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Have you always been interested in how families function? Do you want to help when you see a family struggling? Or perhaps you yourself have experienced the hardships caused by family problems and want to assist others going through the same thing.

If this sounds like you and you’re considering a career as a marriage and family therapist (MFT), it’s important to know that the application process for becoming an MFT varies from state to state. If you live and plan to practice in Colorado, you’ve come to the right place. 

This guide will take you straight to MFT Colorado central where you’ll find all of the information you need about education, training, and state board licensure in the state.

MFT Program Application Process in Colorado

So what is an MFT therapist and how does one become one?  Generally, the first step to becoming a marriage and family therapist is to apply to an accredited graduate school program. MFTs in Colorado are required to graduate from a master’s or doctorate level program in marriage and family counseling1

Each school you apply to may have unique and professional counseling requirements, but the most common include:

  • Transcripts from your bachelor’s degree showing a GPA of at least 3.0
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Up-to-date resume
  • Personal essay or statement

The area of study you received your undergraduate degree in usually isn’t important. However, depending on what you studied, you might be required to take a few courses in psychology or another closely related subject to bring your skills up to par for a graduate-level program.

Once you’ve compiled the required pieces of documentation, you’re likely ready to apply to the behavioral health schools of your choice.

Components of an MFT Program in Colorado

Colorado MFT requirements stipulate that you must have either an MA or PsyD degree in marriage and family therapy. The master’s degree path is usually a little shorter than the PsyD, but some of the family therapy education coursework you’ll be required to complete is the same.

Required Coursework for MFTs in Colorado

So what is an MFT degree? The Degree programs are accredited to ensure that graduate school students are learning the skills they need to succeed after graduation. The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) is responsible for setting the standards for MFT programs. COAMFTE requires the following coursework be included in both MA and PsyD level programs:2

  • Foundations of practice, including theories and models – 6 credits
  • Clinical treatment of individuals, couples, and groups – 6 credits
  • Diverse, multicultural, and/or underserved communities – 3 credits
  • Research and evaluation – 3 credits
  • Professional identity, law, ethics, and social responsibility – 3 credits
  • Biopsychosocial health and development – 3 credits
  • Mental health assessment, diagnosis, and treatment – 3 credits
  • Contemporary issues – 3 credits
  • Community intersections and collaboration – 3 credits

There are two things you should know about these core requirements:

  • The credits are based on a traditional semester system
  • These are the minimum number of credits in these subject areas

To complete a master’s program, you’ll typically need to earn approximately 60 semester-credits. Students attending school full-time might be able to complete the program in about two years. If you attend school part-time, it will likely take longer to finish the classroom portion of your MFT program. This is the same whether you are choosing between MFT vs MSW. Students in Colorado are also required to complete a practicum or internship as part of their MA program.

How Does a PsyD Differ from a MA in MFT?

Students who wish to take the longer road to earn a PsyD in MFT can expect to take the same required coursework listed above. However, doctoral candidates also need to take advanced coursework which may focus on the following:3

  • Research development and assessment
  • Clinical and relational therapy
  • Applications to contemporary challenges
  • Supervision, teaching, consultation, and/or leadership

Along with these advanced concepts, doctoral students complete a dissertation. The extra coursework and the dissertation mean it might take a typical student somewhere between 4 to 7 years to complete a PsyD. The time frame is heavily dependent on two things:

  • If you take classes full or part-time
  • How long it takes to complete your dissertation

Once you finish your coursework, the next step for both MA and PsyDs is to move on to supervised clinical practice work.

Supervised Clinical Practice Requirements

Supervised clinical practice typically occurs after graduation. This is where you’ll have the opportunity to work with clients and develop your therapy skills. The specifics of your practice requirements depend on whether you completed an MA or PsyD.

MA Requirements for Clinical Practice

The clinical practice requirements for MA recipients include the following:4

  • Must have at least 2,000 hours of clinical practice
  • 1,500 of these hours must be direct face-to-face client contact
  • 1,000 of these hours have to be with families or couples

The aim of these supervised client sessions should be to practice diagnosis, assessment, and intervention. The 2,000 hours must also be equally (within reason) spread out over two years. Finally, if one of your post-graduate goals is to teach, you can use up to 300 teaching hours to count toward your 2,000-hour requirement as long as those hours were supervised by a qualified observer.

PsyD Requirements for Clinical Practice

The requirements for a doctoral graduate are a little different. Instead of two years, post-doctoral students have to demonstrate one year of supervised practice. The total number of hours must be at least 1,500 during that time.

After Graduation: Becoming a Licensed MFT in Colorado

Once you graduate and complete the clinical practice requirements, you’re almost ready for the final step: taking the MFT license exam.

Licensing Requirements Unique to Colorado

Colorado requires that students take a jurisprudence exam before applying to take the MFT licensing exam.5 A jurisprudence exam tests your knowledge of the laws and ethical practices in the state. You must include the exam score report when you apply to take the licensure examination.

Taking the MFT Licensing Exam in Colorado

Candidates in Colorado must take the national exam offered by the Associate of Marital & Family Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB). The exam is offered monthly. To get permission to take the exam, you must meet all of the requirements of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

The exam covers topics related to the practice of MFT, ethics, and more. The 2022 Candidate Handbook provides up-to-date information on what to expect and where to obtain a practice exam.

License by Endorsement

If you already have an active license from another state, you will need to demonstrate the following for licensure in Colorado:7

  • Demonstrate that you previously passed a national or state licensure examination
  • Show that you previously met the clinical supervision requirements of Colorado 
  • Prove active MFT practice for at least two years before applying in Colorado

You must provide documentation of these and meet the other licensure requirements in the state.

Keeping Your License: Continuing Education and Renewal Requirements in Colorado

In Colorado, MFT licenses are generally good for two years. They expire on August 31st of odd-numbered years.8 As a practicing MFT, you’re responsible for meeting your renewal requirements, including completing continuing education units (CEUs).

Colorado requires licensed MFTs to complete a minimum of 40 hours of CEUs during every two-year period.9 This ensures that all licensed MFTs are staying current on their skills. The list of learning activities MFTs can select from includes:10 

  • Volunteering
  • Mentoring
  • Supervising others
  • Presenting
  • Publishing
  • Completing courses
  • Independent or group learning

The main stipulation is that no more than 20 hours can come from the same category. You need to submit proof of your CEUs when you apply for license renewal.

Job Opportunities and Employment Outlook for MFTs in Colorado

Professionals who have completed the educational, clinical, and licensure requirements to earn their MFT license are often sought after candidates for roles in the field of marriage and family therapy. MFTs can work in places such as:

  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health facilities
  • Universities
  • VA hospitals
  • Schools

As you progress through your education, it’s always wise to ask questions and to make connections with professionals in the field so that you know what to expect when it’s time for you to search for a position.

MFT Program Accreditation Requirements in Colorado

When searching for an MFT program, you could do a quick Google search for MFT programs Colorado, but this wouldn’t give you the needed information about a program’s accreditation status. You’ll generally have to do a little more work to find this information. To ensure you’re selecting a program with the right accreditation, you must search for those accredited by COAMFTE.

This is because Colorado only allows graduates from a COAMFTE-accredited program to apply for licensure. Luckily, the Directory of COAMFTE Accredited Programs allows you to quickly check that a program is accredited.

Take the First Step into Your Future with Alliant

Colorado has some nuanced requirements you must meet if you wish to work as an MFT in the state. Generally speaking, you must hold a master’s or doctoral degree in the discipline, perform supervised clinical work, and pass the licensing exam. The first thing you have to do, though, is select a COAMFTE-accredited program.

If you want to start the path to becoming an MFT, Alliant COAMFTE-accredited programs might be an excellent choice. Both our MA and PsyD programs are offered completely online for added flexibility. This makes Alliant a great option for students with the goal of becoming an MFT in any state. Contact us today to learn more.


  1. “State Licensure Comparison.” Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards. 2018. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  2. “Accreditation Standards.” Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. 2018.…. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  3. “MFT Examination/Endorsement Application Checklist.” Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. 2022.…. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  4. “2022 Handbook for Candidates”. Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards. 2022. Accessed February 15, 2022.
  5. “State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners: Applications and Forms.” Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. 2022. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  6. “AMFTRB State Continuing Competency Chart.” Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards. 2018. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  7. “Professional Development Activities Chart.” Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. February 2021. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  8. “State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners: Applications and Forms.” Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. 2022. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  9.  “AMFTRB State Continuing Competency Chart.” Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards. 2018. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  10.  “Professional Development Activities Chart.” Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. February 2021. Accessed February 16, 2022.


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