Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) Jobs & Career Guide

What is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist?

A licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) helps individuals, couples, and families to overcome a variety of emotional and psychological issues. LMFTs typically hold a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field, and have completed additional training and clinical experience in the areas of family systems, couples therapy, and relationship dynamics.

LMFTs use evidence-based therapeutic approaches to help individuals and families improve their communication, resolve conflicts, and develop healthier relationships. They may also provide support and guidance during major life transitions, such as divorce, loss, or significant changes in family structure.

Where do Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists work?

Licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) work in a variety of settings, including:

  1. Private Practice: Many LMFTs operate their own private practices, where they provide individual, couples, and family therapy to clients.
  2. Mental Health Clinics: LMFTs may work in mental health clinics, where they provide therapy to individuals, couples, and families who are dealing with a range of emotional and psychological issues.
  3. Hospitals: LMFTs may be employed by hospitals to provide therapy to patients and their families who are dealing with medical issues or chronic illnesses.
  4. Schools: LMFTs may work in schools, providing counseling services to students and their families, as well as working with teachers and administrators to create supportive environments for students.
  5. Community Agencies: LMFTs may work for community agencies, such as non-profit organizations, providing therapy and support to individuals and families who are experiencing economic, social, or other challenges.
  6. Government Agencies: LMFTs may be employed by government agencies, such as child welfare agencies or family court systems, to provide therapy and support to families who are involved in the legal system.

Overall, LMFTs have a wide range of employment options, and may work in settings that align with their personal interests and career goals.

What does an LMFT do day to day?

The day-to-day tasks of a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) can vary depending on the setting in which they work. However, some common tasks that an LMFT may perform include:

Conducting assessments

LMFTs may meet with clients individually or as a couple or family to assess their emotional and psychological needs and develop a treatment plan.

Providing therapy

LMFTs may provide therapy to clients using a range of evidence-based techniques and interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, emotion-focused therapy, or solution-focused therapy.

Documenting client progress

LMFTs may keep detailed records of client progress, treatment goals, and any significant events or milestones that occur during therapy sessions.

Consulting with other professionals

LMFTs may consult with other mental health professionals, such as psychiatristscounseling psychologists, or social workers, to coordinate care and ensure that clients are receiving the best possible treatment.

Attending continuing education

LMFTs are required to stay up-to-date on the latest research and techniques in the field of marriage and family therapy, so they may attend continuing education courses, workshops, or conferences.

Networking and marketing

If they run a private practice, LMFTs may spend time networking with other mental health professionals, marketing their services, and managing their business operations.

Overall, the day-to-day tasks of an LMFT are focused on providing high-quality therapy and support to individuals, couples, and families, helping them to overcome emotional and psychological challenges and improve their overall well-being.

How do you become an LMFT?

Generally, it takes between 6 and 8 years to become an LMFT in the US. The length of time can vary depending on the educational path you choose, the state you live in and how long it takes you to complete the required clinical hours.

Education

You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While there is no specific major requirement for this degree, it is recommended that you pursue a degree in a related field such as psychology, sociology, or social work.

You must have a master’s degree in counselingfamily counseling, psychology, or a related field from an accredited program. The program must include coursework in marriage and family therapy, psychotherapy, human development, and assessment.

Clinical Experience

You must complete a certain number of supervised clinical hours ranging from 1,500 to 4,000 hours depending on the state.

Here are some general guidelines for the required clinical experience for LMFT licensure:

  1. Supervision: You must complete your clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional who meets your state’s requirements for supervision. Your supervisor will provide guidance and feedback on your work with clients and help you develop your clinical skills.
  2. Population: Your clinical experience must involve working with individuals, couples, and families. You may also be required to work with specific populations, such as children, adolescents, or people with substance abuse disorders.
  3. Setting: Your clinical experience may take place in a variety of settings, such as a mental health clinic, hospital, or private practice. The specific setting may depend on your state’s requirements and the availability of supervised clinical positions.
  4. Duration: The amount of clinical experience required varies by state, but typically ranges from 1,500 to 4,000 hours. You may be required to complete your clinical experience within a certain time frame, such as 2-3 years.
  5. Documentation: You must keep detailed records of your clinical experience, including the number of hours you have completed, the clients you have worked with, and the interventions you have used. You will need to submit this documentation to your state’s licensing board or regulatory agency when you apply for licensure.

Licensing

You must pass a state-administered licensure exam. The exam typically covers topics such as clinical assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and professional ethics.

