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From AAMFT to BBS: 5 important MFT degree terms you need to know

January 31, 2018

Categories: Blog

Published: January 31, 2018

Are you interested in pursuing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy? We’ve compiled a list of the important marriage and family therapy terms you’ll need to know as you progress through your career.

MFT degree

We’re starting out easy. Marriage and Family Therapy is often referred to by the acronym “MFT.”

An MFT degree trains individuals in mental health counseling and focuses on helping couples or families deal with conflict, mental disorders, and trauma. MFT degrees can include specializations like African-American Family Studies, Latina/Latino Family Studies, and Trauma Studies.


The AAMFT is the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. It’s an organization that provides educational resources, networking events, and representation for marriage and family therapists worldwide.


LMFT stands for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. To become a LMFT in California, you need to fulfill several prerequisites, which include specific degree completion requirements, internship hours, and exam scores. Check out this post to learn more about the California MFT exam process.

Once fulfilling the requirements, a LMFT is licensed to provide services to individuals, couples, and families.


The California Board of Behavioral Sciences is often called the BBS. The BBS is a government agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs that licenses and enforces standards for a variety of therapists, counselors, and psychologists. This includes licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed educational psychologists, and licensed professional clinical counselors.

The Board administers exams for each licensed position, approves applicants and grants licensure, and imposes regulations for each position.

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist

The BBS announced a new title change for marriage and family therapist Interns. As of Jan. 1, 2018, registrants must use the title “Associate Marriage and Family Therapist” or “Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist.”

It’s also important to note that you cannot use the titles “Marriage and Family Therapist Associate” or “MFTA.” These aren’t recognized by California law.

Interested in pursuing a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy? Explore what Pacific Oaks has to offer. If you’re ready to take the next step, fill out the form below to request more information.

Categories: Blog

For questions or comments on our news stories or releases, or if you are a reporter who would like to speak with an expert in education, human development, or marriage and family therapy, please contact Johanna Atienza at [email protected] or 626.529.8092.