Your National Exam Roadmap

Your comprehensive guide for the entire exam process

Introduction to the Exam

To practice as a licensed marital and family therapist (LMFT) nearly all states and jurisdictions* require passing the MFT National Examination, developed and managed by AMFTRB. The only exception is California, which administers their own exam.

Basically, there are two scenarios leading to becoming a licensed LMFT: 1.) you are already an experienced or practicing marriage and family therapist, or 2.) you are currently in a graduate program, or transitioning from another related career and plan to practice as an LMFT. In both cases, it is important that you become familiar with the 1.) MFT National Examination process, 2.) your state’s or jurisdiction’s policies and requirements, and then 3.) the process for applying and completing the exam under the auspices of the board that is sponsoring you.

Please read the comprehensive Handbook for Candidates and the many pages on this website that are designed to give you the knowledge, tools, and resources you need to make this experience as efficient and effective as possible. We also encourage you to read the appropriate pages on the AAMFT website.

Most importantly, contact your state or jurisdiction for the most current and accurate rules, regulations, and information about licensure and testing, as jurisdictions continually update their board rules. They are the key to a successful path to licensure. AMFTRB does not license therapists or approve candidates for testing, we only provide the means to take the exam that these states and jurisdictions require to license you.

How to take the MFT National Exam

Important: Preparing for the Exam

Before registering to take the exam, candidates must:

  • Be registered with or in contact with the state or jurisdiction where they intend to practice (also from whom you will receive your Approval Code necessary to register for the exam—more below)
  • Complete their graduate degree

It is highly recommended that candidates

  • Are working on their post-graduation supervised experience hours (the examination is constructed for and normed on a post-graduate degreed candidate with required supervised experience hours).
  • Take and pass the Practice Exam
  • Take the Prometric Test Drive
  • Read through the Exam reference—lots of details about taking the exam, what to expect, and what to areas of knowledge it will cover.
  • Read through the Handbook for Candidates
  • Talk with your supervisor about licensing requirements, your jurisdiction’s rules and regulations, and the licensing exams.
  • Finally, check/verify with the specific state board or jurisdiction from whom you are seeking licensure and acceptance of your examination score.

Important: Before you can even register for the MFT National Examination, you must have been in contact with your jurisdiction and state board and have received an Approval Code, indicating you have met their requirements and are eligible to take the exam.

Note: Neither AMFTRB, PTC, nor the member boards can send copies of past examinations to applicants, nor is there a list of recommended books or other materials for use in preparation for the examination. Read a more in-depth discussion of the exam.

The Handbook for Candidates

The Handbook for Candidates is a must-read and should answer most of your questions about the exam process, from your initial application through the scoring and receipt of your results.

MFT Practice Exam

AMFTRB offers a Practice Examination to help prepare candidates for the MFT National Examination. This is an opportunity to get a feel for the actual exam questions and your success. The practice exam has 100 questions (compared to the 180 on the national exam) and is based on the 6 practice domains covered in the national exam. Your scores will be displayed at the completion of the exam and can be retrieved later using your sign-in. Learn more about the contents of the actual MFT National Examination here.

School Vouchers

Training programs may purchase blocks of practice exams at reduced fees, and administer the tests themselves. Read more about School Vouchers here.

Help with the Practice Exam
  • Registration, sign in, or to recover password visit PTC
  • Purchasing and Technical assistance: call 833-207-1288
  • Feedback: click conversation-bubble icon on the registration page

Also, Prometric Test Drive

Experience what it’s like on exam day.

Prometric, our testing provider, offers the test takers the opportunity to take a 30-minute “dry-run” of the test center experience prior to their exam. The program, called Test Drive, allows candidates to walk through, on a practice basis, all check-in and testing procedures that occur at the test center on test day.

The full Test Drive experience, which costs $30 U.S., includes check-in, ID confirmation, documentation checking, image capture, seating, tutorial, a generic sample test, a survey of the experience, an end-of-test report and check-out.

Sign up or learn more here.

