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Letter to LMFT's in Massachusetts

September 1, 2001... and beyond

All MFT licenses must be renewed by 12/31/01
(and every odd numbered year beyond)


All Massachusetts MFT licenses will expire on December 31, 2001 (as well as 12/31/03 and every odd numbered year). 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 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 fill out the form and mail it back before 12/31/2001, along with a fee. You will receive your renewed license, valid until 12/31/2003, 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:

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. Licenses will expire at the end of 2001, just as they did at the end of 1997 and 1999. They expire again in December, 2003.

Exceptions to 30 hour requirement: If you have been licensed for fewer then 17 months on 12/31/01, then your CE requirement is less than 30 hours. For 0 thru 8 months, you need only 10 CE credits. For 9 to 16 months you need 20. Whatever your requirement for this cycle, in the next renewal cycle you will need the full 30 credits.

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 this renewal cycle, your CE activities must have begun on or after 1/1/2000, and be completed by 12/31/2001.

Partial Credit for Overlapping Programs: If you are in a training program that starts in September, 2001 (for example) and finishes in June, 2002, or any continuing program that begins prior to the renewal date and ends after the renewal date, you will receive credit only for hours attended up until the deadline (12/31/01). 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, or our local association, the Massachusetts 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 MAMFT or AAMFT approval.

Pre-certified, approved activities: You will know if the activityis 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 "MAMFT"), and you will also see a unique MAMFT certification number for the activity. Certification by another profession will not satisfy this requirement.

Since 1/1/00 MAMFT has approved 841 activities for MFT's. As of 8/1/01 there are still 121 activities to be held prior to12/31/01 that are pre-approved.You can also use various Home Study and/or distance learning activities. Check www.mftlicense.com/ce for regular updates to the listings.

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

If you have already completed a professional mental health training program which has not yet been approved by MAMFT, 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 a brief application form describing the activity and pay a fee of $20.00. You may submit any number of retroactive credit applications for any activities, totalling 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 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 attendee's 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 MAMFT, you will not know for sure if you can get credit retroactively 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.

Likely Approval: Look at the requirements for a program's approval to determine if the activity you attended is likely to be approved retroactively. Most bona-fide professional mental health trainings are approved.If the program is approved by another mental health profession, it's more likely that it will be approved by MAMFT as well.

Timing is crucial. You must submit these applications to FDA by 12/1/01 to insure that you receive a certificate of approval in response, within time to submit your license renewal to the Board prior to license expiration on 12/31/01. 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.

Contacts, applications, lists and more information:

MAMFT's CE approvals is administered by FDA/CE Certifications locatedat 40 School St, #2, Framingham, MA. 01701. The phone is 508.877.3660 ext 16. Fax is: 508-877-7331. Contact at FDA are Michael Vickers.Email is: ce@fso.com

Applications for "Retroactive Approval" and lists of pre-approved activities are available at the links in this note and from the web address below. Printed copies can be faxed or, for printed copies of applications and lists by mail, please send a written request and enclose a self-addressed legal size stamped envelope.

Because of the large volume of calls, approval information cannot begiven out over the phone.

The regulatory Board can be reached at 617-727-3080. Call the Board if you do not receive your renewal application by late November.

You can obtain a copy of the Regulations online at the web address below, or in print from the State book store at 617-727-2834. They will charge you a nominal fee.

Additional details, up to date approval lists and all application forms,including information for CE activity sponsors, are available online at: www.mftlicense.com/ce .


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