Becoming a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist in Arizona

How to Become a Marriage Family Therapist in Arizona

Arizona is ripe with opportunity for marriage family therapists. Working with individuals, couples, and families within the family dynamic, marriage and family therapists have a deep understanding of how any number of mental health conditions and problems are influenced by the family relationship. These highly educated, state-licensed mental health professions treat depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, alcohol/drug abuse, childhood autism, marital problems, child-parent problems, and much more.

The work of marriage and family therapists is valued in a wide variety of settings ranging from mental health centers like Sierra Tucson in Tucson to governmental entities like the Arizona Department of Health Services in Phoenix to small private practices throughout the state.

Learning how to become a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in Arizona starts with an overview of state education and licensing requirements.

Licensing Requirements for Marriage Family Therapists in Arizona

To become an LMFT in Arizona, you must first earn a master’s or doctorate degree in marriage, couple, and family counseling or another area of behavioral health science that’s been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

MFT Educational Track Education Requirements Education Length Available Programs
Undergraduate Work Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling 4 Years Online or Campus
Graduate Work Earn a Master's Degree in Counseling 5-6 Years Online or Campus
PHD or Doctoral Work Earn a Doctorate in Counseling 7-8 Years Online or Campus

Accredited programs contain the following coursework to meet the requirements of the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners:

  • 3 courses of marriage and family studies
  • 3 courses of marriage and family therapy
  • 3 courses in human development
  • 1 course in professional studies
  • 1 course in research

An internship of at least 300 client contact hours that’s completed under direct supervision must also be a part of your master or doctoral degree program.

An increasing number of colleges and universities now offer MFT programs in a hybrid/blended or online format. These programs are designed to facilitate the process of earning your degree when professional and personal responsibilities make attending in-person classes difficult or downright impossible.

Read about MFT degrees in Arizona.

If you currently hold a master’s degree or higher in a related field of study (social work, ministry, psychiatric nursing), you may also meet the educational requirements for licensure as an MFT in Arizona by completing a post-graduate training program in marriage and family therapy.

Work Experience Required for MFT Licensure in Arizona

Once you’ve earned your degree, you must complete at least 3,200 hours of work experience within a minimum of two years’ time. You must complete this requirement under the direct supervision of a licensed counselor who’s approved by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners.

At least one half of the required hours (1,600) hours must be in direct client contact. One thousand of these hours must in direct client contact with families and couples, while the final 600 hours can be with groups and individuals.

Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in Arizona

To become an LMFT in Arizona, you must take and pass the national exam developed by the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).

You’ll be able to take the exam either after you’ve completed your education or after you’ve completed your supervised experience. You’ll apply with the Board and pay the $250 application fee. Once the Board approves your application, you’ll be eligible to schedule and take the exam.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Career Outlook In Arizona

Between 2018 and 2028, jobs among marriage and family therapists in Arizona are projected to grow by 36.8% - that’s much higher than the national projected growth rate of 22% (between 2019 and 2029) during this time.

During this ten-year period leading to 2028, the state expects about 90 annual job openings in this profession through a combination of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.

As of May 2020, marriage and family therapists in Arizona earned a median salary of $48,020, while seasoned pros in this field earned salaries that reflected the 75th – 90th percentile, which was about $55,460 - $65,140.

Research Additional Psychology Professional Licenses Granted by Arizona

As you begin to learn more about how to become an LMFT and the career possibilities in this field, you may also want to explore the licensing processes and earning potential of similar careers:

  • Learn how to become a psychologist in Arizona: Requires a PhD or a PsyD; clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Arizona earned a median salary of $67,960 as of May 2020, while the profession’s top earners (75th – 90th percentile) earned about $83,360 - $102,410 during this time.
  • Learn how to become a counselor in Arizona: Requires a master’s degree with a focus in the specialty; substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned a median salary of $46,500 in Arizona as of May 2020, while those with considerable experience earned salaries that more closely reflected the 75th – 90th percentile, which was $57,930 - $70,380 during this time.
  • Learn how to become a social worker in Arizona: Requires a master’s in social work; Arizona’s child, family, and school social workers earned a median salary of $41,060, and mental health and substance abuse social workers earned a median salary of $39,860 as of May 2020. The top earners in these fields (75th – 90thpercentile) earned $48,560 - $57,990 and $48,080 - $58,080, respectively, during this time.

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for marriage and family therapists, clinical, counseling and school psychologists, substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health counselors, child, family, and school social workers, and mental health and substance abuse social workers. Figures represent state data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed May 2021.

State job growth projections for marriage and family therapists sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*Net database (2018-2028).

Schools with MFT Degree Programs Accepting Students from Arizona