Marital and Family Therapist

Department of Public Health


Marital and family therapists apply counseling techniques in the assessment and resolution of emotional conditions. This includes the alteration and establishment of attitudes and patterns of interaction relative to marriage, family life, and interpersonal relationships. They collect and analyze information about clients to determine advisability of counseling or referral to other specialists or institutions; review notes and information collected to identify problems and concerns; and, evaluate the results of counseling methods to determine reliability and validity of the treatment used. Therapists interact with other professionals to discuss therapy or treatment, new resources or techniques and to share information.

Code Citation IC, Chapter 154D; IAC, 645–31

Who Applies Persons who wish to counsel clients primarily in areas of marriage, family, parenting, and relationship issues.

When To Apply After meeting academic requirements and passing the national exam.

Initial Requirements An applicant must hold a 45-hour master`s degree or doctoral degree in Marital and Family Therapy or its equivalent from an accredited college or university, have two years of supervised clinical experience, and obtain a passing score on the national exam. An applicant who has obtained American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy clinical membership is considered to have met the clinical experience requirements. Provisions for licensure by interstate endorsement have been made if another state`s requirements are equivalent to Iowa`s. Since April 2, 1998, licensure to practice the profession of Marital and Family Therapy has been mandatory. Qualified members of other professions may provide services of a marital and family therapy nature consistent with the accepted standards of their respective professions, but these persons shall not use a title or description denoting that they are licensed marital and family therapists without first securing licensure. The Iowa Department of Public Health can be contacted to ascertain the various exemptions associated with this Act.

Duration Two years.

Processing Time Four weeks after complete application is received.

Fee Structure Application: $120 Renewal: $120

Renewal Requirements Forty hours of continuing education are required biennially for license renewal.

Exam Applicant must pass the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board Examination. Exam information will be provided when the applicant has been approved by the board.

Additional Information Iowa Department of Public Health Web site:

Services Provided

Service Category

  • Service SubCategory
Contact Information
Bureau of Professional Licensure
Lucas Building
321 E 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319