Traditional Path 

Licensing Requirements for Counselors with a degree and/or any supervised experience earned in another state

Licensed Counselors from other states

Following is a summary of requirements for those who hold a valid license as a professional clinical counselor, which allows the applicant to independently provide clinical mental health services in another jurisdiction of the United States.  There are two sets of requirements, one for those who apply by December 31, 2015 and one for those who apply on or after January 1, 2016.

Requirements for those who apply by December 31, 2015.  

Education that is substantially equivalent to California’s requirement for LPCCs:

A 48-semester-unit master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited or approved institution, which is counseling or psychotherapy in content, includes 6 semester units of supervised practicum or fieldwork study, and contains at least 3 semester units of coursework in 7 the following 9 core content areas.  All 9 core areas must be completed before licensure or intern registration.  Licensed counselors from other states may remediate deficiencies at the board’s discretion.

Because the Board has this discretion, applicants with degrees from other states may make up more than two or three courses outside their degree, as well as credits, as long as the degree contains 6 credits of practicum/fieldwork and the counselor gained that education while residing outside California.  This does not apply to those who took the grandparenting path, those who earn their degrees in California or those who earn out-of-state or online degrees, while residing in California.

Those with degrees from out-of-state must submit syllabi for the following nine core content courses.  If the applicant has attempted and failed to obtain syllabi from the university, course descriptions from the university catalog may be submitted.  The Board will make the final determination on whether the course description is acceptable. Those with post-2001 degrees from a CACREP-accredited program do not need to submit syllabi.  The university must complete the Out-of-State Degree Program Certification form found in the application.

  • (A)  Counseling and psychotherapeutic theories and techniques (includes counseling theories, selection of counseling interventions, orientation to wellness and prevention, etc.)
  • (B)  Human growth and development across the lifespan (includes psychopathology, normal and abnormal behavior, developmental crises)
  • (C)  Career development theories and techniques
  • (D)  Group counseling theories and techniques
  • (E)  Assessment, appraisal and testing
  • (F)  Multicultural counseling theories and techniques
  • (G)  Principles of diagnosis, treatment planning and prevention of mental and emotional disorders and dysfunctional behavior
  • (H)  Research and evaluation
  • (I)  Professional orientation, ethics and law in counseling
  • View definitions of each of the core content areas.

Advanced Coursework:  In addition to the course requirements described above, a minimum of 12 semester units of advanced coursework to develop knowledge of specific treatment issues, special populations, application of counseling constructs, assessment and treatment planning, clinical interventions, therapeutic relationships, psychopathology or other clinical topics.

Additional Coursework:  In addition to, or as part of the graduate degree, instruction in each of the following content areas must be completed prior to licensure.

Note that, other than the psychopharmacology course, these courses are continuing education hours.

  • (1)  Minimum of 15 contact hours of instruction in alcoholism and other chemical substance dependency
  • (2)  Minimum of 10 contact hours of instruction in human sexuality
  • (3)  Two-semester or three quarter-unit survey course in psychopharmacology
  • (4)  Minimum of 15 contact hours of instruction in spousal or partner abuse
  • (5)  Minimum of seven contact hours of instruction in child abuse assessment & reporting
  • (6)  Minimum of 18 contact hours of instruction in California law and professional ethics, if not included in required core content area
  • (7)  Minimum of 10 contact hours of instruction in aging and long-term care
  • (8)  Minimum of 15 contact hours of instruction in crisis/trauma counseling
  • For more detail on these courses, see Additional Coursework

Supervision that is substantially equivalent to that required in California.
California’s requirement for LPCCs:  A minimum of 3,000 post-degree hours of supervised experience, by a LPC, LMFT, LCSW, licensed psychologist or licensed physician who is certified in psychiatry, over a period of not less than two years, including not less than 1,750 hours of direct counseling with individuals or groups in a clinical mental health counseling setting and 150 hours in a hospital or community mental health setting.

