Marriage and Family Therapy License Requirements

General Requirements | Fees | Partial Refunds | Education Requirements | Experience Requirements | Examination Requirements | Applicants Licensed in Another State | Limited Permits

General Requirements

The practice of Marriage and Family Therapy and use of the titles "Marriage and Family Therapist", "Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist", "Licensed Marriage Therapist", and "Licensed Family Therapist" or any derivative thereof within New York State requires licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist, unless otherwise exempt under the law.

To be licensed as a marriage and family therapist in New York State you must:

  • be of good moral character;
  • be at least 21 years of age;
  • meet education requirements;
  • meet experience requirements;
  • meet examination requirements; and
  • complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse offered by a New York State approved provider.

You must file an Application for Licensure (Form 1) and the other forms indicated, along with the appropriate fee, to the Office of the Professions at the address specified on each form. It is your responsibility to follow up with anyone you have asked to send us material.

The specific requirements for licensure are contained in Title 8, Article 163, Section 8403 of the New York State Education Law and Section 52.33 and Subpart 79-10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.

You should also read the general licensing information applicable for all professions.


Fees

The fee for licensure and first registration is $371.

The fee for a limited permit is $70.

Fees are subject to change. The fee due is the one in law when your application is received (unless fees are increased retroactively). You will be billed for the difference if fees have been increased.

  • Do not send cash.
  • Make your personal check or money order payable to the New York State Education Department. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
  • Mail your application and fee to:

    New York State Education Department
    Office of the Professions
    PO Box 22063
    Albany, NY 12201

NOTE: Payment submitted from outside the United States should be made by check or draft on a United States bank and in United States currency; payments submitted in any other form will not be accepted and will be returned.


Partial Refunds

Individuals who withdraw their licensure application may be entitled to a partial refund.

  • For the procedure to withdraw your application, contact the Marriage and Family Therapy Unit by e-mailing opunit5@nysed.gov or by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 592 or by faxing 518-402-2323.
  • The State Education Department is not responsible for any fees paid to an outside testing or credentials verification agency.

If you withdraw your application, obtain a refund, and then decide to seek New York State licensure at a later date, you will be considered a new applicant, and you will be required to pay the application fee and meet the licensure requirements in place at the time you reapply.


Education Requirements

To meet the professional education requirement for licensure as a marriage and family therapist, you must present evidence of A, B or C below.

  1. A master's or doctoral degree from a program in marriage and family therapy that is:
    • registered by the Department as licensure qualifying; or
    • accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) or another acceptable accrediting agency; or
    • determined by the Department to be the substantial equivalent of such a registered or accredited program.

    OR

  2. A master's or higher degree from a program in an allied mental health field acceptable to the Department (including but not limited to social work, psychology and mental health counseling) and additional graduate level coursework, if needed, determined by the Department to provide the substantial equivalent professional education of a licensure qualifying program in Marriage and Family Therapy.

    OR

  3. Completion of a program located outside the United States and its territories that:

    • prepares individuals for the professional practice of Marriage and Family Therapy; and
    • is recognized by the appropriate civil authorities of that jurisdiction; and
    • can be appropriately verified; and
    • is determined by the Department to be the substantial equivalent of a registered licensure qualifying or acceptable accredited master's or doctoral program in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Substantial Equivalence

To be considered substantially equivalent, your program must include at least 45 semester hours, or the equivalent, of study that contains curricular content that includes but is not limited to each of the following areas:

  • at least three (3) semester hours in the study of human development, including individual, child and family development;
  • at least twelve (12) semester hours in marriage and family therapy clinical knowledge, including but not limited to psychopathology;
  • at least six (6) semester hours in marriage and family therapy theoretical knowledge;
  • family law;
  • at least three (3) semester hours in research;
  • at least three (3) semester hours in professional ethics; and
  • include a supervised practicum in marriage and family therapy of at least 300 client contact hours.

NOTE: The education requirement for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist can only be met through completion of graduate level courses at an acceptable degree granting institution. Training in an institute or by a registered individual does not meet the education requirement for licensure even if the training is accredited by a private organization.

