FAQ: Questions About the Education Requirements for Grandparenting

The deadline for grandparenting applications was December 31, 2011.

The BBS is requiring syllabi for out-of-state degrees.  What if I do not have syllabi?

Those with degrees from out-of-state must submit syllabi for the nine core counseling courses.  If the applicant has attempted and failed to obtain syllabi from the university, course descriptions from the university catalog may be submitted.  The applicant should submit a letter stating the circumstances.  The Board will make the final determination on whether a course description is acceptable. Those with post-2001 degrees from a CACREP-accredited program do not need to submit syllabi. Although it is to the applicant's advantage to submit the syllabi with the transcript, the syllabi can be submitted during the 12 months allowed to make up deficiencies.  The university must complete the Out-of-State Degree Program Certification form found in the application.

What if my degree did not include six semester units or nine quarter units of supervised practicum or field work experience?

The law requires that degrees granted in 1996 and after include six semester units or nine quarter units of supervised practicum or fieldwork. The law was amended in the 2010 legislative session to allow those with degrees issued before 1996 to have only three semester units or four and one half quarter units of practicum or fieldwork.

If counselors’ degrees are acceptable because they have 6 of the 9 core courses in their pre-1996 degree, or 7 of the 9 required core courses in their post-1996 degree, do they have to take any additional courses?

Yes. Counselors must bring their degrees up to the current standard by completing all of the 9 core content areas before they will be eligible for licensure. In order for a degree to be acceptable at all, it must contain 6 semester or 9 quarter units of supervised practicum or fieldwork and 6 of the 9, or 7 of the 9, core counseling courses, depending on the year it was granted. Because titles vary, the inclusion of the core counseling areas becomes the definition of an acceptable counseling degree.

Why do counselors need to take continuing education units, in addition to the core content areas required in the degree?

In order to be on par with the currently licensed MFTs and LCSWs, counselors must complete the continuing education that has been required of these licensees in recent years.

Note: With the exception of the course in psychopharmacology, which is a graduate or undergraduate university credit course, these can be taken as continuing education, if these subjects were not sufficiently covered in graduate coursework. See Providers of Coursework on this website for available courses.

What is a contact hour?

The statute uses the term “contact hour,” which means an hour of instruction. These hours can be taken as continuing education through a provider approved by the BBS. They may be online, credit-no credit or home study courses, as well as in-person workshops, but audited courses are not acceptable. The contact hour requirement can also be met through undergraduate or graduate university courses. A three-semester-unit course is 45 hours of instruction. Accredited universities are automatically considered to be approved providers by the BBS.

Where can counselors take graduate core content courses and/or continuing education courses that they may be lacking?

View a list of providers to see universities that will offer required graduate courses to non-matriculated students through their extended education programs. The Providers of Coursework list also includes approved providers of contact hours or continuing education, required for grandparenting. Some providers offer all the continuing education courses needed for grandparenting. Providers do not need to be on CALPCC’s list, but they must be approved by the BBS. The BBS website www.bbs.ca.gov has a list of Approved Providers.

Can an approved provider offer the core content courses needed for grandparenting?

No. An approved provider can only offer the continuing education courses. The core content courses, seven of which must be included in the graduate degree, must be taken as graduate courses through an accredited or approved university. The university may offer these courses online and they may offer them through extended education, as long as units are awarded. The psychopharmacology course must be a university credit undergraduate or graduate course. A university is automatically considered an approved provider and may also offer the continuing education courses, if it chooses to do so.

What about counselor educators, who have taught a core content class, but the course does not appear on his or her transcript?

The grandparenting language provides that a counselor educator, whose degree contains at least 7 of the 9 required core content areas, shall be given credit for coursework not contained in the degree, if the counselor educator provides documentation that he or she has taught the equivalent of the required content area in a graduate program in counseling or a related area.

What if I earned my degree outside the United States?

These applicants must provide the Board with an evaluation of the degree performed by a foreign credential evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.

American Counseling Association


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