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You need to apply for licensure, yes. But you need to take and pass the exam first. Yes, you need to follow the instructions on the license application based on the type of license for which you are applying. Please note, the license application is ONE document and is used for the LMFTA, LMFT and the LMFT Reciprocal. It is called Application - NC MFT Licensure. There is not a separate application for LMFTA.
The Board considers that the practice of marriage and family therapy occurs both where the therapist who is providing therapeutic services is located and where the individual (patient/client) who is receiving the service is located. In order for an individual to provide marriage and family therapy services in North Carolina, that individual must be licensed by the North Carolina Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board or be exempt under the North Carolina Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Act. On this basis, if a North Carolina licensee renders marriage and family therapy services electronically to an out-of-state client, it is recommended that the licensee contact the marriage and family therapy licensing board in the state in which the patient/client resides to determine whether or not such practice is permitted in that jurisdiction.
The Board evaluates completed applications and does not pre-evaluate credentials. The requirements for licensure are at http://www.nclmft.org - see licensing as well as the licensure application.
No. Regional accreditation is defined as: Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WACS), Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSCHE), North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (NCA-HLC), New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE). Degrees from schools not regionally accredited will not be considered or accepted.
Per North Carolina Stature (§ 90-270.56) Reciprocal licenses.
The Board may issue a license as a marriage and family therapist or a marriage and family therapy associate by reciprocity to any person who applies for the license as prescribed by the Board and who at all times during the application process:
(1) Has been licensed for five continuous years and is currently licensed as a marriage and family therapist or marriage and family therapy associate in another state.
(2) Has an unrestricted license in good standing in the other state.
(3) Has no unresolved complaints in any jurisdiction.
(4) Has passed the National Marriage and Family Therapy examination.
Complete the application in its entirety unless the instructions indicate an item does not apply to Reciprocal applicants. For example applicants eligible for reciprocal licensure do not have to submit supervision reports.
A minimum of 120 clinical hours with a minimum of 24 hours of approved supervision (AAMFT Approved Supervisor) is required to substitute for a master’s level practicum in MFT. Applicants for licensure must have 9 semester hours of practicum per NC Statutes in order to be considered for licensure. If the Alternative to Clinical Practicum option is selected (must be in an exempt setting under NC Statutes (i.e. licensed hospital, military clinic, externship at accredited university clinic) a 9 semester equivalency would be 360 clinical hours with 72 hours of approved supervision.
No, only hours earned (under AAMFT Approved Supervision) while a student in your qualifying degree program or as an LMFTA may count towards the requirements (1500 clinical and 200 approved supervision) for licensure as an LMFT.
While association membership can offer value to its members, membership in AAMFT or NCAMFT has no bearing on eligibility for licensure. Licensure in NC is based on NC Statutes. Associations are voluntary organizations, not mandated by law.
Direct client contact is defined as face-to-face (therapist and client) therapy with in individuals, couples, families, or groups from a systemic perspective and includes relational hours. Direct client contact must:
(1) Relate to client treatment plans;
(2) Be goal directed; and
(3) Assist client to affect change in cognition, affect and behavior.
(b) Assessments (intake and otherwise) may be counted up to 250 hours of direct client contact. Assessment is a clinical encounter that involves gathering of current and historical data from a client that is then used to determine what type of therapeutic service is most appropriate. If the individual who conducted the assessment does not provide the therapeutic service, it is considered an assessment hour only.
(c) Client psycho-education may be counted up to 250 hours direct client contact. Psycho-education refers to a treatment approach that provides education for individuals and families in assistance with emotional, mental, social and relational disturbances.
(d) The following are not direct client contact and may not be counted:
(1) Observing therapy without actively participating in follow-up therapy at some point during or immediately following the session;
(2) Record keeping;
(3) Administrative activities;
(4) Supervision; and
(5) Client contact while not receiving supervision.
Please follow the instructions on the application form. With the exception of the transcript and Verification of Degree And/Or Major (part of National MFT Exam application only) ALL materials should be sent to the Board office in one, complete package. Do not have professional endorsements, etc. sent separately. Failure to follow instructions can delay processing and review of your file.
All applicants must meet the current NC requirements including passing the National MFT Exam as the first step in the process toward NC MFT licensure. Refer to the licensing section of this site.