How to Register for the Exam

(See the diagram at the top of this page)

  • Candidates must first contact their state board or jurisdiction where they intend to become licensed, even if it is different from the state where they are currently residing or practicing, for applications and eligibility requirements.
  • You must receive an approval code from your state jurisdiction before applying for the exam. This code can only be used once, so if you fail the exam you will have to acquire another approval code from your state jurisdiction before applying for the exam again.
  • Before registering, consult the Testing Period chart in the Handbook for Candidates for application
  • Candidates are required to complete an online application for PTC/AMFTRB. The candidate will receive email notification of the online link for this application only after the jurisdiction or state board in which the candidate has applied has sent their Approval Code.
  • Once the PTC/AMFTRB application is completed and the examination fee has been received, candidates will receive an identification number and information concerning the testing centers. Candidates will be instructed to contact Prometric directly to schedule their examination location, date and time.
  • See pages 2 and 5 of the Handbook for Candidates
  • Please contact your jurisdiction or state board directly with any questions concerning application deadlines, approval codes and their validity, and additional fees for licensure and application. Your jurisdiction may have additional requirements that may supersede the ones outlined above.
ADA Accommodations and ELL Special Arrangements

After the jurisdiction has approved the applicant to sit for the national exam, the jurisdiction will email an Approval Code and link it to the PTC online application system. If you feel you qualify for ADA Accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act, please complete the linked form. Read more about accommodations here. If you need considerations as an English Language Learner please download, complete ELL Special Arrangements, and submit to your jurisdiction. Here’s a list of participating states or jurisdictions. Note: ADA and ELL applications must be made 8 weeks ahead of the exam date. More on FAQ page.

Examination Fees

Examination Fee for the Examination: $365.00. No discounts are available.

(Includes computerized examination testing fee) Major Credit Cards are accepted. Please do not send checks, money orders, or cash

Please note that fees are not refundable.

Help with registration

If you have problems with registration or your purchase, call PTC for assistance at 212-356-0660.

Scheduling your Exam

Once the PTC/AMFTRB application is completed and the examination fee has been received, candidates will receive an identification number and information concerning the testing centers within 6 weeks. (Didn’t get it? Contact PTC using the information below). Candidates will be instructed to contact Prometric directly to schedule their examination location, date, and time. Available dates on page 2 of the Handbook for Candidates.

Candidates must sit for the examination within the testing period they have been authorized to test in by PTC. Once a candidate has received their scheduling authorization from PTC to take the exam, the candidate should make an appointment online with Prometric as soon as they receive their confirmation. Testing will be scheduled at the location and on the date and time of the candidates’ choosing, if available. View available dates here. Prometric will try to accommodate candidates’ scheduling preferences as closely as possible. However, it is in the candidate’s best interest to contact Prometric as soon as they receive confirmation from PTC to schedule a date and time. Also, see the Handbook for Candidates, depending on when you intend to take the examination.

Choosing a Testing Period
  • The MFT National Examination is given during a one-week window every month. Keep the following in mind when choosing your testing period:
  • Give yourself enough time to study. A practice test is offered by AMFTRB.
  • You may need to have your results into your state board by a certain date. Be sure that you allow yourself enough time to retest if you fail the first time.
  • Emergencies happen, so it is recommended not waiting until the last day of the exam window to schedule. See below or page 3 of the Handbook for Candidates to see how you can change your testing period from one month to another.
Help with scheduling
  • If you do not receive a Scheduling Authorization or are having trouble scheduling your appointment call PTC for assistance at 212-356-0660.
  • The PTC Candidate ID number on your Scheduling Authorization is only valid for use during the testing period you chose. If you cannot test during your chosen testing period please see below or page 3 of the Handbook for Candidates to see how you can change your testing period from one month to another.

Rescheduling your Exam

Rescheduling examination appointments within a testing period.
Candidates are able to reschedule their examination appointments within the same testing period as long as the request is submitted within the timeframe described below. Reschedule within the permitted time frame by calling or going to the Prometric website:

  1. There are no stipulations if your request is submitted 30 days or more before the original appointment.
  2. If the request is submitted 5–29 days before the original appointment, candidates may reschedule for a $50 rescheduling fee paid to Prometric.
  3. If less than 5 days before the original appointment, candidates will need to reapply for a future testing period and pay the standard fees.
  4. If you want to cancel or reschedule your exam date and site for a different month than you have scheduled, then there is a one-time reschedule possible for $175. See pages 5–6 of the Handbook for Candidates for more information.  

The $175 transfer fee applies equally to all candidates who could not test during their selected testing period. Reasons for not testing, such as medical excuses, are not required and will not be considered. When contacting your state board, you will only need to request a new candidate approval code and not provide any further information.

When Prometric must close test sites due to adverse weather or power outages, and there is time (the day of the exam may be difficult), their policy is to notify affected candidates of the closing and to reschedule them at no additional cost. Be assured that every effort will be made to enable you to take the exam that you have prepared for. All candidates who cannot test because their test appointment was canceled by Prometric or experienced bad weather or a technical issue should contact PTC by phone (833-207-1288) or email and we will respond on the next business day.