The specific exam required for LMFT licensure varies by state.

Many states use the National Marriage and Family Therapy Examination (NMFTE), which is administered by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB). The NMFTE is a standardized exam that assesses knowledge and skills in the areas of marriage and family therapy, including assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and ethical practice.

Other states use a different exam or a combination of exams. For example, California uses the California Law and Ethics Exam for LMFTs, as well as the Clinical Exam, which is also administered by the AMFTRB.

It’s important to check the specific requirements for LMFT licensure in your state, including the exam(s) you need to pass and any other requirements, such as supervised clinical experience or continuing education.

You must obtain a state license to practice as an LMFT. Each state has its own requirements for licensure, so it’s important to check the specific requirements in your state.

To learn more about licensing of LMFTs in your state visit this page on the AMFTRB website and locate the board of your state.

How much do you earn as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist?

The average annual salary for marriage and family therapists in the United States is $51,340.

The BLS also reported that the highest-paid 10% of LMFTs earned more than $88,900, while the lowest-paid 10% earned less than $32,890. In general, LMFTs who work in healthcare settings, such as hospitals or outpatient care centers, tend to earn higher salaries than those who work in educational or government settings.

It’s worth noting that LMFTs who operate their own private practices have the potential to earn higher salaries, but may also have higher overhead costs and may need to spend time marketing their services and managing their business operations.

See our LMFT Salary Guide for more insights.

Do LMFTs have good career prospects?

Licensed marriage and family therapists have excellent career prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 22% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

There are several factors contributing to this growth, including:

  • Increased demand for mental health services: There is growing awareness of the importance of mental health, and an increasing number of people are seeking therapy and counseling services to address a wide range of emotional and psychological issues.
  • Shortage of mental health professionals: There is a shortage of mental health professionals in many parts of the United States, which has created a high demand for LMFTs and other mental health professionals.
  • Changes in healthcare policy: Changes in healthcare policy have expanded access to mental health services, making it easier for people to seek treatment and increasing the demand for mental health professionals.

