Becoming a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist in Massachusetts

How to Become a Marriage Family Therapist in Massachusetts

Marriage and family therapists are highly educated, state licensed mental health professionals who evaluate and treat mental, emotional, health and behavioral disorders within the context of the family system. Treatment plans among marriage and family therapists are usually highly focused on short-term therapies (such as cognitive behavioral therapy) for clients experiencing depression, anxiety, chronic physical illnesses, marital discord, child-parent conflict, and much more.

In Massachusetts, marriage and family therapists can be found working in nearly all mental health settings, including hospitals like Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital in Boston, governmental mental health agencies like the New England Center for Marriage and Family Therapy in Agawam, and private mental health centers like South Shore Mental Health in Quincy.

Learning how to become a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in Massachusetts begins with understanding the requirements leading to state licensure.

Educational Requirements for Marriage Family Therapists in Massachusetts

A master’s or doctorate degree that meets national standards and that is offered from a university that holds institutional accreditation in its state will meet the requirements for state licensure as an LMFT in Massachusetts. The best way to make sure the program meets national standards is to choose one that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) or the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

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

These programs include study in areas such as:

  • Marital and family studies
  • Marital and family therapy
  • Human development

They culminate in a 300-hour practicum or clinical internship.

In addition to traditional, on-campus program, you’ll find many accredited programs offered in a hybrid/blended or online format, which are designed to make the roading to becoming an LMFT accessible and convenient for busy, working pros and those with geographical limitations.

If you currently hold a master’s or doctoral degree in a related area like psychology, social work, psychiatric nursing, or ministry, you may also meet the educational requirements for licensure through a non-standard process that includes completing a post-graduate training program in marriage and family therapy.

Learn more about Massachusetts MFT degrees.

Additional Requirements for Marriage Family Therapists in Massachusetts

After graduating from an accredited program in marriage and family counseling, you must complete at least two years (3,360 hours) of experience that includes working with family groups, individuals, groups, couples, or public and private organizations. At least 1,000 of the required contact hours must be under the direction of a supervisor who is approved by the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Profession’s Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals, and at least 500 of those house must include face-to-face contact hours with families and couples.

After completing these experience requirements, you must apply with the Board and pay the $155 license fee. Once the Board approves your application, they will send you instructions that detail how to schedule to take the national exam developed by the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).

Once you pass the exam, you’ll earn your state license as a Massachusetts marriage and family therapist.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Career Outlook In Massachusetts

As of May 2020, Massachusetts’ marriage and family therapists earned a median salary of $49,230. Those at the top of their profession in terms of pay (75th – 90th percentile) earned about $64,360 - $84,290 during this time.

Growth among the state’s marriage and family therapists is expected to remain steady, albeit slow, in the coming years. Between 2018 and 2028, the number of jobs in this profession is expected to grow by 9.1%. During this ten-year period leading to 2028, the state will see about 100 annual job openings due to a combination of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.

Research Additional Psychology Professional Licenses Granted by Massachusetts

As you continue to explore a career as a marriage and family therapist, you may be interested to also learn about similar professions, along with their required education and earning power in Massachusetts:

  • Learn more how to become a psychologist in Massachusetts: Requires a PhD or PsyD; clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Massachusetts earned a median salary of $84,380 as of May 2020, while the most experienced and seasoned pros in the field earned salaries that more closely reflected the 75th – 90thpercentile, which was $107,890 - $138,920 during this time.
  • Learn more about how to become a licensed counselor in Massachusetts: Requires a master’s degree with a focus in the specialty; substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Massachusetts earned a median salary of $46,620 as of May 2020, while those at the top of the pay scale (75th – 90thpercentile) earned about $61,560 - $76,680.
  • Learn more about how to become a social worker in Massachusetts: Requires a master’s in social work; Massachusetts’ mental health and substance abuse social workers earned a median salary of $44,960 as of May 2020, while those with considerable experience in the field earned salaries that reflected the 75th – 90th percentile, or about $61,080 - $76,090. Child, family, and school social workers earned a median salary of $47,220 as of May 2020, and a top (75th – 90th percentile) salary of $63,690 - $82,820.

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 Massachusetts