Evidence of receipt of your degree(s) must be presented on Form 2 - Certification of Professional Education - and must be submitted directly to the Office of the Professions by the school(s) where you obtained your degree(s). If the program was not COAMFTE accredited, an official transcript is also needed.

In addition to the professional education requirement, every applicant for Marriage and Family Therapy licensure or a limited permit must complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse in accordance with Section 6507(3)(a) of the Education Law. See additional information and a list of approved providers for this training.


Experience Requirements

To meet the experience requirement for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist, you must complete at least 1,500 client contact hours in the practice of Marriage and Family Therapy. The experience may only be completed under a limited permit issued by the Department or as part of the licensure qualifying education program, for experience in New York; experience completed in other jurisdictions must be completed legally in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction. You and your supervisor must submit documentation of completion of a supervised clinical experience of at least 1,500 client contact hours providing Marriage and Family Therapy in a setting acceptable to the Department in accordance with either A or B below.

  1. If you meet the education requirement for licensure by completing a master's or doctoral degree program registered by the Department as licensure qualifying or a program that the Department determines is equivalent, you may use client contact clock hours you completed as part of the program and/or after to meet this requirement in addition to post-degree hours completed under a limited permit.

    OR

  2. If you meet the education requirement for licensure by completing a graduate degree program in an allied mental health field and additional graduate level coursework, if needed, you must obtain the supervised experience after you complete the graduate degree program in the allied mental health field.

The practice of Marriage and Family Therapy is defined as:

  • the assessment and treatment of nervous and mental disorders, whether affective, cognitive or behavioral, which results in dysfunctional interpersonal family relationships including, but not limited to familial relationships, marital/couple relationships, parent-child relationships, pre-marital and other personal relationships;
  • the use of mental health counseling, psychotherapy and therapeutic techniques to evaluate and treat marital, relational, and family systems, and individuals in relationship to these systems;
  • the use of mental health counseling and psychotherapeutic techniques to treat mental, emotional and behavioral disorders and ailments within the context of marital, relational and family systems to prevent and ameliorate dysfunction; and
  • the use of assessment instruments and mental health counseling and psychotherapy to identify and evaluate dysfunctions and disorders for purposes of providing appropriate marriage and family therapy services.

All 1,500 clock hours of the supervised experience must consist of direct contact with clients in the practice of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Experience for licensure must be completed in a legal manner, under a qualified supervisor in a setting that is authorized to provide professional services. In New York State, the experience must be under a limited permit issued by the Department for a specific setting under a qualified supervisor (see below). Experience in other jurisdictions will be evaluated to determined if the equivalent requirements have been satisfied in a legal manner.

You must apply for a license and have your education approved to be eligible for a limited permit. For additional information about limited permits, see the Limited Permits Section.

To be acceptable to the Department, your supervised experience must meet the following supervision and setting requirements.

Supervision of Experience

Your supervisor must be licensed and registered in New York State to practice Marriage and Family Therapy, medicine, as a physician assistant, psychology, licensed clinical social work, or as a registered professional nurse or nurse practitioner and competent in the practice of Marriage and Family Therapy, or must have the equivalent qualifications as determined by the Department for experience completed in another jurisdiction.

You must obtain experience for licensure while under the general supervision of a qualified supervisor. General supervision means that a qualified supervisor is available for consultation, assessment and evaluation when professional services are being rendered by an applicant and the supervisor exercises the degree of supervision appropriate to the circumstances.

The supervisor must provide at least one hour per week or four hours per month of in-person individual or group supervision where the supervisor:

  • reviews yourr assessment, evaluation and treatment of each client under his or her general supervision; and
  • provides oversight, guidance and direction to you in developing skills as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

In addition, the supervisor is responsible for appropriate oversight of all services provided by a limited permit holder under his or her general supervision. No supervisor can supervise more than five limited permit holders at one time.

All supervised experience must be verified by your supervisor(s) using a Certification of Supervised Experience (Form 4B). Acceptable verification should include an attestation by the actual supervisor. In cases where such attestation is not available, the Department may accept an attestation of the duration and frequency of the supervised experience and the qualifications of the supervisor submitted by a licensed colleague.

