Licensure Renewal for LMFTs

All MFT licenses must be renewed by December 31 of every odd numbered year.

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 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 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 fill out the form and mail it back before December 31st., 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 info to determine the number of CE's you will need for the coming renewal.

  • January 1 and June 30 of an even numbered year--22.5 CEs
  • July 1 and December 31 of an even numbered year--15.0 CEs
  • January 1 and June 30 of an odd numbered year--7.5 CEs
  • July 1 and December 31 of an odd numbered year--0 CEs

Timing of CE Activities:To get credit for CE during a licensing cycle, you must begin and complete your approved CE activities within the renewal period. So, for 2018 - 2019 renewal cycle, your CE activities must have begun on or after 1/1/2018, and be completed by 12/31/2019.

Partial Credit for Overlapping Programs:If you are in a training program that starts in September, 2019 (for example) and finishes in June, 2020, 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 (12/31/19). 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 NEAFAST or the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy. 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 it's 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 on our online calendar.

Retroactively-certified approved activities: You can get credit for activities you have attended that were not pre-certified by MAMFT or the Board by completing this form.

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 you complete an application form describing the activity and pay a fee of $20.00. If your request is approved, you will receive back a certificate of completion granting you MAMFT 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 precertified 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 agenda, powerpoints, all 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 12/10 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 12/31. 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 12/10 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 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 Board directly to work this problem out: 1-617-727-3080. Or email to:[email protected].