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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, or other counseling license, which allows the applicant to independently provide clinical mental health services in another jurisdiction of the United States.  Counselors licensed for fewer than two years must earn 250 supervised hours in California as a registered PCC Intern with the BBS.

Unlicensed Counselors from other states

Counselors with supervised experience in another state, who have not achieved licensure, should apply to register with the BBS as a PCC Intern to complete their supervised hours.

Licensed and unlicensed counselors from other states also had the option of using the grandparenting path to the LPCC in California until the December 31, 2011 deadline.   See Licensure Requirements During Grandparenting


These requirements apply to those who apply  by December 31, 2015.  On January 1, 2016 the education requirements will increase.

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.

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.

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.

Examination: 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. View entire section 4999.58 – 4999.62 in the bill, regarding counselors licensed in other states.

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