Following is an overview of the requirements for associate Professional Clinical Counselors (aPCCs, formally pcc interns, or PCCIs). See sections 4999.42 - 4999.48 in the LPCC Law for more detail.
- The LPCC license requires 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised experience as a registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselor Intern (APCC) with the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). Pre-degree supervised hours do not count toward these 3,000 hours. This is the national standard and we wrote the LPCC law so that LPCCs would be portable to other states.
- Registration as a APCC requires completion of all of the LPCC education requirements, including all the core content courses and the additional
continuing education hours and the two semester-unit university credit
psychopharmacology course. Those who began graduate study August 1, 2012 and after will include these continuing education topics and the psychopharmacology course within their degrees. Licensed out-of-State applicants may be able to remediate some of the courses as an associate. See the Out-of-State Requirements for those who apply after January 1, 2016. http://calpcc.org/out-of-state-applicants
- The 90-day rule: Recent graduates, who apply for an associate registration number within 90 days of the granting of the qualifying degree, can start counting post-degree supervised hours before they receive a registration number from the BBS. Under the 90-day rule, interns will have 12 months, from the date of their deficiency letter, to make up deficiencies. For those who do not come under the 90-day rule, hours begin to count from the date the BBS issues the associate registration number.
- The supervised experience must take place in a setting that lawfully
and regularly provides mental health counseling or psychotherapy and
provides oversight for the APCC. A counselor cannot work in a private
practice until registered as an associate.
- The APCC must be supervised by an Approved Supervisor, who has documented two years of clinical experience as a California LPCC, LMFT, LCSW, licensed clinical psychologist, or physician who is certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. In addition to having been licensed for at least two years in California, the supervisors licensed by the BBS must have received at least 6 hours of professional training in supervision. APCC hours will not count if the supervisor's license is not current, so be sure to check each year that your supervisor's license is current on the Department of Consumer Affairs website: https://search.dca.ca.gov/
- The Supervisor must complete the LPCC Supervisor Responsibility Statement and the Supervisory Plan before supervision begins. Associates will submit these forms to the BBS with their hours. See https://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/forms/lcs/supplan.pdf https://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/forms/lpc/lpc_suprespon.pdf
- Supervision must include at least one hour of direct supervisor contact in each week for which experience is credited in each work setting. An associate would not need an hour of supervisor contact in a week where he or she did not see clients, but only earned hours for professional enrichment activities (workshops, training sessions, etc.). Associates must receive an additional hour of direct supervisor contact for every week in which more than 10 hours of face-to-face psychotherapy is performed in each setting in which experience is gained.
- An APCC must be a employee or volunteer, not an independent contractor. APCC's cannot accept any remuneration from clients and shall only be paid by their employers. Associates can have no proprietary interest in the employer's business.
- The 3,000 supervised hours shall be achieved in no less than two years and no more than six years.
- Legislation that took effect January 1, 2016 provides a streamlined option for the categories of supervised experience: Direct counseling experience (1,750 hours to include 150 hours of clinical experience in a hospital or community mental health setting) and non-clinical experience (1,250 hours). Until 2020, associates can select either the simplified option or the existing option.
- Counselors who would like to assess and treat couples and families or supervise Marriage and Family Therapist Interns (MFTIs) should include 500 hours of supervised practice with couples, families and children in their internship. In addition, LPCCs must have six units of marriage and family therapy theory and practice. See 4999.20 LPCC Scope of Practice in the LPCC Law. These hours must be under the supervision of a LMFT, a LCSW, a licensed clinical psychologist, a Board-certified psychiatrist or a LPCC who has completed the MFT requirements. Note that this scope restriction only applies to work with couples and families. There is no restriction to working with children. The fact that supervised hours working with children can count toward the couple and family hours has caused confusion about the ability of APCCs or LPCCs to work with children. See LPCC Scope Restrictions under The LPCC on this website for more details: http://calpcc.org/lpcc-scope-restrictions
- "Client Centered Advocacy" hours, which is allowed in the 1,250 non-clinical hours supervised hours, include researching, identifying, and accessing resources, or other activities, related to obtaining or providing services and supports for clients or groups of clients receiving psychotherapy or counseling services.
- In settings other than private practice, an associate can have an off-site supervisor as long as there is a three-way agreement between the intern, the employer and the supervisor. See a sample agreement: http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/forms/lpc/lpc_sample_letter_agreement.pdf
- Associates must use their full name, their registration number, and the name of their employer or entity, for which they volunteer, in any advertisements, business cards, etc. APCCs may be used if the words Professional Clinical Counselor Registered Associate are also used. See Regulation 1811 http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/publications/lawsregs.pdf