Failure to appear for or canceling your scheduled examination appointment will result in a forfeit of examination fees. Be sure to choose your examination period carefully before applying for the exam. More on our FAQ’s, and page 3 of the Handbook for Candidates.

If your state board/jurisdiction has a policy about an MFT candidate taking the exam within a certain amount of time to remain as a state MFT intern or candidate, and you have gone beyond that time frame, only the state board can provide any “eligibility extension.”

Taking the Exam

See pages 6–12 for the Handbook for Candidates.

Agree to Security Agreement

AMFTRB aggressively guards the integrity and security of the MFT National Exam and requires a candidate’s signature. Also, see pages 22–23 of the Handbook for Candidates and Prometric’s security measures.

Testing Centers and environment

Learn more about the testing centers and the testing environment and what you can expect. Report any extenuating issues experienced during the test, such as computer problems, outside noise, etc., with the proctor and in the survey at the end of the exam.

What is on the National Exam?

An in-depth look at the purpose and contents of the exam. Also, see pages 11–21 of the Handbook for Candidates.

Pre-test Tutorial

When a candidate is finally sitting at the computer in the testing center, there is a short tutorial on how to operate the computer, answer the questions, etc.

Retaking the Exam

If you want to retake the exam after having failed it, you must return to the PTC website to your application with AMFTRB and follow the instructions to re-apply/update your application and then proceed. (see page 5 of Handbook for Candidates. If you have taken the exam more than 3 or 4 times in a year, then you may need to check with the state board office that approved you to take the exam to make certain that you are still approved to take the exam.

Scores and Scoring

See pages 7–8 of the Handbook for Candidates.

Approximately 20 business days following the close of each testing period PTC (not AMFTRB or Prometric) will report scores to the state or jurisdiction licensing board(s) you indicated when registering (from where you received your Candidate ID and Approval Code). Scores will be also emailed to candidates (scores are not posted on the Prometric site).

  • Score Reports are sent via a secure link, not in the body of the email.
  • Your Score Report is password protected. Your Candidate ID serves as the password to open your Score Report. Your Candidate ID can be found on your Scheduling Authorization.
  • The link to download your Score Report is valid for 30 days from the date you receive the email with the Score Report. Please download your Score Report within 30 days and print or save a copy for your records.
  • Your Score Report remains password-protected even after you download and save a copy on your computer. Please save your Candidate ID.
  • To access your Score Report after 30 days, you will need to contact PTC to request a new link. Requests made more than 6 months from the date of this email are subject to a $25 Duplicate Score Report fee.
  • If you or your state board or jurisdiction do not receive your scores after 20 business days following the close of the testing period, please contact PTC directly—neither Prometric or AMFTRB distribute scores.
How to receive a copy of your scores

If you need to request an additional copy of your scores for yourself, your employer, or a new jurisdiction and state board, fill out the online Score Transfer Request form through PTC (the fee was $60/per transfer as of March 1, 2021). Note: PTC has text scores back to 1989, and can assist you if you don’t have a record of when you took the exam.

Note: if you or your board does not receive the scores in a timely manner, contact PTC at (212) 356-0660. AMFTRB does not send out scores.

How to transfer your scores to a new jurisdiction and state board

If you have passed the national exam in one state or jurisdiction, but are moving to another, you may request to have your test results transferred to the new jurisdiction and state board using this form Note: PTC has text scores back to 1989, and can assist you if you don’t have a record of when you took the exam.

Note: If you wish to be licensed in a state(s) other than the one that provided your original approval code, you must confirm your eligibility with each of those state boards or jurisdictions.

What are my options if I fail?
Help receiving your scores

If you have problems receiving your scores, call PTC for assistance at 212-356-0660 or use the contact form.

Have questions or need help?

  • Use our Contact form
  • For questions retrieving scores from the practice exam contact PTC
  • For questions about registration, hand scoring, transferring and copies of scores contact PTC:
  • For scheduling or rescheduling the exam contact Prometric: (800) 741-0934 or email form.

Summary of Exam Contacts

Professional Testing Corporation (PTC)
(212) 356-0660

Prometric Computer Testing Centers
(800) 741-0934

  • Online application process
  • General application policy and procedures
  • Testing policies and procedures
  • Rescheduling to a new testing period
  • Request for Special Accommodations
  • Request for Hand Score/Score Transfer
  • Miscellaneous inquiries
  • Schedule test appointment
  • Reschedule test appointment (within a testing
  • period)
  • Cancel test appointment
  • Directions to test site
  • Questions regarding testing sites and appointments