Becoming a licensed Marital and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Oklahoma is a process that starts with the pursuit of a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In Oklahoma, aspiring therapists can pursue designation as a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist. The process begins after you graduate with your Master’s degree and will take at least two years for the entire process. The Oklahoma State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure evaluates your education and preparedness before you can be approved for your LMFT.
Requirements to get your LMFT License in Oklahoma
Not only will you need to take two different exams, your education and supervised experience will also be evaluated before you can get your LMFT License.
- A completed application
- Documentation from your internship/practicum
- A paid application fee of $200
- Your official graduate transcript
- To complete a criminal background check with two sets of fingerprints
You must successfully complete a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution in MFT, counseling or another mental health/behavioral science discipline (other degrees can still qualify, they will just require specific course work). Oklahoma Baptist University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association.
The State Board of Behavioral Health has specific courses required for licensure in Oklahoma. They have a worksheet you can use to keep track of the courses you’ve taken. However, your education at OBU will cover all the necessary courses.
“Our curriculum is designed to cover the domains assessed by the National MFT Exam,” said Dr. Canaan Crane, director of OBU’s MFT program. “Our courses are taught from an MFT perspective and all of our core faculty are trained, licensed and practicing as MFTs. We are also intentional to embed training on the licensure process, job search skills, choosing a supervisor and choosing where to work throughout multiple courses in the curriculum.”
“Choose your school wisely,” Crane said. “You should ask about pass rates for the National Exams. Ask about where their graduates are working. Interview and find a good supervisor. I recommend someone with the highest credentials (AAMFT Approved Supervisor). Be cautious of ‘free supervision’ provided by an in-house supervisor. Sometimes this creates unnecessary conflicts of interest.”
Most graduates find paid employment as an MFT and can count these clinical services toward fulfillment of the licensure requirements. A graduate who is approved to accrue hours toward their license is considered a “candidate.” As a candidate you will keep track of your client contact and will meet weekly with a supervisor for a total of 150 hours over the two-year period. Most candidates strive to have at least 10 hours of client contact a week but many have upwards of 30 hours of client contact a week. Regardless of the amount of client contact hours, the process still takes a minimum of two years.
By the end of your supervised experience, you need to have a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours with at least 250 of them of relational nature – which means at least two members of a family or relationship must be present for the therapy.
“Be intentional about selecting a supervisor for licensure who can help you accomplish the training goals that you wish, beyond just getting licensed,” Crane advises. “Ask your supervisor about their philosophy of supervision as this will provide a window into how they work. Ask for references of former supervisees. Ask them to tell you about a mistake they've made as a supervisor. The answers can be very enlightening as to how they will supervise.”
There are two required exams, one that tests on the Oklahoma LMFT Act and Regulations and one that covers the profession as a whole, the National MFT Exam. The State exam, the Oklahoma Licensed Marital and Family Therapist Examination, must be completed before accruing clinical hours. This 40-question exam covers the legal requirements for LMFTs following the Oklahoma Act and Regulations for Marriage and Family Therapists.
The National MFT Exam is administered at testing sites around the country. The exam is given one week per month. It cannot be taken until your credentials have been vetted and found to meet the requirements for candidacy, which should be within 60 days of turning in your application. You must pass within three years.
The written exam consists of objective multiple-choice questions and currently costs $350. Each exam contains 200 questions each with four possible answers, of which only one is correct. You’ll have four hours to complete the exam. AMFTRB.org offers two practice exams to help you see what to expect.
MFT License Application Process
You’ll need to turn in your application more than two years in advance of getting your license. OBU students apply to get their LMFT upon graduation from the program. The Board will evaluate your education and whether they think you’re qualified before you begin supervised practice. You’ll also need to turn in the application so you can be approved to sit for the national MFT exam. Currently, the application fee is $200. You can fill out the form on the Oklahoma State Board of Behavioral Health website.
A background check is required through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation when you apply. You should also have your fingerprints taken in advance and include them in the same envelope as the application. The background check may take up to six weeks to process, so you should expect to wait before you hear back.
Once all your forms are submitted, the state board will review them and either grant or deny your candidacy. The board will send you the following documents: exam eligibility, approved supervision and academic review.
After your approval, you’ll need to schedule to take the state exam. Once you complete the exam you’ll be able to start accruing client time with supervision hours.
Ready to get started on your path to become a licensed marriage and family therapist in Oklahoma? Apply today!