FAQ: Questions about Out-of-State Licenses

How can counselors licensed in other states qualify for the LPCC in California?

The board may issue a license to counselors who have held for at least two years, a valid license as a professional counselor, which allows the applicant to independently provide clinical mental health services in another jurisdiction of the United States, if their education and supervised experience qualifications are substantially equivalent to the requirements for LPCCs in California.

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. View a summary of requirements for Out-of-State Licensees.

Out-of-state counselors must take an 18-contact-hour continuing education course on California law and ethics and they must pass the examinations required for licensure in California. These examinations are the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) and the California LPCC Law and Ethics Exam.

Is it better for counselors licensed in other states to apply through the Grandparenting Path or through the Traditional Path for counselors licensed out of state?

The deadline for grandparenting applications was December 31, 2011.

Licensed Professional Counselors can select the option that is best for them.

Education: The education requirements are similar for both paths. Grandparenting applicants must have 7 of 9 core courses within their degrees, although grandparenting applicants with degrees granted before 1996 may have only 6 of the 9 core courses within their degrees. See Licensing during Grandparenting Requirements.  For the Traditional Path, the Board has discretion to accept education of counselors licensed in another state, if it is substantially equivalent to California's requirements.  As explained below, the Board may allow these counselors to make up more courses that were not contained within their qualifying degree.  Applicants for either path must complete all 9 core areas before they can be licensed in California.

Update:  A recent opinion from the BBS attorney states that, because the Board has discretion to accept the education for licensed counselors from other jurisdictions, applicants who qualify for this path may make up more than two or three courses outside their degree, as long as the degree contains 6 credits of practicum/fieldwork and the counselor gained that degree while residing outside California.  These counselors would still need to complete all 9 core areas before they can be licensed in California.

Update:  Those with degrees from out-of-state must submit syllabi for the 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-1983 degrees from a CACREP-accredited program do not need to submit syllabi, except for the course on diagnosis, since that course was not required in earlier years.  The university must complete the Degree Program Certification form found in the application.

Supervision: Applicants for grandparenting do not have to be supervised for 250 hours in California. They can submit documentation of 1,700 hours of post-degree supervision with their applications.  Counselors licensed in another state, who have not been licensed for at least two years, will need to register as an intern with the Board of Behavioral Sciences for 250 hours of supervision within California. 

Examination: Applicants for grandparenting are required to have a passing score on the NCE or the CRCE, the NCMHCE, and the California Law and Ethics Exam.  Grandparenting applicants, who have not already passed the NCE or the NCMHCE must have approval of their application for licensure eligibility before they can take these exams, as well as the CA Law & Ethics Exam. All requirements, including exams, must be completed by the end of the 12 months applicants are allowed to complete any deficiencies, so they have a shorter time period in which to pass all the examinations.

Counselors licensed out of state, who take the Traditional Path, must pass the California LPCC Law & Ethics Exam and the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE). They do not need to pass the NCE.  These applicants cannot sit for the California examinations until their education and supervision have been accepted, and they must pass the Law and Ethics Exam before they can sit for the NCMHCE.  These applicants do not face a strict deadline for successfully completing these examinations, but they must attempt an exam at least once a year until all required exams have been passed.  If they have already passed the NCMHCE, they do not need to re-take it.

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