A total of 1500 clinical hours with 200 approved supervision hours is the minimum requirement. Up to 500 clinical hours and any amount of approved supervision earned while in your qualifying degree program may be counted toward the licensure requirement. The remaining 1000 clinical hours must be acquired, under approved supervision (AAMFT Approved Supervisor), post licensure (LMFTA). A minimum of 25 approved supervision hours must be acquired post degree, regardless of the number of hours earned prior to completion of your degree. In other words, even if you earned 200 supervision hours during your degree program, you would still need 25 more post degree.
The first step in the process is to take and pass the National MFT Exam.
No evaluation of your credentials can take place until an application and supporting documentation is received. If your clinical and supervision hours were not under an AAMFT Approved Supervisor they may not count toward licensure requirements. Clinical and supervision hours must be reported on NC approved forms which are part of the application packet.
You will have to take enough courses in the required coursework categories to meet the minimum semester hour requirements. Taking the same course twice will not suffice. The conversion ratio is listed on the licensure application. Generally, one quarter hour equals .67 semester hours.
Upon receipt of the PLLC/PC Application and $50 fee (download from the Forms section of this site), the NC MFT Licensure Board will issue a certificate verifying your license is in good standing. Be sure to read the instructions included with the application. Note: It may take up to 30 days for processing your application. This certificate will be required by the NC Secretary of State’s office. However, the Board cannot offer legal advice or opinions on any particular filing. You should consult your attorney for assistance with the filing process. LMFTAs cannot incorporate under NC Statutes (G.S. § 55B-14(c)(4) as only unrestricted licensees are eligible.
The Board cannot provide a pre-evaluation of your coursework. However, you should refer to the categories listed on the application. Most of the coursework categories have a brief synopsis of the content requirements. Including course syllabi and/or course catalog descriptions to substantiate the courses you list will assist the Board during the review process and help ensure there is not a deferral of your application for more information. You may wish to request assistance from your university in making the determination.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate (LMFTA)
Verification of licensure can be done by using the verification database at this website. There is no charge for web verification. Information provided includes name, license number, date of original licensure, expiration date and whether there are any disciplinary actions (public file). The verification database is updated at least monthly. There is a $25.00 charge assessed for each written license verification obtained from the Board office whether submitted individually or on a list. A written verification will contain the same information as posted on the Board’s website. You may download from the Board’s website a Verification of Licensure at no charge. Once a written verification is requested, utilizing the form at http://www.nclmft.org (insert link here), the NC MFT Licensure Board will complete the form and mail to the address you indicate on the form. The envelope will be sealed (board stamp across the seal to ensure authenticity. This is the only verification form/letter the Board will provide. Our letter form is generally accepted by all other state licensure boards and entities. The licensure board does not verify National MFT Examination scores. You will need to request those scores directly from Professional Testing Corporation (PTC). Download the Score Transfer Request form under the forms section of this website.
No. The AAMFT and NCAMFT are professional associations, while the NC MFT Licensure Board is the regulatory Board governing the practice of marriage and family therapy in North Carolina.
An LMFT has met the academic, educational and experience requirements for full licensure and is authorized to practice without supervision. LMFTAs are provisionally licensed and are required to practice under approved supervision. After successfully completing the academic requirements and passing the National MFT Examination, you may apply as an LMFTA in order to complete the required experience and supervision requirements (1500 clinical and 200 supervision hours) under approved supervision, defined as supervision under the direction of an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. A signed supervision agreement with an approved supervisor must be submitted as part of the application packet. LMFTAs are required to remain under supervision and report quarterly until converting to LMFT. Do not apply for the LMFTA until your qualifying degree has been posted on your transcript and you have passed the National MFT Exam. Transcripts without the degree posted will not be accepted. If you previously submitted an exam application in NC and the transcript on file verifies degree conferment, you do not have to submit a new transcript. The application fee is $200. Once you have completed the remaining clinical and supervision hours, you may apply for full licensure (LMFT). The fee for converting/upgrading to LMFT if you are a NC LMFTA is $100. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant. If an application is returned to the applicant a second time as incomplete, the Board may impose an additional $10 processing fee. If you have not passed the National MFT Examination, refer to the examination requirements and apply to take the exam. Download and submit the National MFT Exam application. Passing the examination does not authorize you to practice MFT or use the title of LMFTA in NC until the Board has approved your full application for licensure.
Each application for licensure is reviewed by the Board on an individual basis. There are no agreements or automatic reciprocity arrangements with any other state.
If you are requesting that the NC board consider you for licensure based on licensure as an MFT in another jurisdiction you may be eligible IF you have been a licensed MFT in good standing for the five previous, continuous years (in a state recognized by the Board as having equivalent academic and experience requirements) prior to submitting the designated application to NC and upon receiving required documentation that you have passed the National MFT examination. If you have not met this requirement, you should apply to take the National MFT Examination and then for either LMFTA (if your supervision was not under an AAMFT Approved Supervisor) or LMFT. Download and submit the National MFT Exam application. Passing the examination does not authorize you to practice MFT or use the title of LMFT in NC until the Board has approved your full application for licensure.
The reciprocity application fee is $200. Incomplete or ineligible applications will be returned to the applicant. If an application is returned to the applicant a second time as incomplete, the Board may impose an additional processing fee.
If you have met the requirements with the exception of passing the National MFT Examination, refer to the National MFT Examination application and first apply to take the exam. Once you have passed the National MFT exam, you should then submit your application for licensure via reciprocity if you have been a licensed MFT for the five, previous, continuous years as noted above.
The National MFT Exam is the one required for licensure as a NC MFT.
You must select the preferred testing period at the first step of the application completion process. There are no transfers to another testing period or refunds of application fees. Therefore, you should not register with the exam service until you have decided on an exam period. The approval letter you will receive from NC will outline the process and refer you to more information as well.
You can’t practice MFT in NC until licensed as an associate (LMFTA) so you can’t acquire the post graduate hours until then. Passing the exam is the first step in the licensure process, post completing the academic requirements.
Go to http://www.nclmft.org, review the NC MFT License Exam Application and if interested in applying, complete and submit per instructions.
In order to register for the MFT National Examination you must first be approved by a state licensing board. If NC is the state to which you have applied and they have approved you to take the exam, then your score report will be sent to the NC Board without you needing to complete a score transfer request.
The simple answer is that the number of questions correctly answered out of a possible 200 is the raw score or passing score. However, this is calculated as follows:
A passing score is established by a panel of expert judges on an “anchor exam.” The technique used is called the modified Angoff method. Each panel member estimates for each item on the test, what percentage of minimally competent therapists would get the item correct. Their responses are examined and analyzed by psychometric experts, and minor adjustments can be made by the AMFTRB Exam Advisory Committee. The anchor exam becomes the standard of knowledge by which all other forms of an exam are measured. This method ensures that the overall knowledge standard remains consistent, even though individual exam items may change. Although some jurisdictions have a set passing score required for licensure, most jurisdictions (including NC) accept the AMFTRB recommended passing score for each form of the examination. Test items change from examination form to examination form. There is no way a rigid passing score can account for this. Some versions of the examination will contain individual items that may be slightly harder or easier than other items on other versions, not by much, but by enough to make the establishment of one unalterable passing score impractical, and unfair. To compensate for these variations, test versions are equated, a psychometric process that accounts for the varying difficulties, and moves the passing score up or down accordingly. If there are more difficult items on a test, the passing score can be lowered so that fewer correct answers are required to get a passing score and vice versa. As a result, the required standard of knowledge remains the same from test to test.
Examinees will receive an individual score report sent to the address of record (directly from PTC) approximately 4 weeks after the last day of the examination period. Do not contact the NC MFT Licensure Board for your score. You should retain a copy of the letter received from the examination service. The NC MFT Licensure Board will not provide replacement copies. If a replacement copy if needed, you should contact PTC directly. The Board receives official verification of your exam score.
One CEU is defined as 10 contact hours. CEUs may be expressed in tenths (i.e. 6 contact hours equates to .6 CEU or .6 CEU equates to 6 contact hours). Basically, if a class certificate or transcript states credit as a CEU, then move the decimal point one space to the right to calculate the number of contact hours.
There are a number of workshops and study materials available. You may want to try an internet search for these. The Board does not endorse any preparatory manuals or programs.
The only exam accepted and recognized for NC MFT Licensure purposes is the National MFT Exam.
Once approved by the NC MFT Licensure Board to take the exam, you may take the exam whenever it is offered provided you register directly with the exam service by the published deadline. The exam is offered each month at the designated times. Refer to the calendar at http://www.nclmft.org or www.ptcny.com
No, only complete applications are reviewed. The applications list the coursework requirements. If you have a related mental health degree (see the definitions section under Professional Resource section of this site), or a MFT degree you may apply to first take the exam and then for the LMFT or LMFTA once you pass the National MFT Exam. If upon review of your application, it is determined by the Board that there are course deficiencies you can take additional coursework to remedy any deficiencies.
