Counseling Licensure in California
California has a rather specific coursework requirement for applicants to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). You will want to carefully review the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (CBBS) website which you can find here:
For California you must complete the following steps:
- Educational requirements that include not only the degree received, but also specific course work during the graduate program.
- Apply to become a Professional Clinical Counselor Intern.
- Pass a background check.
- Compile necessary supervised experience component.
- Apply to the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (CBBS) for the right to take your exams, which you must pass with a score acceptable to CBBS.
- California requires the following components of education be completed.
- Earn your Bachelor’s degree in Counseling or a highly related field as a stepping stone towards your Master’s of Counseling.
- Apply for and be accepted to Master’s program that has been accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
- Complete seven of the nine required coursework areas as described here:
- Complete your Master of Counseling degree.
Apply for the Professional Clinical Counselor Intern Title
- You must submit all relevant degree and course work information to the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (CBBS).
- You can find the form to apply to become a Professional Clinical Counselor Intern here:
- You must pass a background check that will include fingerprinting.
Supervised Work Experience
Once you are a Professional Clinical Counselor Intern you will want to begin accumulating your necessary supervised work experience.
- You are required to earn 3,000 hours of supervised work experience in mental health.
- All your experience must occur within a two year time frame.
- You must earn a minimum of 1,750 hours of direct counseling work experience, of which only 500 hours can be group therapy or counseling.
- You can earn a maximum of 250 hours of counseling over the telephone.
- You can earn a maximum of 1250 hours of non-counseling work experience.
- You can earn a maximum of 250 hours of the non-counseling work experience can be administer tests, notes or other administrative active.
- You can earn a maximum of 250 hours maximum of workshops, training, seminars and conferences.
- 150 hours must be clinical experience in a hospital or community mental health setting of which a maximum of 40 hours can be earned in a single week.
- You must be supervised at least 1 hour per week of individual sessions or 2 hours if performing group sessions.
- If you earn more than 10 hours of direct counseling work experience in a week you will need to earn an additional hour of direct supervision in one-on-one counseling, or 2 hours if you are performing group counseling.
Apply For and Take Your Exam
Once you have met your supervised experience requirements you can prepare for your exams.
- Apply to the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (CBBS) for the right to take your exams.
- You can find your application form here: http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/forms/lpc/lpc_app_st.pdf
- Take and pass the California Law and Ethics Examination, this must be passed before you can take the next step.
- Take and pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE).
After you have attained your Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) title, you will be required to complete following Continuing Education components to maintain your license. These have not been delineated by legislature yet, you will want to check with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (CBBS) website to ensure you are up to date on all requirements for continuing education and coursework. You can find this information by clicking on the following link: