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The California MFT Exam: What You Need to Know

August 23, 2017

Categories: Blog

Published: August 23, 2017

Before you begin your career as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), you’ll need to pass California’s MFT exams. The MFT exam process can be time-consuming and stressful—but it doesn’t have to be.

Read up on the California MFT exams before you hit the books and start studying. Trust us: It’ll make the whole MFT exam process simpler.


But first: What do you need before you can take the MFT exam?

If you want to obtain licensure for your Marriage and Family Therapy career, you need to fulfill all of California’s requirements. This goes beyond passing the MFT exams.

For a full list of the MFT requirements, read our post on how to become a marriage counselor. It provides a detailed overview of the degree requirements, MFT internship hours, and so on.

Once you’ve met these requirements, you can then apply to take the MFT exams through California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS).


What is the California MFT exam process?

Once you have your Master’s or Doctoral degree and 3,000 hours of MFT internship experience, you must send a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) Examination Eligibility Application to the BBS.

This application includes verification of your degree, coursework, hours, and so on. If your application meets all of the state requirements, your application will be approved and you’ll receive an MFT Handbook in the mail.

The handbook includes an eligibility notice, a study guide, and a deadline for taking the exams. You must take the exams by that deadline or you will have to re-apply.

For more information on the MFT exam process, visit the BBS site.


What are the California MFT exams?

To become an LMFT in California, you must pass two MFT exams: the LMFT California Law and Ethics Exam and the LMFT Clinical Exam.

Both tests are administered through Psychological Services (PSI).

The LMFT California Law and Ethics Exam consists of 75 multiple-choice questions over 90 minutes. You must pass this exam first; then, you can apply to take the Clinical Exam.

The LMFT Clinical Exam is new—it has replaced the MFT Written Clinical Vignette Examination. The new Clinical Exam includes 170 multiple-choice questions over 4 hours. It tests your knowledge of how to handle specific scenarios within the Marriage and Family Therapy field.

If you pass the LMFT Clinical Exam, you’ll receive an application for the MFT initial license. You must apply for this license within one year of passing the exams. If your application is in order, you’ll become an LMFT in California.

However, if you fail the LMFT Clinical Exam, you must take it again within a year from the date of failure. If you wait too long, your eligibility period is over and you must start the application process over again.


Pacific Oaks is here for you

The path through California’s MFT exam process is lengthy and includes so (!) many applications. Whether you’re just starting your education in Marriage and Family Therapy or you’re getting ready to begin the exam process, Pacific Oaks is a resource for you.

Explore our Master’s degree programs. All our MFT programs prepare you to sit for the LMFT exams—and they help you establish a strong foundation for a fulfilling and successful Marriage and Family Therapy career. Any questions? Request more information today.

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.