Logo for IAMFT showing the outline of the state of Illinois and saying Illinois Affiliation of Marriage and Family Therapists

Photo showing attendees viewing posters at the annual IAMFT conference

MFT Licensure

The licensure process can feel confusing and daunting at times.  The information on this page is intended to help you navigate the process successfully.  On this page you will find information about the requirements of the LMFT, a timeline and suggestions for preparing your application, links to the LMFT Rules, and links to applications for the LMFT and ALMFT.

In Illinois, we have two MFT licenses – the Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (ALMFT) and the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).  Generally people complete the application for the ALMFT upon graduation with the first qualifying degree.  Applicants apply for the LMFT after completing the Education, Clinical Experience, Supervision and Professional Experience requirements listed below.


The ALMFT is a credential that verifies an applicant has met the educational and is working towards meeting the additional requirements for the LMFT.  This license is good for five years and cannot be renewed.  The assumption is that the ALMFT will work towards the LMFT during these five years.

The LMFT Licensure Requirements

In order to be licensed as an LMFT, you must meet these basic requirements: Education, Clinical Experience, Supervision, and Professional Experience. Each of these requirements will be described below and you can click on the title of each section for a link to the LMFT Rules for each section.

Education : To meet the education requirement, your coursework must match the requirements in five different categories: Individual Development and Family Relations (minimum one 3 semester hour course), Theoretical Foundations and Clinical Practice (minimum six 3 hour courses (18 hours total)), Professional Studies and Ethics (minimum one 3 semester hour course), Research (minimum one 3 semester hour course) and Clinical Practicum/Internship (300 hours).  A master's degree from a COAMFTE accredited program is considered as equivalent to these requirements.  If you graduated with a master's degree from a non-COAMFTE program, be sure to compare your coursework against the classes listed in the Rules and submit syllabi for each class with your application.  Without the syllabi, your application will be returned to you.

Clinical Experience: To meet the clinical experience requirement, you have to collect 1000 hours of face-to-face contact with clients.  At least 350 of these hours must be conjoint, i.e. relational, in nature.  The "clock" for clinical experience begins on the date of graduation from the first qualifying degree. 

Supervision: To meet the Supervision requirement, you must accumulate 200 hours of supervision during your 1000 hours of clinical experience.  Up to 100 hours of clinical supervision obtained during graduate training can be counted towards the 200 hour total.  And 100 hours of  that 200 hours of supervision, whether during the graduate training or after graduation, must be with an MFT supervisor as defined by the Rules.  The other 100 supervision hours can be with any mental health professional with five years of experience in their discipline.

Professional Experience: In order to qualify for an LMFT, the applicant must accrue 3000 hours of professional experience as an MFT.  The clinical hour (1000 hours) and supervision hour (200 hours) requirements are included in these 3000 hours.  The remaining 1800 hours include (but are not limited to) experiences like doing case notes, receiving additional trainings at conferences, reading professional material and other activities "related to the practice of the profession of marriage and family therapy".

Exam: Illinois uses the Association of Marriage and Family Regulatory Board's National MFT Exam as a requirement to help the applicant demonstrate competency and knowledge. If an applicant has obtained the ALMFT, the applicant can sit for the exam following receipt of the ALMFT.  If an applicant chooses not to obtain an ALMFT, the applicant will have to wait until all requirements for the LMFT have been completed before sitting for the exam.

The Application Process

In general, the application process takes about ninety days from the point you initially submit your application to the time that you receive your license.  Once your application has been mailed, it is reviewed by the State of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for completeness.  If the application is found to include all required materials, it is passed on to the MFT License Board.  The License Board meets quarterly and reviews applications in the order that they were submitted.  If the application is found to meet all the requirements by the MFT License Board, the IDFPR notifies the applicant that they can take the exam.  Once the exam is completed and scored, the score is submitted to the IDFPR, which then confers the license to the applicant.

It is recommended to document and collect your materials as you are accruing clinical and supervision hours and to keep copies of everything you have submitted to the State of Illinois in your application.  Making sure that all forms are complete and signed is essential for expediting the application process.  If anything is incomplete or does not meet the requirements, your application will be returned to you which will delay the process.  It is also recommended to have a proof reader check your application before it is sent in and to make no assumptions on the process.  When in doubt, include it!