CE Requirements for LMFTs

Below are the current CE requirements for LMFTs in Massachusetts. They can change, however, and it's always best to check the Allied Board of Mental Health website before completing your renewal for any changes. If you have any question or problem meeting CE requirements, do not rely solely on our statements below. Contact the board directly instead.

All Massachusetts MFT licenses will expire on December 31, 2019 (as well as every odd numbered year going forward). It is easy, but not automatic, to get your license renewed. For most people, the only significant action you need to take is to be sure that you have fulfilled your continuing education requirement, and to return the renewal form automatically sent to you by the registration board.

The Renewal Process:

Sometime in the fall (usually by mid November), you will be notified by the Massachusetts MFT regulatory board, the Board of Allied Mental Health & Human Service Professions, that your license to practice as an MFT will expire as is prescribed in the Massachusetts MFT licensing law.

You will receive a letter to that effect, plus some brief updates about licensing issues and, importantly, a renewal form. The form will list the renewal requirements, and tell you exactly what to do. You will be asked to answer a few questions, such as whether you have paid all your taxes, and whether you have completed your continuing education requirements. If you have met all the requirements, you should fill out the form and mail it back before December 31, along with a fee. You will receive your renewed license, valid for two more years, by return mail.

In the past, the board has acted favorably on some individual appeals for late completions, but don't plan for this.

Understanding the Continuing Education (CE) Requirements in Massachusetts:

Here is the Board's Policy statement on CE requirements.

Basic Requirement: It is important for your license renewal that you understand and satisfy your continuing education requirements. You are required to complete 30 approved CE credits within each licensing period, which is set by law as 2 years. Licenses always expire at the end of odd numbered years and are renewed as of January 1 of the new year.

Exceptions to 30 hour requirement: If you have not been licensed a full two years, use the following chart to determine the number of CEs you will need for the coming renewal.

License issued between: CE hrs required
January 1 and June 30 of an even numbered year 22.5
July 1 and December 31 of an even numbered year 15
January 1 and June 30 of an odd numbered year 7.5
July 1 and December 31 of an odd numbered year 0


Timing of CE Activities: To get credit for CEs during a licensing cycle, you must begin and complete your approved CE activities within the renewal period. So, for the 2016 - 2017 renewal cycle, your CE activities must have begun on or after 1/1/2016, and been completed by 12/31/2017.

Partial Credit for Overlapping Programs: If you are in a training program that starts in September, 2017 (for example), and finishes in June, 2018, or any continuing program that begins prior to the expiration date and ends after the renewal date, you can receive credit only for hours attended up until the renewal deadline (12/31/17). To get this partial credit prior to the completion of the activity, you must obtain a written certificate of attendance from the CE sponsor. All hours completed after the renewal date can be counted toward the following renewal cycle.

Approved CE credits are those that you get when you attend an activity certified by either the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy, the New England Association for Family and Systemic Therapy, or directly by the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health & Human Service Professions. CE activities can be either pre-approved or retroactively approved, but you cannot get credit toward your license renewal unless the activity is approved by one of these two associations. Approval by any other mental health profession or association (such as social work or mental health counselors) cannot be substituted for NEAFAST or AAMFT approval.

Pre-certified, approved activities: You will know if the activity is already approved because in both the sponsor's advertising and in the certificate of attendance you receive, there will be a statement of its approval by the association (usually listed as NEAFAST), and you will also see a unique NEAFAST certification number for the activity. Certification by another mental health profession will not satisfy your license renewal requirement.

Pre-Approved CE Activities: The current list of LMFT pre-approved CE activities can be found here.

Retroactively certified approved activities: You can get credit for activities you have attended that were not pre-certified by NEAFAST or the board.

If you have already completed a professional mental health training program which has not yet been approved by NEAFAST, and you believe it is relevant to your continuing education as an MFT, you can request credit for attending this activity yourself. To do this, complete a brief application form describing the activity.

Priority is given to applications completed online. However, for those needing to submit by mail, this Retroactive Application Form is available. Please complete the form for each event you attended, include copies of each certificate along with a check (made out to "NEAFAST"), and send to:

c/o Jeremiah Gibson
1212 Hancock St, Ste 205
Quincy, MA 02169

Note that the processing time for mailed-in applications is 1-2 weeks longer. *During COVID-19 we are only accepting applications and payments online. If you have previously sent in materials by mail and are waiting for a response, please email [email protected].

The fees are as follows:

For any number of applications submitted together: $30

You may submit any number of retroactive credit applications for any activities, totaling any portion or all of your 30 CE credit requirements, for this one fee. If your request is approved, you will receive back a certificate of completion granting you NEAFAST approved CE credit. If it is denied, you will receive a denial notice with instructions for appeal. Once you know you have 30 approved CE credits, you can complete your license renewal, but not until then.

Retroactive Credit Only: Individual licensees' requests for approval is available retroactively ONLY. We are not permitted to evaluate a program prior to your attending it, unless an application for certification is made by the program sponsor. Therefore, if you attend a program that is not pre-certified by the sponsor directly with NEAFAST, you will not know for sure if you can get credit until after you attend and submit your application. Please do not call to ask if you are likely to get credit for a particular activity retroactively. Check the standards for certifying professional trainings here.

Likely Approval: If the program is approved by another mental health profession, and it's within the scope of practice and extended interest areas for MFTs, it's more likely that it will be approved by NEAFAST as well. Supervision groups and K - 12 teacher training are good things to do, but generally not accepted.

Appeals: If your application for retroactive credit is rejected, you can appeal by sending additional documentation that shows that it meets approval criteria. It must meet structure, instructor, and content area criteria. Sending notes, course agendas, and PowerPoints can be helpful. You can have a further appeal, by requesting that we present your application to a member of the NEAFAST Board of Directors for an additional, independent opinion.

Timing is crucial. You must submit these applications to NEAFAST by December 10 of each renewal year, to insure that you receive a certificate of approval response within time to submit your license renewal to the board prior to license expiration on December 31. Waiting till the last minute can cause very undesirable bottlenecks in the entire CE approval/license renewal system. Please don't wait too long. Also consider that you don't want to receive a denial of 20 CE credits late in December, with only a few days left to scramble for credit. Applications received later then December 10 will be reviewed, but proper timing can't be guaranteed.

Late Approvals: You are required to have completed 30 certified CE hours prior to signing and returning your license renewal form. If your approvals are late, complete your renewal form when you get them, and submit to the board quickly. You can then request that the Allied Board grant you an exception to the deadline. This is not guaranteed, and technically you may be unlicensed for some period of time. Call the Allied Board directly to work this problem out at 617-727-3080 or email [email protected].