The BBS can accept supervised hours, that are substantially equivalent to California’s requirements, for counselors who have held a valid license in another state for at least two years.  Counselors, who have not achieved licensure in another state, or counselors who have not been licensed for at least two years in another state, will be required to gain a minimum of 250 hours of supervised clinical experience in direct counseling within California, after registering with the Board as an Intern.  The qualifying supervised experience gained out of state can be combined, if needed, with the experience gained in California to meet the 3,000-hour post-degree supervision requirement.

Requirements for those who apply on or after January 1, 2016

Out-of-state applicants who apply for LPCC or LMFT licensure on or after January 1, 2016 will need to meet the requirements that went into effect for California residents beginning graduate study on or after August 1, 2012. Although the requirements will increase, the law allows applicants to remediate specified coursework through continuing education while registered as an intern and it allows certain advantages to those who are licensed out-of-state. 

The qualifying degree:

  • Those who began their degree prior to August 1, 2012 must have a 48-unit degree
  • Those who began their degree on or after August 1, 2012 must have a 60-unit degree, but they may remediate up to 12 units while registered as an Intern in CA.
Core coursework:
  • Four core content areas are added to the nine core areas listed above for a total of 13 core areas:
  • (J) Psychopharmacology
  •        (K) Addictions Counseling
  • (L) Crisis or Trauma Counseling
  • (M) Advanced Counseling and Psychotherapeutic Theories and Techniques

  • An applicant whose degree is deficient in no more than 6 of the 13 core areas may satisfy those deficiencies by completing graduate credit coursework equivalent to three semester-units for each core area. 
  • Applicants with no out-of-state license must remediate this coursework prior to issuance of a license or intern registration.
  • Applicants who are licensed out-of-state may remediate the coursework while registered as an intern.
CA Law & Ethics Core Content course:
  • Applicants, who completed a graduate course in professional orientation, ethics and law in counseling, which did not contain instruction in CA law and ethics, must complete an 18-hour continuing education course in CA law & ethics prior to licensure or intern registration.
  • Applicants, who did not complete a graduate course in professional orientation, ethics and law in counseling, must complete a course that includes CA law and ethics prior to licensure or intern registration. 
Advanced coursework: 15 units of advanced graduate coursework is required beyond the 13 core areas, but it may be remediated while registered as an intern.

The Practicum requirement is 6 semester-units, including 280 face-to-face hours
  • The practicum requirement is waived for those who have been licensed for more than two years in another state
  • Those who have been licensed less than two years may remediate the practicum by completing 280 hours while registered as an intern. These hours are in addition to the required 3,000 post-degree supervised hours.
  • There is no remediation of the practicum requirement for those with no out-of-state license
Additional coursework may be remediated as CEUs while registered as an intern:
  • 10 contact hours in human sexuality
  • 15 hours in spousal or partner abuse
  • 7 hours in child abuse
  • 10 hours in aging and long-term care
  • 3 semester-units or 45 hours of instruction on the principles of mental health oriented care and methods of service delivery in a recovery-oriented practice environments
  • 15 hours of instruction that includes an understanding of the various cultures and the social and psychological implications of socioeconomic position.
The supervision requirement is 3,000 post degree hours
  • The Board will accept supervised experience gained outside of California if the experience is substantially equivalent to that required by California law.  Those who are licensed in another state and have fewer than 3,000 supervised hours may use time actively licensed as a LPC at the rate of 100 hours/month up to a maximum of 1,200 hours, provided the applicant’s degree meets the practicum requirement without exemptions or remediation.  

Examination requirements apply to those who apply pre-2016 and post-2016: 

Once all education and experience are approved, the applicant will be eligible for the licensure examinations.  The Board has adopted the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) as the licensing exam for California LPCCs.  A California Law and Ethics Examination will also be required.  Applicants must attempt an examination at least once per year until all required examinations have been passed. 

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