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CERTIFICATION OF CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR LICENSED MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPISTS
Last updated: 12/1.2007
THE REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT FOR MFT'S
There is no central, or national continuing education certifying body for Marriage & Family Therapists in the United States.
Each US state which has passed MFT licensing laws, has created it's own license renewal criteria. A CE sponsor wishing to pre-certify their program for LMFT's must identify the state or states in which the likely attendees are licensed, review their CE criteria, and apply to that state (or those states) for certification. Failing to do this can mean that activity attendees may not receive proper license renewal credit for a continuing education activity.
For individual MFT licensee's, it is crucial that they understand that the activity they are attending must be certified by the state in which they are licensed. A CE activity that is certified in one state for MFT's will not necessarily provide bona fide credit toward license renewal for MFT's licensed by other states.
There are 3 basic strategies that the states have used for certification:
1. A few states will accept a mental health training program if it is certified by any of the other mental health professions.
2. A second group will accept certification by AAMFT national, or by any Division of AAMFT.
3. The third category are those states which require review and certification by their own designated reviewing agency.
No states offer true reciprocity of certification with one another.
FDA/CE has carefully researched the CE certification criteria in every state offering MFT licensing, and can make this research available to CE providers by arrangement. Contact Michael Vickers, CE Administrator for further information.
A STEP TOWARD CENTRALIZATION & SIMPLIFYING THE REVIEW PROCESS While there may be good reason to allow for unique training needs for MFT's in various regions of the country, most providers and sponsors of CE training would agree that having a centralized review program for all licensed states would save great amounts of time and expense, and would likely result in more activities being made available for more MFT's in more states. It can be just too onerous to pursue certification in all the states that attendees are likely to come from. Unfortunately, there is currently no single national body with sufficient credibility in MFT Continuing Education to draw all of the states' regulatory agencies together to coordinate a national continuing education review program. There is such a national body for MFT licensing however, the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards, is a national voluntary association of state agencies which regulate MFT's. The AMFTRB's primary mission is to administer the LMFT licensing examination. At this writing, 41 states have membership in this association. The AMFTRB does not see continuing education as part of it's mission, however.
FDA/CE has taken a few steps toward centralizing, simplifying and minimizing costs of the review process for MFT CE programs.
FDA/CE's review protocols were set up to be portable to other states, and currently provides certification for two states (MA & RI) with one application submission. FDA/CE 's certification will also be accepted by many other states, and because FDA/CE has itself submitted application to become a standing approved CE provider in still other states, a combination of certifying and co-sponsoring activities with FDA/CE will bring with it approval in almost all of the states offering MFT licensing. Check our state approval status for current information.
FDA/CE's certification application also helps reduce unnecessary complicatons. The application protocol provides state regulators with all needed information to provide assurance that licensing laws and regulations are being satisfied, while also keeping in mind the interests of CE sponsors in need of simplified, effecient and inexpensive review.
By asking for only absolutely needed information on the application, use of "check-off" items wherever possible, keeping fees very low, requiring only one copy of each application, quick turn-around and use of new technologies, FDA/CE keeps the process from being too demanding on sponsors. This works in the interests of MFT licensees and ultimately the consumer, in that most CE sponsors are able to certify in our states resulting in a large number of diverse educational programs being made available per licensee.
FDA/CE is available to consult with other states' regulatory agencies to help establish simplified but effective, MFT-informed certification protocols and to work toward centralization of MFT CE approvals nationwide. Contact Michael Vickers, CE Administrator, for details.
There is currently no other multi-state process in effect for MFT CE program certification.
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