OHIO LICENSE STRUCTURE: Ohio's MFT laws are different from many other states. Ohio has a two-tier licensure system: MFT and IMFT. In Ohio, students are eligible to sit for the national examination as soon as they graduate from their MFT program; once they have passed that examination and completed all steps needed for licensure, an applicant can be licensed as an MFT. The licensee then begins their accumulation of supervised experience to earn the higher IMFT licensure. In the state of Ohio, accumulating hours toward becoming an Independent MFT can only be obtained post-licensure, not post-graduate. In most states outside of Ohio, post-graduate hours count toward Independent licensure because there is only one tier of licensure in those states.
Out of state MFT applicants generally fall into one of four groups. As you identify your group below, you’ll find instructions on how to apply for licensure in Ohio:
A) I am graduating, or have graduated, from an out-of-state academic program, but have not yet begun the supervised post-graduate practice of marriage and family therapy:
If you’re finishing (or have finished) your academic program and have not begun supervised practice out of state, you would be eligible for the MFT level of licensure. Application instructions can be found on our website here: http://cswmft.ohio.gov/MFTs/Marriage-Family-Therapist/MFT-Application-Instructions, and the process is the same regardless of whether your program was in Ohio or out of state. However, academic programs that are not accredited by COAMFTE will require additional review, and may not meet Ohio’s requirements. See the instruction link for more information.
B) I have graduated from an out-of-state academic program, and have begun the supervised post-graduate practice of marriage and family therapy as an associate-level registrant, but have not yet completed enough supervised hours to qualify for full licensure in my state:
If you haven’t completed enough hours to qualify for full licensure in your state (or Ohio), then you would apply for the first level of licensure in Ohio, which is the MFT. Application instructions can be found on our website here: http://cswmft.ohio.gov/MFTs/Marriage-Family-Therapist/MFT-Application-Instructions. MFT licensure will require you to take the exam, if you haven’t already. You will also need to be able to meet the education requirements, which can be found at the above instruction link. Once you’re licensed as an MFT in Ohio, you’ll be able to continue supervised experience toward IMFT licensure in this state. Any supervised experience you’ve completed out of state will most likely be counted toward those requirements.
C) I have graduated from an out-of-state academic program, and have completed the supervised post-graduate practice of marriage and family therapy needed to earn full licensure in my state, but have not yet earned that license:
An applicant who is coming to the state of Ohio with fully completed post-graduate hours from another state may be eligible to bypass the first tier of licensure and apply for the IMFT. If this applies to you, then below are the instructions on applying for IMFT licensure in Ohio:
1. You will need be sure that you meet the educational requirements for Ohio. If your MFT degree is accredited by COAMFTE, it will be accepted as having met Ohio’s requirements. If your degree was not COAMFTE accredited, you will need to meet the educational requirements here: http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/4757-25-01. Our education course worksheet can be found here: http://cswmft.ohio.gov/Portals/0/MFT/EducReq.pdf.
2. Have your state submit documentation of your supervised experience to Ohio, or have your supervisor(s) use Ohio’s form here: http://cswmft.ohio.gov/MFTs/Independent-Marriage-Family-Therapist/supervised-experience
The requirement is at least two full years of supervised MFT experience. This means at least 24 full months, during which time you are practicing marriage and family therapy (at least 1,000 hours of direct client contact, 500 of which must be relational) and also receiving training supervision. Supervision shall total a minimum of 200 hours, although no more than 100 of these hours may be group supervision. Supervision shall have been provided by a licensee appropriate to your state’s laws.
If you have not yet met the above supervision requirements, you are likely not eligible to apply for IMFT at this time. You would need to apply for MFT licensure while you complete the remainder of Ohio’s requirements. See category B above for instructions to applicants who have completed a certain amount of supervision but not enough to become licensed at the independent level.
3. Once supervision forms are submitted, complete the IMFT application online and pay the $100 application fee (plus a $3.50 processing fee) at eLicense.Ohio.gov You will need to register and create a User ID and password to access the e-License system if you haven’t already done so. Once you’ve registered, complete the application for Independent Marriage and Family Therapist
4. If you have not already passed the AMFTRB exam at the appropriate level, you will receive an exam pre-approval email after you apply, approving you to take the exam and giving instructions. If you have already passed the exam, have a copy of your exam score sent to the Board.
5. View the Board's online Laws and Rules video: http://cswmft.ohio.gov/Laws-Rules-Video This is a review of the Board’s rules and ethics requirements, and will help you understand your responsibilities as an Ohio licensee.
6. Have your school submit official transcripts, showing your degree conferred, directly to the board. You can have an electronic transcript emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred method of delivery), or a paper copy mailed to the address below.
7. Complete the BCI and FBI background checks: http://cswmft.ohio.gov/BCIFBIBackgroundChecks.aspx Background checks are valid for one year once completed. If you are not physically located in Ohio and need an out-of-state fingerprint packet sent to you, please contact the Board. Note, out of state fingerprints can take 4-6 weeks to process. It may be faster to come to Ohio to have them completed electronically.
D) I have completed the supervised experience, and am fully licensed at the independent level in my state:
If you are actively licensed at the full, independent level in another state, you are welcome to apply for the Ohio IMFT license under endorsement. If your out of state license is not active and in good standing, you are not eligible for endorsement, in which case you would need to meet Ohio’s educational requirements: http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/4757-25-01 and supervision requirements: http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/4757-25-04 exactly, and would need to have passed the licensing exam within the last seven years. Having an active license generally allows the Board to accept education and supervision which are substantially similar to our requirements, and allows us to accept your exam score.
Below are the steps to apply for Ohio IMFT licensure, if you are already actively licensed at the independent level in another state:
1. Complete the IMFT application online and pay the $100 application fee (plus a $3.50 processing fee) at eLicense.Ohio.gov You will need to register and create a User ID and password to access the e-License system if you haven’t already done so. Once you’ve registered, complete the application for Independent Marriage and Family Therapist
2. Have your state submit documentation of your supervised experience to Ohio. If your state is not able to verify hours, or cannot provide a license verification attesting to the hours you completed, you can have your supervisor(s) use Ohio’s form here: http://cswmft.ohio.gov/MFTs/Independent-Marriage-Family-Therapist/supervised-experience
3. You may need to have your state submit an official license verification to the Board. Many states offer an online license verification, which the Board can access. If your state does not offer this online license look-up, an official verification will be needed.
4. Have a copy of your AMFTRB exam score sent to the Board, either from your state or directly from AMFTRB. If you were originally licensed in California and took the California MFT exam instead of the AMFTRB, that exam score should be accepted under endorsement.
If you have further questions that are not answered here, please contact the MFT Licensure Coordinator using our staff listing: http://cswmft.ohio.gov/Staff-Listing, or by following the contact information at the bottom of this page.