This website is the primary source for information about MFT licensure in the State of North Carolina.
The North Carolina Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board was established in 1979 when North Carolina became the fifth state in the nation to pass licensure statutes for marriage and family therapy.
While the other 45 states along with the District of Columbia, worked towards licensure status over the next three decades, North Carolina continued to lead the way in the profession. Accredited MFT programs in North Carolina were developed long before other universities even developed such courses of study.
By pioneering licensure, program accreditation, developing the first doctoral program of its kind, and continuing to be home to over 1500 licensees, the marriage and family therapy profession in North Carolina is held in high regard throughout the country.
Though the profession throughout the state has continued to grow through the years, the role of the licensure board has remained the same:
to protect the public from unprofessional, unauthorized, and unqualified individuals.
If an individual, couple, or family seeks help from someone holding themselves out as a licensed marriage and family therapist, they can be assured that the person can work within those contexts, based on training requirements and experience in the field.
Unlike other mental health professionals, marriage and family therapists have specific education and training in working with family systems. This is a core distinction between MFT and counseling, psychology, or social work. As such, it is reflected in the requirements to become licensed as a marriage and family therapist.
In order to fulfil the mandate to protect the public from those who may not have adequate training and experience in MFT, consistent standards, as listed in the law, are applied to every individual who applies for licensure.
Training and experience:
- Begins in graduate school under the direction of qualified supervisors (defined as approved and credentialed by AAMFT)
- Follows after graduation through the licensure exam (form pending) and additional hours of approved supervised experience
- Continues each year through required continuing education prior to annual licensure renewal
The North Carolina Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board is comprised of seven board members. Four board members must be licensed as marriage and family therapists within the State of North Carolina and three are designated as public members who must be residents of North Carolina. All are appointed by the Governor for a term of three years and are from different congressional districts. A board member can be re-appointed for a second term. Appointed board members may serve until a successor is appointed. Board appointees must pass background checks and evaluation for conflicts of interest by the NC Ethics Commission. Periodic training on ethics regulations is required as is financial disclosures. For more information, see www.ethics.ncsbe.gov
Christopher Rodriguez, LMFT, Board Chair (Professional Member)
Tamara Whitten, LMFT, Board Vice-Chair (Professional Member)
Connie Harris (Public Member)
Mars Hill, NC
Stacey Kolomer (Public Member)
Carolina Beach, NC
Kelly McKinnon (Public Member)
Heather Stehberger, LMFT (Professional Member)
Sandra Vander Linde, LMFT (Professional Member)
All board members are volunteers They meet at designated times throughout the year to review license applications, address ethical complaints, regulations, and other board items. Meeting dates are published in advance to the public and minutes for the meetings are available. You can find the calendar containing application deadlines, notifications and board meeting dates throughout this website at the bottom of each page or sidebars.
The board is served by an executive director who conducts the day-to-day business of the board and reports all activities to the board. A staff attorney also assists to review the law and to serve as counsel to the board.
Ruby Bullard, Esq.
As part of the mission to protect the public, the Board:
- Responds to and investigates ethical complaints
- Reviews and approves license applications
- Processes license renewals
- Assures that licensure exam applicants have met the statutory requirements
- Approves licensees in good-standing for PLLC or PC incorporation by the Secretary of State’s office.
The North Carolina Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board is committed to providing the public with information, resources, and when necessary, filing a grievance or complaint against a therapist.
On the home page and under Public, you will find the Board’s popular Verify a License tool. By entering the licensee name or license number, along with the license type, you may search the board’s database. If any disciplinary action has been imposed on a licensee this will be noted in the additional information section relative to the licensee. If ‘Yes’ appears in the additional information section, you will find a link to the final disciplinary order. A filed complaint is not a public record unless disciplinary action is imposed. For more information go to the complaints page on this website.
If you are concerned about a possible ethical violation or to file a complaint with the Board, you may do so via the online reporting tool or you may download a form to mail.
MFT Affiliated Organizations and Licensure Boards – There’s a Difference.
The North Carolina Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board is a statutorily mandated licensure board. It is charged with regulating MFT licensure in the State of North Carolina. Regulation of licensure means determining the qualifications of persons who may be licensed; licensure defines a scope of practice for licensees (and therefore licensure laws are often referred to as “practice acts”), and licensure prohibits nonlicensed persons from engaging in the defined scope of practice.
The North Carolina Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (NCAMFT) is a voluntary membership organization. It does not regulate MFT licensure.
The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) is a voluntary membership organization. It does not regulate MFT licensure.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is the accrediting body for colleges and universities. It does not regulate MFT licensure. The NC MFT Licensure Board recognizes regionally accredited universities.
The Commission for Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) is the accrediting body for MFT programs. It does not regulate MFT licensure.
The Association of American Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) is a voluntary membership organization of state regulatory boards. It performs a variety of services including providing a clearinghouse for information and research, producing and maintaining the National Marriage and Family Therapy Examination which must be passed by anyone seeking licensure as an MFT in the State of North Carolina. The NC MFT Licensure Board contracts with the AMFTB to utilize the National MFT Exam as one of the conditions for licensure.
The NC MFT Licensure Board speaks as a collective. This means do not contact individual board members with questions as a board member cannot speak for the entire board unless specifically authorized by the Board. All questions that are not answered on the website should be emailed via the Contact section.