You should contact the LPC Board for questions about LPC licensure.
Contact the LPC Board via http://www.ncblpc.org.
Yes, once you have completed the degree hours. Refer to the National MFT Examination Application for more information.
All transcripts must be sent DIRECTLY from the educational institution. Only sealed, properly submitted transcripts will be accepted. Electronic transcripts are not accepted.
Refer to the renewals section of http://www.nclmft.org for clarification. Licensees get one full year of licensure before the renewal cycle begins. Your original license also shows the first expiration date. You should check the Verify A Licensee option (see large ‘button’) on the home page of http://www.nclmft.org to verify when your license expires and therefore when you will be required to renew and have completed the required continuing education hours.
Refer to the renewal section of http://www.nclmft.org for renewal guidelines.
Not accepted: Independent unstructured or self-structured learning, defined as learning which is undertaken by the licensee without peer or other guidance, review, input, supervision or monitoring.
Only coursework taken from the date of licensure going forward is accepted toward continuing education requirements for renewal of a license.
The LMFTA is available for a period of three years during which time the remaining clinical and supervision hours must be acquired. Licensees have a full year of licensure before the renewal cycle begins. Check the expiration date for your license - see Verify a Licensee at http://www.nclmft.org to determine your expiration date and if renewal is required. If an LMFTA transitions to LMFT prior to July 1 of the required renewal date then they do not renew the LMFTA or have to report continuing education hours.
The LMFT must be renewed on an annual basis.
The first renewal is due by July 1 after the first full year of licensure and then must be renewed each year by July 1. Refer to the license renewal section at http://www.nclmft.org for more information.
Client contact hours are defined as face-to-face (therapist and client) therapy with individuals, couples, families, or groups from a systemic perspective and includes relational hours. Distance counseling, where the supervisee provides therapy directly to a client (video, i.e. Skype, secure, encrypted connection) may be counted in the same way as face-to-face hours. Telephone counseling is NOT face-to- face and therefore cannot be counted toward clinical hours for LMFTAs.
Direct client contact must relate to client treatment plans, be goal directed; and assist client(s) to effect change in relationships, cognition, affect, and/or behavior. Assessments (intake and otherwise) may be counted up to 250 hours of direct client contact. Assessment is a clinical encounter that involves gathering of current and historical data from a client that is then used to determine what type of therapeutic service is most appropriate. If the individual who conducted the assessment does not provide the therapeutic service, it is considered an assessment hour only. Client psycho-education may be counted up to 250 hours direct client contact. Psycho-education refers to a treatment approach that provides education for individuals and families in assistance with emotional, mental, social and relational disturbances.
You will need to have corrected supervision reports sent for those period. Note across the top, “Revised Report” and have those sent in as soon as possible. You will want to include tracking logs to substantiate those reports so there are no questions about the hours reported.
If you are referencing Applied Behavior Analysis or Techniques which relate to a client treatment plan which is design to effect change…, then yes, if you are having direct client contact, but you need to be consulting with your Approved Supervisor on determining this. Your AAMFT Approved Supervisor should be familiar with the definition of what constitutes client contact hours.
The Board has no jurisdiction over arrangements between supervisors and supervisees in regards to finances, length of contract, etc. Insofar as the work thus far counting towards the designation, you will need to check with AAMFT and your approved supervisor for your candidacy.
Hours do not expire. However, each application for licensure is reviewed on an individual basis with the primary mission of the Board to protect the public. You would be required to meet whatever the requirements might be (and in 5 – 10 years, changes could occur) at the time of license application. With no experience for a period of 10 years prior to beginning practice, the Board might require additional oversight during an initial period of associate licensure. Again, no definitive answer can be given until an application for licensure has been received and evaluated.
Only hours earned under the supervision of AAMFT Approved Supervisors, and reported in accordance with board procedures, are recognized towards the clinical and supervision hours requirements (1500/200) for LMFT.
The Board cannot pre-evaluate credentials. Only applications for licensure are evaluated. Only earned under the supervision of AAMFT Approved Supervisors are recognized towards the hours requirements (1500/200) for LMFT.
