Independent Marriage and Family Therapist

Frequently Asked Questions


Q.  I have an MFT now.  How do I begin working toward my IMFT?

A.  To work toward the IMFT, you first need to have earned an MFT license.  You would then complete at least two calendar years (24 FULL months) of supervised training while engaged in the practice of marriage and family therapy, including at least 200 hours of face-to-face training supervision (100 of which must be individual supervision) and 1,000 hours of direct client contact (500 of which must be relational, with couples and/or families present).  Training supervision must be provided by either an IMFT-S, or an independent licensee who is also an AAMFT-approved supervisor.  

Q.  Does training supervision need to be completed in person, or can it be done online?

A.  Training supervision, by which we mean the 200 supervision hours needed to earn your IMFT, can be completed online.  The rule requires face-to-face supervision, which means that online supervision can be completed through face-to-face video chat (no phone or text-based chat).  Many MFTs contract with an IMFT-S or AAMFT-approved supervisor outside their agency to provide this kind of supervision, and it's a common, accepted practice.  Keep in mind that this is different from work supervision, which must be provided by an on-site at your agency.  See the supervision rule here for more detail.

Q.  Can I start accumulating supervised experience without an MFT?

A.  In Ohio, you need to hold an MFT license before you can begin practicing MFT and earning supervised experience toward the IMFT.  The IMFT requires two years of supervised experience in a marriage and family therapy setting, and you need an MFT in order to practice marriage and family therapy in this state. Other states do things differently; if you’re practicing out of state, you’ll need to contact that state Board to see what their supervision guidelines are, and what they’ll accept. 

Q.  I work in an exempt setting (church, county social service agency, etc.), and my job doesn’t require me to be licensed.  Can I earn supervision toward the IMFT?

A.  In Ohio, you need to hold an MFT license before you can begin practicing MFT and earning supervised experience toward the IMFT.  If you’re not licensed and working in an exempt setting, you would of course be supervised according to the rules of your agency, but if you’d like to earn an IMFT, you need to hold an MFT and be receiving training supervision from an appropriate supervisor

Q.  If I get my 200 hours done early, can I complete my supervision in less than two years?

A.  The IMFT requires two FULL years, 24 months, of supervised marriage and family therapy experience.  How you schedule your supervision is mostly up to you (once a week, twice a week, every other week…), but you do need to be supervised regularly over the course of two full years.  As a general guideline, if you’re going more than two weeks without a supervision session, you should increase your frequency, or else additional time might be required.

Q.  What do I need to know if I’m only working part-time?  Is it okay if it takes me longer than two years to do this?

A.  The requirement is at least two full years of supervised experience.  It’s okay if it takes you longer.

Q.  Can I complete my supervised experience out-of-state?

A.  Supervised experience that is completed in another state according to that state’s laws and rules can most often be accepted for Ohio licensure.  Contact the Board if you have questions about your specific situation.

Q.  Either I or my spouse are serving in the military, and I’ll be practicing overseas.  Can I earn supervised experience toward the IMFT in Ohio?

A.  For active-duty military serving overseas, and their spouses, there may be exemptions to the standard supervisory rules.  Contact the Board staff for more information.



Q.  How do I apply for the IMFT?

A.  Refer to the IMFT Quick Links on this page, and click link #1. IMFT Instructions.

Q.  I have a criminal record, but I already provided court documents with my MFT application.  Do I have to do that again?

A.  The IMFT application will ask you to attach a statement of explanation and court documents related to any crimes of which you’ve been convicted.  If there are no new convictions since your MFT was issued, you can simply attach a statement indicating that all convictions have been previously reported to the Board, and there’s nothing new to disclose.  If you HAVE been convicted of a crime since your MFT was issued, you will be asked to attach a statement of explanation and copies of the certified court documents.

Q.  I already completed background checks when I earned my MFT.  Do I need to complete them again for my LISW?

A.  BCI/FBI checks are required for all IMFT applicants.  An upgraded license brings increased responsibilities, and the Board needs to verify whether there are any recent convictions on your record.  And remember, background checks are only valid for one year once the Board receives them.

Q.  Does applying for the IMFT also give me approval to take the exam?

A.  Prior to 2016, some MFT applicants were licensed with an exam score 5% below the passing score set by AMFTRB.  If you are one of those applicants, and you need to take the exam again to achieve a passing score for your IMFT, you will receive an email with approval to take the AMFTRB exam once your application is reviewed.  If you’ve already tested and received a Pass score on the AMFTRB exam, that exam score will be added to your application file.

Q.  What are the steps I need to take to earn my IMFT?

A.  Refer to the IMFT Quick Links on this page, and click link #1. IMFT Instructions.

Q.  Once my IMFT is issued, how long is it good for?

A.  IMFTs need to be renewed every two years, from the date of issuance.

Q.  Once my IMFT is issued, do I still need to renew my MFT?

A.  Once your IMFT is issued, your MFT is closed out and does not need to be renewed.  Your IMFT will be due for renewal two years after the date it’s issued.

Q.  How do I renew my license?

A.  Renewal information can be found on the Board’s website here:  You will complete 30 hours of continuing education (including 3 hours in ethics), complete a renewal application through the Board’s website, and pay the renewal fee.

Q.  What is the scope of practice for an IMFT? 

A.  A higher level of license brings more possibilities.  For information on the duties you’ll be able to perform with this license, see the rule here: