Career FAQ


I want to pursue an LMFT license, what steps can I take and how long do I have to wait?

After graduating from an accredited program, a period of post-degree supervised clinical experience – usually 2 years – is necessary before licensure. When the supervision period is completed, you can apply to the regulatory commission to take a state licensing exam or the national examination for marriage and family therapists. Once accepted, you can sit for the licensure exam.

What types of agencies hire MFT’s?

Marriage and family therapists work in a variety of settings including: inpatient facilities, employee assistance programs, health maintenance organizations, community mental health centers, business and consulting companies, schools and head start centers, social service agencies, universities and research centers, courts and prisons.

What is the phone number for the MFT licensing organization?

You can reach the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation at (217)785-0800. Each state has an equivalent licensing body. Check with the state where you will be practicing.

In an agency comprised mostly of social workers, will my MSMFT be an advantage, disadvantage or neither?

The face-to-face clinical experience with individuals, couples and families, along with the extensive supervision offered in MFT programs will prove to be extremely valuable when working with professionals from other disciplines.

What steps should I take to be properly credentialed and skilled to offer supervision to other therapists?

You must complete a supervision course followed by supervised supervision sessions. Please see the continuing education section of The Family Institute website for more information on supervision courses.

What should my resume emphasize in order to be a more attractive candidate for an agency or hospital requesting a social worker and/or counselor?

Your resume should emphasize your clinical strengths and experiences related to the job you are applying for. Also, experience with the target population of the position being sought is beneficial. And always, network, network, network.

What other careers are available to me outside of therapy field?

There are many careers outside of the therapy field. Some examples are corporate work, family business consultation and career counseling.

What is the expected salary of an MFT?

This varies by organization, but the 2007 median salary for marriage and family therapists in Illinois was $43,600 (

What are some of the basic steps necessary to start my own private practice?

Starting a private practice is an important decision; you will want to be sure that you are prepared. Be sure to seek as much information as possible and consult with private practitioners before embarking on your own practice.

The first step toward private practice is becoming a licensed therapist. Before leasing an office of your own, you may want to start more conservatively by subletting from another mental health professional for several hours or even several days per week. You will need to purchase liability insurance and develop clinical forms for your practice. It is also wise to meet regularly with a supervisor, supervision group, and/or a peer consultation group when you are in private practice. You may also want to have the name of a lawyer who deals with mental health issues for consultation as needed.

What type of support can I receive from the Institute as I begin my own private practice?

Your connection to the Family Institute and the Alumni Association can be very valuable in private practice. The Alumni Association publishes a directory of alumni practitioners for referrals and provides networking events to stay in touch with other alumni and gain referral sources. The Family Institute offers workshops and conferences to maintain contact and gain information on important issues. The Institute also has many AAMFT approved supervisors on staff.

Can I begin private practice right away after I obtain my MSMFT?

It is not advisable to begin a private practice before earning a license and gaining additional work experience.

What are some ways I can market my practice?

Successful marketing plans include networking with others in the field, participating in local and national mental health organizations, joining insurance panels, advertising, writing articles and working with existing mental health establishments for referrals.