Marital and Family Therapy Exam

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Marital and Family Therapy (MFT)


The National Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) examination is developed and overseen by the national Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB), in cooperation with the Professional Testing Corporation (PTC), who is responsible for exam administration.[1] Exam content is developed by experts in the field and periodically evaluated using analyses of actual job tasks to insure that the exam continues to assess competencies that are relevant to current practice. The most recent of these reviews was completed in 2013.[2] The exam was originally a paper-and-pencil exam until the move to computerized testing was made in the fall of 2001. At that time, the MFT exam was given during three, four-week testing periods per year at Prometric testing centers. 371 candidates sat for the first computerized exam.[3] Today, there are over 48,000 licensed and credentialed marital and family therapists across the US and Canada.[4]

Function of the Test

MFT Study Guide

The MFT exam is a standardized assessment of knowledge and skills in marital and family therapy used by the various state licensing boards to insure that candidates for licensure meet minimum standards of competency for entry-level practitioners, regardless of variations in education and practical clinical experience. Each state independently sets the criteria it uses to determine eligibility to sit for the exam.[5] Candidates must have a master’s or doctoral degree in order to be eligible for the exam. The specific coursework and clinical experience needed to qualify for certification and licensure is determined by the individual state licensing boards.[6] The MFT exam is required for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in all 50 US states.[7] The exam is a rigorous assessment of knowledge and skills across 5 domains of marriage and family therapy practice. In the 2011-2012 testing period, 2,525 candidates took the exam. The number who passed ranged from a low of 58.6% in the January-February 2012 testing window to a high of 66% in the July-August 2011 testing window.[8]

Test Administration

MFT Flashcards

The MFT exam is a computer-based, multiple choice exam held over a week-long testing window each month at authorized PSI testing centers across the United States.[9] Individuals who wish to sit for the MFT exam must apply directly to the licensing board in the state in which they intend to practice. Once approved, a candidate must then submit an application to PTC (Professional Testing Corporation) to sit for the exam, along with a nonrefundable $350 exam fee.[10] Candidates who do not pass the exam may reapply as many times as they wish as long as they have verified their continued eligibility with the appropriate state licensing board. The full fee of $350 is required for each examination attempt.[11] Special accommodations may be made for those with qualified disabilities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Requests must be accompanied by documentation from an appropriate health care provider and attached to the application form.[12]

Test Format

Sections of the MFT Test
MFT Test Subject Areas # of Questions Percent
The Practice of Systemic Therapy 46 23%
Assessing, Hypothesizing, and Diagnosing 32 16%
Designing and Conducting Treatment 46 23%
Evaluating Ongoing Process and Terminating Treatment 26 13%
Managing Crisis Situations 20 10%
Maintaining Ethical, Legal, and Professional Standards 30 15%
Total 150 100%

Test Structure

The Marital and Family Therapy Exam consists of six major topics: The Practice of Systemic Therapy; Assessing, Hypothesizing, and Diagnosing; Designing and Conducting Treatment; Evaluating Ongoing Process and Terminating Treatment; Managing Crisis Situations; and Maintaining Ethical, Legal, and Professional Standards. Questions having to do with these topics come in the format of 200 multiple choice questions. The time allotted to complete all 200 questions is four hours.[13]

Test Environment

Testing for the MFT Exam takes place at PSI Testing Centers. There, candidates must present a government issued photo identification upon check in. Cameras, phones, computers, and other electronics are not allowed to be used during the exam time. A nonprogrammable calculator is permitted, however an on screen calculator will also be provided during the exam. Except for going to the restroom, test-takers are not allowed to leave the exam room while the test is in progress.[14]

Sample Questions

More free MFT practice test questions.


The exam is scored by totaling the number of correct responses out of the 200 questions on each examination form. Since only correct responses are counted, there is no penalty for incorrect answers. However, items for which a candidate has selected more than one answer are not counted. To be successful, candidates are encouraged to answer all of the questions on the exam by selecting the best answer possible for each item.[15] Four different exam forms are constructed for use each year by selecting items from a pool of possible questions developed by a committee of experts. Because the relative difficulty of items may vary across forms, the passing score for each form is set using an “equating” process which adjusts the passing point according to relative difficulty. In this way, there is no advantage or disadvantage conferred to candidates who use different forms during an examination year. [16] Each state licensing board may further specify the minimum score that they require in order to obtain licensure in that state, although most states accept the passing score set for each exam form by the AMFTRB.[17]

Recent/Future Developments

Beginning in January, 2015, the DSM IV has been replaced by the DSM-5 as the standard reference text for the MFT examination.[18]


  1. ^ 2015 AMFTRB National Marital and Family Therapy Examination Candidate Handbook 3 October 2018
  2. ^ The Association of Marital and Family Therapy Review Boards: Validation of the Examination April 9, 2015
  3. ^ The Newsletter of The Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards Volume 1 No. 1 April 9, 2015
  4. ^ MFT Licensing Boards April 9, 2015
  5. ^ The Purpose of the Examination April 9, 2015
  6. ^ MFT Licensing Boards April 9, 2015
  7. ^ AMFTRB State Licensure Comparison Chart April 9, 2015
  8. ^ Annual Report on the Marital and Family Therapy Licensing Examination Program: 2011-2012 March 30, 2015
  9. ^ Exam Process and Dates April 9, 2015
  10. ^ Exam Dates April 9, 2015
  11. ^ AMFTRB-MFT Handbook April 9, 2015
  12. ^ Frequently Asked Questions April 9, 2015
  13. ^ Test Booklet 22 April 2015
  14. ^ MFT Exam 22 April 2015
  15. ^ Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards: Test Content and Administration April 9, 2015
  16. ^ 2014 AMFTRB National Marital and Family Therapy Examination April 9, 2015
  17. ^ 2014 AMFTRB Information For Candidates: The National Marital and Family Therapy Examination April 9, 2015
  18. ^ Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards: DSM-5 Note March 30, 2015

External Links