State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the procedure for obtaining a Marriage and Family Therapy license so difficult?
Although the process may seem difficult at times, all of the steps required are to make sure that practitioners of Marriage and Family Therapy (M.F.T.) in New Jersey are appropriately prepared to provide effective and ethical clinical treatment. The New Jersey Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners (the Board) is concerned about the MFT profession, but our primary charge is to protect the public; we are part of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. We are also responsible for enforcing the New Jersey Practicing Marriage and Family Therapy Act, found in the New Jersey Statutes at N.J.S.A. 45:8B-1 through 33, and the Regulations relating to the practice, found in the Administrative Code at N.J.A.C. 13:34-1.1 through 9.6.
Where can I go to find out information such as how to become licensed as an M.F.T. practitioner, the requirements for licensure, the licensure standards, and the continuing education hours needed?
The State of New Jersey has Statutes and Regulations that govern all aspects of the profession of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. It is essential to review and be familiar with the relevant sections of the New Jersey Statutes (N.J.S.A. 45:8B-1 through 33) and the New Jersey Regulations (N.J.A.C. 13:34-1.1 through 9.6). The answer to just about any question you may have can be found in the
statutes and regulations.
Why and when should I submit a Three-Year Temporary Permit application?
You should submit an application for the temporary permit prior to starting your supervised experience hours after graduating, although you can complete the application at any time during your supervised experience. The approval of the temporary permit application assures you that if you work on the plan as proposed, your hours will count toward licensure. Without a permit, you are risking that your hours may not count when you apply for licensure, due to one of many possible factors (e.g., a graduate degree that does not qualify, supervision to client-contact-hour ratio is incorrect, the supervisor is not qualified, etc. It is recommended that you submit your application for the Three-Year Temporary Permit prior to beginning your supervised experience.
Who may supervise me after I complete my degree and before I obtain licensure?
N.J.A.C. 13:34-4.3 requires that a supervisor must be an individual who has no less than five full-time years of professional marriage and family therapy experience or the equivalent and has either:
- a New Jersey license to practice as a marriage and family therapist; or
- obtained from an accredited institution a minimum of:
- a master's degree in marriage and family therapy; or
- a master's degree in social work;
- a graduate degree in a related field and has demonstrated to the Board that he or she has completed substantially equivalent course work content and training to a master's degree in marriage and family therapy; or
- a graduate degree in a related field which does not provide training and course work substantially equivalent in content to a master's degree in marriage and family therapy, but is either a post graduate degree recognized by the Board, or a program of training and course work at an institute or training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.
How many hours of clinical supervision can be group supervision?
The Regulations at
N.J.A.C. 13:34-4.3(b)1ii, allow up to half of the required supervision hours (200 of the 400 hours) to be in group supervision. Group supervision consists of no more than six supervisees in a room at a time. Individual supervision can consist of one or two supervisees in a room, and at least 200 hours must be individual supervision. All 400 hours may be individual supervision.
How many hours of supervised clinical experience do I have to complete post-degree?
It depends on your terminal degree. If you have a master's degree, you are required to complete a minimum of two years of supervised marriage and family therapy experience after the degree. Your single year of general counseling may occur before receiving the degree or after. If you have a post-master's degree (e.g., Ed.S., Ph.D.), then you must complete a minimum of one of the two required years of supervised marriage and family therapy experience after you have been awarded the degree. You may complete the other year of marriage and family therapy experience and the one year of general counseling before or after receiving the degree.
How are the general counseling hours different from the marriage and family therapy hours?
General counseling hours can be in any setting in which an individual provides the application of mental health and human development principles through client contact in order to facilitate human development and adjustment throughout the lifespan. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, school and pastoral counseling. General counseling is 1,500 clockwork hours over a year and is not limited by the requirements of a supervisor or a specific breakdown of weekly hour requirements. Administrative or clinical hours are acceptable.
Marriage and family therapy hours are defined as the rendering of professional marriage and family therapy services under supervision to individuals, couples and families, singly or in groups, whether in the general public or in organizations, whether public or private. It is an ongoing process supervised by a qualified marriage and family therapy supervisor who monitors the performance of the intern or permit holder and who provides regular, documented, face-to-face consultation, guidance, and instruction with the intern or permit holder with respect to the marriage and family therapy with individuals, couples and families. The qualified supervisor monitors the competencies of the intern or permit holder. Each year of marriage and family therapy experience is 1,500 hours over 50 weeks. Each week is broken down into the following:
- A minimum of 20 hours per week of actual marriage and family therapy client contact, with a minimum of one hour of supervision for every five hours of client contact; and
- A minimum of four hours of supervision per week, at least two hours of which shall be individual face-to-face supervision (the remaining two hours may be individual or group supervision); and
- A minimum of six hours per week in other work-related activities such as preparing and maintaining client records, report writing, maintaining appointment schedules, communicating with other professionals, preparing for supervision, preparing and maintaining financial records, and any other activities the qualified supervisor deems appropriate.
When do I take the licensing exam? How do I prepare for it?
Once you have filed an application for M.F.T. licensure, paid the fees, and met the educational and experiential requirements, you will receive a notice from the Board that you have been approved to sit for the national licensing exam, which is administered by the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (A.M.F.T.R.B.). The Board will also inform you about how to register, where it is given, etc. Further information about the exam and preparatory materials can be found at the
A.M.F.T.R.B. website. There are also private companies that can help you prepare for this exam.
How do I know what continuing education courses will be accepted?
The Regulations (N.J.A.C. 13:34-9.2 and 9.3) list the course content and approved sources for the 40 hours of continuing education that licensees are required to complete every two years. Be sure the course content applies to the field of marriage and family therapy, and that you keep certificates for at least six years verifying completion of your coursework. (The Board conducts random audits, so you may be required to document your attendance.) You must also include at least five hours of continuing education in ethical and legal standards related to marriage and family therapy, and at least three hours of continuing education in social and cultural competence, every two years. (Ethics courses related to other professions or general ethics are not acceptable.) The Regulations also give information regarding other ways to acquire continuing education hours (e.g., teaching, publications, etc.).
When does the Board meet? Can I attend a Board meeting?
Every Board meeting includes a public segment which you are welcome to attend. Times, dates and the locations of meetings are listed on the Board's Web site. Some Board business, such as the review of complaints, investigations, and certain applicants' credentials, are not open to the public.
Last Modified: 2/17/2015 9:09 AM