Frequently Asked Questions
Registration for the AMFTRB National licensing exam is managed by each state’s regulatory agency. Check the AMFTRB’s web site at: www.amftrb.org. You can also call your state’s agency that regulates MFT’s. This is usually something like a “Division of Professional Regulation” of the Secretary of State’s office, although some times it is put in a Department of Public Health. If you can’t find the agency, check one of the above web sites and/or call the information line for your state government. It’s often the same agency that regulates Psychologists and Social Workers. You can also check with the officers of your state’s Division of the AAMFT. Visit aamft.org and/or call the AAMFT 202-452-0109 in Washington, DC.
No.You have to apply to your state MFT regulatory agency to be admitted to the exam. You will receive confirmation from the state’s regulatory board directly. Registration for a FSI Workshop does not simultaneously register you for your MFT Licensing/AMFTRB exam. FSI has no official connection to any state’s regulatory system.
Licensure requirements are set by each state in the U.S. individually. All states with the exception of California use the AMFTRB exam and the material provided by Family Solutions can also be very helpful in your preparation even for the California exam.
Check your own state’s licensing regulations. In general, qualifications mirror requirements for Clinical Membership at AAMFT. If you meet the educational requirements for Clinical Membership you should qualify. The number of approved supervision hours, the standards for approved supervision and direct contact hours can vary from state to state. Some states will permit you to sit for the exam after completing your educational requirements, even though you have not yet met all of your clinical and/or supervision requirements. FSI strongly recommends you take this option if it is available to you. It works best for most people, to take the exam as close to their educational training as possible.
Picture your task as having 4 steps : Needs assessment, Planning, Collecting and organizing materials, and
Studying or practicing. In addition, passing the exam requires 2 basic skill areas: Content of the MFT field and Standardized test-taking strategies.
The first 3 preparation steps (assessment, planning and organizing) you will need for both skill sets. In place of studying, which applies to content areas, test-taking strategies can be developed by taking practice exams. No one should take the MFT license exam without having taken at least 2 carefully designed practice tests which correctly simulate the actual exam.
FSI recommends that you begin studying anywhere from 4 months to a full year prior to sitting for the exam, depending on how long you’ve been out of school and your general knowledge of the current models of MFT. You should organize your preparation and budget your time to be consistent. As you get closer to the exam, you should allocate approximately 3-4 hours/week. Aim for somewhere in the vicinity of 75-150 hours of total study time.
Detailed preparation strategies are discussed at the FSI Workshops, are explained in the FSI Study Guide and are available from FSI faculty directly. FSI’s Intensive Track preparation package includes consultation with senior FSI faculty.
First of all, get in touch with FSI. We may be able to help you figure out why you failed. If you are a previous FSI Workshop participant, call your FSI faculty member and discuss the situation. If not, you may want to consider registering for an FSI Workshop.We will help find your weak areas of preparation and help you strengthen them.
Also, if you have already taken an FSI workshop you are automatically eligible to re-take the Workshop one more time for a nominal materials charge, which is usually about $100.00.
Second, you should plan to take the exam again. Get in touch with your state regulatory agency and register to take it as soon as possible, taking into consideration the additional preparation you will need to do. Most states allow you to retake the exam 2-3 times. It will cost you to take the exam again, but your career and confidence in yourself are worth it.
The exam is difficult and changes somewhat each time it is offered. Read our testimonials and discussion forum threads for more details. Generally, many people say the exam was harder than they expected, while some do say it was easier. Almost everyone says it is more a test of academic knowledge in the MFT field, rather than being a good measure of clinical skills.
As the exam questions are kept confidential by AMFTRB it is impossible to tell exactly what questions will be on your exam. Certain patterns exist which is how we at FSI can help you prepare for this exam. The exam questions are multiple choice in format, with many clinical vignettes that you need to understand. Most candidates use the full 4 hours allotted for the exam.
Yes. If you visit www.amftrb.org you can find a wealth of information about exam questions as well as a few sample questions. Both FSI’s “paper-and-pencil” practice exams, as well as our software simulated exams, offer practice questions for you to become familiar with as you study for the exam. Don’t take the exam without first taking a few sample simulated exams.
