Becoming a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist in Missouri

How to Become a Marriage Family Therapist in Missouri

Licensed marriage family therapists (LMFTs) help people work through depression, anxiety, marital problems, child-parent problems, and more. As a specialty that recognizes how mental and emotional health are largely influenced by the nature of the close relationships we have with spouses and other family members, LMFTs specialize in addressing issues within the family context.

Trained in psychotherapy and other interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy, their focus is on fostering and promoting healthy relationships within the family system. This makes LMFTs very important members of the mental health community, and as a result, their numbers continue to grow, from independent practices in Springfield to major health systems such as Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Learning how to become a licensed marital and family therapist in Missouri starts with getting familiar with state education and licensing requirements.

Educational Requirements for Marriage Family Therapists in Missouri

Like most states, licensed marriage and family therapists are regulated in Missouri. To earn licensure here, you’ll need to earn a master’s or doctorate degree from an accredited university.

A master’s or doctoral program in marriage, couple and family counseling that’s 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) will meet the requirements for state licensure as an LMFT in Missouri.

Learn more about LMFT programs in Missouri.

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

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

An increasing number of colleges and universities now offer MFT graduate programs in a hybrid/blended or online format, which can make earning the degree you need to become an LMFT more convenient than ever.

Additional Requirements for Marriage Family Therapists in Missouri

Once you’ve completed the required education, you’ll need to complete two years (3,000 hours) of supervised experience under the guidance of a licensed MFT, clinical social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist who has been registered and approved by the Missouri Division of Professional Registration. You’ll need to complete at least half of the required hours in a setting that involves direct client contact.

Once you’ve completed the required experiential hours, you’ll apply for eligibility through the Missouri Division of Professional Regulation to take the national exam developed by the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).

AMFTRB exams are given at Prometric testing centers throughout the U.S. You’ll need to pass the AMFTRB and pay the examination fee of $365 to apply for your Missouri marriage & family therapist license through the Missouri Division of Professional Registration.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Career Outlook In Missouri

As of May 2020, marriage and family therapists in Missouri earned a median salary of $44,370, which reflects seasoned pros with a handful of years of experience. Those new to the field usually earn a salary that places them in the 25th percentile, which was $37,100 that year. Those with significant experience generally earn salaries that reflect what the profession’s top earners in the 75th – 90th percentile make, which was $54,460 - $74,710 during this time.

Between 2018 and 2028, the number of marriage and family therapists in Missouri is projected to increase by 23.5%, which is slightly higher than the national projected growth rate of 22% for this profession. During this time, the state expects about 50 annual job openings among marriage and family therapists due to a combination of new job growth, retirements, and normal turnover in the field.

Research Additional Psychology Professional Licenses Granted by Missouri

You already know you’re cut out for a career that involves working with people to help them resolve relationship challenges and interpersonal issues. Early in your career planning, it’s great to be aware of the different paths you can take into this type of work.

You can’t go wrong gathering information about exactly how to become an LMFT here in Missouri, but you may also be interested in finding out more about the licensing requirements and earning potential in other similar areas of practice:

  • Learn how to become a psychologist in Missouri – Requires a PhD or PsyD – Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Missouri earned a median salary of $77,020 as of May 2020, while the top earners in this profession (75th – 90th percentile) earned salaries in the range of $102,150 to $137,640 during this time.
  • Learn how to become a licensed counselor in Missouri – Requires a master’s degree with a focus in the specialty - Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Missouri earned a median salary of $38,950 as of May 2020. Pros at the top of the pay scale (75th – 90th percentile) earned in the range of $51,140 to $63,690 during this time.
  • Learn how to become a social worker in Missouri here – Requires a Master’s in Social Work - Missouri’s child, family and school social workers earned a median salary of $36,730 as of May 2020, while the most experienced pros in this field (75th - 90th percentile) earned about $50,580 during this time. Mental health and substance abuse social workers earned a median salary of $39,420 in Missouri as of May 2020, while the top earners in this profession (75th – 90th percentile) earned salaries in the range of $54,130 to $66,300 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 Missouri