Setting for Experience

The setting where the experience is obtained must be a location where legally authorized individuals provide services that constitute the practice of Marriage and Family Therapy, as defined in Education Law, and must be responsible for the services provided by individuals gaining experience for licensure. The setting cannot be a private practice owned or operated by you. If the experience is completed in a setting other than the permit setting, you must submit an operating certificate or certificate of incorporation that indicates the entity is authorized to employ licensed professionals and provide services that are restricted under Title VIII of the Education Law.

An acceptable setting is defined in the Commissioner’s Regulations as:

  1. a professional corporation, registered limited liability partnership, or professional service limited liability company authorized to provide services that are within the scope of practice of Marriage and Family Therapy;
  2. a sole proprietorship owned by a licensee who provide services that are within the scope of his or her profession and services that are within the scope of practice of Marriage and Family Therapy;
  3. a professional partnership owned by licensees who provide services that are within scope of practice of Marriage and Family Therapy;
  4. a hospital or clinic authorized under Article 28 of the Public Health Law to provide services that are within the scope of practice of Marriage and Family Therapy;
  5. a program or facility authorized under the Mental Hygiene Law to provide services that are within the scope of practice of Marriage and Family Therapy;
  6. a program or facility authorized under Federal Law to provide services that are within the scope of practice of Marriage and Family Therapy;
  7. an entity defined as exempt from the licensing requirements or otherwise authorized under New York State law or the laws of the jurisdiction in which the entity is located to provide services that are within the scope of practice of Marriage and Family Therapy.

The setting where the experience is gained is responsible for the services provided by individuals gaining experience for licensure. The setting is also responsible for providing adequate supervision to such individuals and for assigning a qualified supervisor, as defined in this section, to individuals gaining experience for licensure.


Examination Requirements

Please note: New York State candidates for the Marriage and Family Therapist licensing examinations must have completed their graduate program and received the graduate degree as a condition for admission to the examination. Applicants for licensure will not be approved to take the examination prior to receipt of the graduate degree.

To meet the examination requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in New York State, you must pass the "Examination in Marital and Family Therapy" developed by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) and administered by Professional Examination Services (PES). New York does not accept the California examination for licensure.

Before being admitted to the examination for New York State licensure, you must:

  • Submit an Application for Licensure (Form 1) and fee ($371) to the New York State Education Department.
  • Ask your school to verify your education directly to the New York State Education Department on the Certification of Professional Education form (Form 2).
  • Receive notification of approval of your education and all application materials from the New York State Education Department. (We will notify you when you have satisfied the examination eligibility requirements.)

We will notify PES of your eligibility for the examination approximately six (6) weeks prior to the examination.

PES will send you an invitation e-mail including the instructions for registering on-line for the examination once they have been notified of your eligibility. Please note that paper applications are no longer accepted and will not be processed by PES. 

Professional Examination Service (PES)
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115-0089
Phone 800-207-1962

If you previously passed the National Marital & Family examination in another jurisdiction, we may accept a score transfer. The instructions to request the score report can be obtained from the examination booklet on the AMFTRB Website: www.amftrb.org External Link Icon . We cannot accept scores reported by you or another jurisdiction.

Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards
1843 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
E-mail info@amftrb.org
Web www.amftrb.org External Link Icon

NOTE: New York State will not accept an examination given under non-standard conditions except per the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Examples of such non-standard conditions include the use of a dictionary or extra time for applicants whose primary language is other than English. If a candidate passed the examination under non-standard conditions for another jurisdiction, that candidate may be required to retake the examination under standard conditions.

Reasonable Testing Accommodations

If you have a disability and may require reasonable testing accommodations for the examination, you must complete and submit a Request for Reasonable Testing Accommodations form ( PDF 23 KB). You must mail the Request for Reasonable Testing Accommodations form to the address printed on that form, along with the required documentation. You will be notified in writing as to whether or not your request for accommodations has been approved. If your request is approved, it will be valid for 1 year from the date of the approval notification. A copy of your accommodation approval must be attached to your AMFTRB examination registration form. You may not test until your request for accommodations has been processed by the Department. If you schedule a test before your request for accommodations has been processed, you may lose any fee paid to the examination administrator. Please be sure to check the box in item 8 of your Application for Licensure (Form 1) if you are requesting accommodations.