Latest LMFT Job Listings

PositionCompanyLocationPosted
Adjunct Faculty, Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology – Interpersonal and Community DNaropa University Boulder, Colorado US05/21/2024
Adjunct Faculty, Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology – Interpersonal and Community D We are searching for an experienced Adjunct Faculty, Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology – Interpersonal and Community D at our Nalanda Campus facility. Position Title: Adjunct Faculty, Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology – Interpersonal and Community Dynamics Awareness Labs Lead (In person, on Campus)# … More
Licensed Behavioral Health Counselor – FTAscension Medical Group St. Augustine, Florida US05/18/2024
DetailsSpecialty: Licensed Behavioral Health Department: Behavioral HealthEMR: AthenaFacility: Westside – Behavioral HealthLocation: Jacksonville, FLVisa Eligibility: NoneBenefitsPaid time off (PTO) Various health insurance options & wellness plans Retirement benefits including employer match … More
Assistant Professor – Marriage and Family Therapy – Department of Ed Psychology and Counseling 24-34California State University, Northridge Northridge, California US05/18/2024
Assistant Professor – Marriage and Family Therapy – Department of Ed Psychology and Counseling 24-34 Tenure-Track Faculty Position Announcement Department: Educational Psychology & Counseling Faculty … More
Staff Psychologist, Full TimeSanta Clara University Santa Clara, California US05/18/2024
Position Title:Staff Psychologist, Full TimePosition Type:RegularHiring Range:$96,600 – $147,550 commensurate with experiencePosition is approved at 75th percentile as of 1/1/2022.Pay Frequency:AnnualPOSITION PURPOSE: Staff Psychologist is a member of the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) team which includes therapists (psychologists, social workers, and marriage/family therapists) psychology … More
Licensed Clinician LMHC, LCSW, LMFTPerspectives Corporation North Kingstown, Rhode Island US05/16/2024
Perspectives’ Youth & Family Services is seeking a highly motivated and experiencedLicensed Clinicianto join our team! $2,500 Sign-On Bonus! The Licensed Clinician will be primarily responsible for clinical oversight and supervision of home-based workers within the Home-Based … More
Assistant Professor – Department of Counseling Psychology (2 positions: LGBTQ+ and Substance Use & Addictions)Santa Clara University Santa Clara, California US05/13/2024
Position Type:Assistant Professor – Department of Counseling Psychology (2 positions: LGBTQ+ and Substance Use & Addictions)Position Type:RegularSalary Range:$82,640 – $91,740: Based on years of experience.Generous benefits offered: scu.edu/hr/benefitsPurpose:The Department of Counseling Psychology in the School of Education and Counseling Psychology is … More
Behavioral Health Care Advocate – San Diego, CA – HybridUnitedHealth Group San Diego, California US05/11/2024
For those who want to invent the future of health care, here’s your opportunity. We’re going beyond basic care to health programs integrated across the entire continuum of care. Join us to start Caring. Connecting. Growing together. Due to our ongoing business relationship with the County of San Diego, Optum Behavioral Solutions has an immediate need for a Care Advocate. As the successful candidate you will focus on clinical review for inpatient, outpatient, and crisis … More
Pediatric Behavioral Health ClinicianUW Health Madison, Wisconsin US05/09/2024
Be part of something remarkable Working as an independent health care provider, you’ll play an integral role in our care teams by providing high-quality, cost-effective care to adult patients while working collaboratively within a multidisciplinary health team. We are seeking aBehavioral Health ClinicianorClinical Psychologistto: Collaborate with other medical professionals in a fast-paced environment. … More
Position
Adjunct Faculty, Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology – Interpersonal and Community D We are searching for an experienced Adjunct Faculty, Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology – Interpersonal and Community D at our Nalanda Campus facility. Position Title: Adjunct Faculty, Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology – Interpersonal and Community Dynamics Awareness Labs Lead (In person, on Campus)# … More
Company
Naropa University
Location
Boulder, Colorado US
Posted
05/21/2024
Position
DetailsSpecialty: Licensed Behavioral Health Department: Behavioral HealthEMR: AthenaFacility: Westside – Behavioral HealthLocation: Jacksonville, FLVisa Eligibility: NoneBenefitsPaid time off (PTO) Various health insurance options & wellness plans Retirement benefits including employer match … More
Company
Ascension Medical Group
Location
St. Augustine, Florida US
Posted
05/18/2024
Position
Assistant Professor – Marriage and Family Therapy – Department of Ed Psychology and Counseling 24-34 Tenure-Track Faculty Position Announcement Department: Educational Psychology & Counseling Faculty … More
Company
California State University, Northridge
Location
Northridge, California US
Posted
05/18/2024
Position
Position Title:Staff Psychologist, Full TimePosition Type:RegularHiring Range:$96,600 – $147,550 commensurate with experiencePosition is approved at 75th percentile as of 1/1/2022.Pay Frequency:AnnualPOSITION PURPOSE: Staff Psychologist is a member of the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) team which includes therapists (psychologists, social workers, and marriage/family therapists) psychology … More
Company
Santa Clara University
Location
Santa Clara, California US
Posted
05/18/2024
Position
Perspectives’ Youth & Family Services is seeking a highly motivated and experiencedLicensed Clinicianto join our team! $2,500 Sign-On Bonus! The Licensed Clinician will be primarily responsible for clinical oversight and supervision of home-based workers within the Home-Based … More
Company
Perspectives Corporation
Location
North Kingstown, Rhode Island US
Posted
05/16/2024
Position
Position Type:Assistant Professor – Department of Counseling Psychology (2 positions: LGBTQ+ and Substance Use & Addictions)Position Type:RegularSalary Range:$82,640 – $91,740: Based on years of experience.Generous benefits offered: scu.edu/hr/benefitsPurpose:The Department of Counseling Psychology in the School of Education and Counseling Psychology is … More
Company
Santa Clara University
Location
Santa Clara, California US
Posted
05/13/2024
Position
For those who want to invent the future of health care, here’s your opportunity. We’re going beyond basic care to health programs integrated across the entire continuum of care. Join us to start Caring. Connecting. Growing together. Due to our ongoing business relationship with the County of San Diego, Optum Behavioral Solutions has an immediate need for a Care Advocate. As the successful candidate you will focus on clinical review for inpatient, outpatient, and crisis … More
Company
UnitedHealth Group
Location
San Diego, California US
Posted
05/11/2024
Position
Be part of something remarkable Working as an independent health care provider, you’ll play an integral role in our care teams by providing high-quality, cost-effective care to adult patients while working collaboratively within a multidisciplinary health team. We are seeking aBehavioral Health ClinicianorClinical Psychologistto: Collaborate with other medical professionals in a fast-paced environment. … More
Company
UW Health
Location
Madison, Wisconsin US
Posted
05/09/2024