The purpose of exam is to provide a consistent and quantifiable measure of the licensure candidate’s knowledge level. The AMFTRB has established a knowledge level for licensure as being reflecting “entry level in the field of marriage and family therapy.” For more detailed information regarding the exam’s purpose, please explore the following, http://www.amftrb.org/download.htm.
The exam was created in a collaboration between AMFTRB and PES (Professional Exam Services). AMFTRB has a sub-committee which is responsible for developing exam “items”. This committee meets a number of times per year and follows a carefully designed protocol to develop questions. The exam was not created by AAMFT and has no official relationship to AAMFT or any other professional association.
At the time of the initial creation of the exam, about 1992, the field of MFT was divided into 48 areas of knowledge (now known as the Knowledge Domains) and clinical practice skills, (now known as Practice Domains). Experts in each Knowledge Domain were identified from among senior MFT’s. Each of these experts wrote questions in their area after being trained in the construction of standardized test questions. In 2005, this number was increased to 56 and Family Solutions updated all our study materials to include the changes.
Each question is scored along three criteria: Its importance to the field, the level of knowledge that it tests and its validity. Only those questions meeting guidelines for all three criteria are kept. Originally a bank of about 800 questions was created. Since that time, 100 to 200 new questions are added each year. There are currently about 1500 questions in the PES / MFT exam database.
The exam does seem to be hardest for those out of school the longest. Nevertheless, try to not to panic! Get organized instead.
While there is an enormous amount of material that you are responsible for showing competence in, this test is passable. It does, however, require structure and diligence on your part and the development of a study plan. You could look over the AMFTRB Knowledge and Practice Domains and try to assemble all your old notebooks and texts and put together what materials you have and a list of those additional ones you believe you need to get, or, you can let us help you. We have a specific study plan included in our Study Guide, as well as many other materials – essentially everything you will need.
Call us and let us help you get started.
FSI has developed specific strategies for those people that historically have not done well on standardized tests or have learning disabilities. Ask us how we might help you personally if this is the case. FSI’s Workshops raise exam candidates test scores considerably. Those least experienced and expert with standardized tests tend to gain the most from the Workshops.
It will not necessarily help and many say it is actually a hindrance. However, if you have practiced according to some of the currently accepted principles of the MFT field you may find some number of questions relatively easy for you. However, keep in mind that this is primarily an examination that tests knowledge more than clinical intuition.
Years of clinical practice tend to distance us from the kind of intellectual hair-splitting and knowledge-based questions which are on the exam. Most clinicians are busy enough “being present” and responding to interpersonal cues that arise in a face-to-face therapy session, rather than being primarily focused on concepts.
In our Workshops, FSI faculty help participants TEMPORARILY “unlearn” some of their own preferred clinical practices, and instead learn to think in terms of the MFT field more generally. As practicing MFTs, supervisors and trainers, all of our faculty are specifically trained to help you with your particular needs. Tell us what they are and we will help you come up with a plan of study.
The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions, with 4 answers to choose from. You have 4 hours to complete the exam which is administered under strictly controlled conditions. Many questions are based upon clinical vignettes. FSI has developed an ove
A candidate has 4 hours to complete the exam. We have heard of extensions being granted to those with special needs.
Importantly, over the course of the 4 hours of testing, examinees generally change how they approach questions. Some people tire and become less careful, while others gain or lose confidence. It is important to take a number of practice exams to see how you handle the lengthy session.
The FSI Workshop teaches participants test-taking strategies which include a disciplined approach to each question, over the course of the entire exam.
Computer based testing was instituted in November, 2001. When you register for the exam with your state board, they will give you details of where and when you may take the exam. The AMFTRB has contracted with Prometric-Thomson Learning Centers which has numerous locations in each state. You must take the exam at one of these centers during one of the periods of time it is available each year. Only basic computer skills are necessary to take the exam.
The exam is now offered during 4 specific testing windows each year. You make an appointment to take the exam at the time you register with your state board. For more information, visit http://www.amftrb.org/examdate.htm.