Applicants Licensed In Another Jurisdiction

If you are or have been licensed/certified in another jurisdiction(s), you must request the licensing authority of the jurisdiction(s) to provide verification of your licensure/certification on a Verification of Other Professional Licensure/Certification (Form 3). The Form 3 will be reviewed to determine if you have prior disciplinary history which may constitute a question of moral character for the license or limited permit.

Licensure by Endorsement

An applicant seeking endorsement of a license in Marriage and Family Therapy issued by another jurisdiction must present evidence of having completed 5 years of licensed practice in the 10 years prior to applying for licensure in New York State. You must have been licensed in the other jurisdiction by meeting the following requirements:

  • being at least 21 years of age;
  • holding a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy or a related field that at the time of completion qualified you for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in another jurisdiction;
  • completing supervised experience in Marriage and Family Therapy and psychotherapy that qualified you for initial licensure in the other jurisdiction; and
  • passing an examination acceptable to the New York State Education Department for the practice of Marriage and Family Therapy.

You must be of good moral character, as determined by the Department, and complete the required course work in the identification and reporting of child abuse or the exemption from such course work, as required in Section 6507(3) of the Education Law.

If you cannot certify 5 years of acceptable post-licensure experience in the 10 years prior to applying for a New York State license, you are not eligible for licensure by endorsement and must apply as an applicant for initial licensure. If your initial license in Marriage and Family Therapy was issued by a jurisdiction that does not have significantly comparable licensure required to New York State, you will need to submit all of the documentation required of an applicant for initial licensure so that the Education Department can determine whether your personal qualifications are substantially similar to New York State’s licensure requirements.

To apply for licensure by endorsement you must submit:

  • an Application for Licensure (Form 1) along with the $371 fee; and
  • verification of your licensure status from the jurisdiction in which you were initially licensed, and if it is different, from any other jurisdiction in which you are or have been licensed. Each licensing authority must complete and submit a Verification of Other Professional Licensure/Certification (Form 3); and
  • an Endorsement Applicant Experience Record (Form 4E); and
  • a Certification of Licensed Experience (Form 4F) completed and submitted by the licensed colleague who is attesting to your 5 years of post-licensure experience within the last 10 years.

In addition, you must have AMFTRB submit your examination scores to the Department.


Limited Permits

A limited permit allows an individual who has submitted an Application for Licensure (Form 1) and who, in the determination of the Department, has satisfied all the requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist except the examination and/or experience requirements to practice Marriage and Family Therapy under the appropriate supervision while meeting the requirements.

Limited permits are only issued for specific practice sites in New York State under a qualified supervisor acceptable to the Department. The setting must be authorized to employ licensed professionals and provide services that are restricted under Title VIII of the Education Law. Appropriate supervision and allowable practice sites are the same as those for the experience requirements specified above. Effective January 1, 2006, one must be licensed or otherwise exempt to practice Marriage and Family Therapy or supervise a permit holder.

The limited permit is valid for a period of two years. The permit may be extended for up to two additional one-year periods at the discretion of the Department if the Department determines that the permit holder has made good faith efforts to successfully complete the examination and/or experience requirement but has not passed the licensing examination or completed the experience requirement, or has other good cause as determined by the Department for not completing the examination and/or experience requirement. To request an extension of your limited permit, you must submit a new Application for Limited Permit (Form 5) and a fee of $70 along with a justification for the extension.

You may apply for a limited permit by submitting the Application for Limited Permit (Form 5) and fee of $70 at the same time or any time after you submit your Application for Licensure (Form 1), licensure fee of $371, and evidence of satisfactory education using a Certification of Professional Education (Form 2). Practice without a permit is not allowed and any experience obtained without a limited permit may not be acceptable for licensure. You may not practice until the limited permit is issued by the Department.

Last Updated: April 7, 2014