January 1, 2012.
For Hours Gained on or After January 1, 2010, and before January 1, 2012:
- LMFT Experience Categories – Summary of Hours Permitted/Required
- Frequently Asked Questions – LMFT Supervised Experience Changes
While enrolled in a qualifying degree granting institution, an LMFT student gains hours as an MFT Trainee at school approved sites. MFT Trainees do not register with the Board.
Upon graduation, the pre-licensee must register with the Board as an MFT Intern in order to accrue post-degree hours of supervised experience towards the licensing requirements.
If the pre-licensee applies for an MFT Intern registration number within 90 days from his or her qualifying degree's conferral date, the pre-licensee can count the hours accrued in-between the degree conferral date and the issue date of the Intern registration number. The Board honors the postmark date when checking whether or not an applicant met the 90 day window.
Once an applicant meets all requirements, and the Board reviews and approves the application for examination eligibility, the applicant will receive an eligibility notice to take the LMFT Standard Written Examination. The eligibility notice indicates that the examination candidate must take the examination within one year of becoming eligible. Upon passing the Standard Written Examination, the applicant must pass a LMFT Written Clinical Vignette Examination.
When in the exam cycle, the applicant must take an examination within one year of failing an examination or within one year of passing the Standard Written Examination. The applicant must take the Clinical Vignette Examination within one year of passing the Standard Written Examination. Once an applicant passes both examinations, he or she must apply for an Initial License Issuance within one year of passing the Clinical Vignette Examination in order to receive a license number.