The Board will only accept hours under AAMFT Approved Supervisors. Therefore, your option would be to apply for LMFTA and acquire the 1500 clinical and 200 supervision hours required for licensure under an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Alternatively, once you have been fully licensed (LMFT) for five years preceding application to NC for licensure, you would then be considered without having to demonstrate supervision hours.
Copies of your file are not available. Submitted materials become the property of the NC MFT Licensure Board and cannot be returned to the applicant or sent to other licensure boards. It is the applicant’s responsibility to maintain copies of all submitted information.
They will count insofar as having met the coursework requirement of 9 semester hours IF they are listed on your transcript. However, they will not count toward the licensure requirement. You will need to earn 1500 clinical and 200 supervision hours post-degree under the supervision of an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.
For hours to count toward the minimum of 1500 clinical and 200 supervision hours, the hours must be acquired under the direction of an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Locate supervisors in the directory at http://www.aamft.org.
NC recognizes AAMFT Approved Supervisors. Go to http://www.aamft.org to find information on becoming an approved supervisor.
Ask the university program director or instructor responsible for the practicums/internships (if they are an AAMFT Approved Supervisor) to verify your work hours. However, you should first try to locate the original supervisor.
The Board has adopted the AAMFT Code of Ethics and you should review that for information. A link to this is available from the home page of http://www.nclmft.org.
The Board cannot give legal advice. A therapist must comply with the ethics code and laws regarding HIPPA, etc. Most agencies have a policy and procedure regarding transfer and safe-keeping of patient records. You may want to refer to your employment agreement as well. Bottom-line, if there is a legal dispute, you will need to consult with your own attorney. If you are a member of the AAMFT/NCAMFT they do offer some legal consultation.
Board notification is not required since you are fully licensed MFT. Associate licensees are not approved for incorporation. That being said, if you plan to incorporate there is an application for approval that you need before applying to the Secretary of State for incorporation. The Board’s form is available at http://www.nclmft.org under the Forms section (the incorporation category).
Yes. However, you should first review the NC Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board position statement located under the Professional Resources, Position Statements section of this website.
The Board office makes every effort to respond as quickly as possible. Emails are generally answered within three business days from the date of receipt unless staff is out of the office. If staff will be unavailable for more than three business days, an automated email reply is generated or you may check the events section of this website (click on the ‘Home’ tab) which will list any office closed dates.
The NC MFT Board has adopted the AAMFT Code of Ethics. You can review the code at http://www.aamft.org.
For questions about reimbursement issues, contact your state association - http://www.ncamft.org.
MFTs have both a legal and ethical obligation to retain client records. The Board, therefore, recognizes the necessity and importance of a licensee’s proper maintenance, retention, and disposition of client records. The following guidelines are offered to assist licensees in meeting their ethical and legal obligations:
•State and federal laws require that records be kept for a minimum length of time including but not limited to:
a.Medicare and Medicaid Investigations (up to 7 years);
b.HIPAA (up to 6 years);
c. Except for minor clients, five years after the date of the last session
d. Minor clients - 5 years after the age of consent was or would have been reached
All name changes must be in writing and include name, license number, and a copy of a legal document (driver’s license, marriage certificate, etc.) must be included. Complete and send the name change form located at http://www.nlcmft.org under the Forms Section - Other
All address changes must be in writing and include the previous and new address. Complete and send the address change form located at http://www.nlcmft.org under the Forms Section - Other
No. One hundred percent of the Board’s operating revenue comes from fees paid by its licensees, including applications and annual renewal fees. The Board does not receive any of the fees paid for taking the National MFT Exam.
No. The Board is an independent agency that regulates the practice of marriage and family therapy on behalf of the state of North Carolina.
Board Members are appointed by the Governor of North Carolina. Four board members shall be practicing marriage and family therapists who are licensed in the state at the time of their appointment. Three members shall be representatives of the general public who have no direct affiliation with the practice of marriage and family therapy.
Board members may serve up to two consecutive four-year terms.
The Board meets at least four times per year. Generally meetings are held in February, April, July, September and November. Refer to the Calendar section or Quick Link on the home page of this website for upcoming meeting dates and application due dates.
Yes, though certain portion of meetings or hearings may be closed. For example, discussion of investigative matters or pending complaints are closed to the public.
NC MFT Licensure Board
201 Shannon Oaks Circle, Suite 200
Cary, NC 27511