Multi-state Licensure of Interest to MFTs

By Communications

In the first half of 2022, AAMFT conducted an industry workforce study to examine the shifts related to COVID-19, their short- and longer-term impacts, and what challenges and opportunities are facing the field. In each issue of Family Therap-eNews, we examine a data point from this report.

To download the full report, visit

A growing need to service clients over state lines was another top challenge identified by 48% of respondents. Similarly, a vast majority of respondents (71%) indicated interest in multi-state licensure.

Within the respondents, 31% indicated they currently practice in more than one state.

83% of LMFTs with less than 6 years of experience were interested in being licensed in more states, compared to just 61% of respondents with over 20 years of tenure. Those with less than 6 years of experience were also less likely to already hold a second license (22%) compared to their counterparts (32-34%).

Less tenured LMFTs are likely still building their career and client portfolio and may thus be more interested in practicing in additional states as well. More tenured LMFTs have had time to pursue additional state licenses, and thus may be more satisfied with the number of licenses currently hold.

Respondents most commonly indicated they currently held a second license in California (11%), Florida (8%), Washington (5%), and New York (5%).

Florida (22%), California (21%), and New York (18%) were also the top three cited states where respondents were interested in obtaining a second license.

With few exceptions, interest in multi-state licensure generally appears to be for bordering states.
When asked about a preference in method for easing the process of obtaining licensure in other states, respondents showed a preference for greater portability (44%) over the development of an interstate licensure compact (38%).

These data points are rather interesting when viewed alongside the responses that most LMFTs indicated they were at full-employment and were averaging more clinical client hours than they desired. Through interviews and focus groups as part of this and another project, the driving factor for having multiple state licenses was not financial. Rather, clinicians cited that they wanted to maintain current client relationships (continuity of care). While such reasoning makes sense given the current post-pandemic context, it does beg the question, “Will therapists maintain this perspective as they reduce their client hours to a more manageable state?” Further, if financial reasons are not the driving force, then will therapists want to keep paying for a second license, learning separate state regulations, and all the nuances that accompany practice across state lines?

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