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THE LPCC (Licensed professional Clinical Counselors)

Licensing Requirements after 2012

Following is a summary of requirements for those who began graduate study on or AFTER AUGUST 1, 2012, or who began study before 2012 and did not complete it by 2018.

With the exception of the three core courses that can be added post-degree, as described below, the 2012 requirements, which include California-specific content, must be included within degrees earned in California.  Students are advised to only enroll in graduate counseling programs in California that have been pre-approved by the BBS.  View the list

Online degrees: jurisdiction of the degree earned (in-state or out-of-state) defaults to the jurisdiction of the university/program. Please consult your program or the Board of Behavioral Sciences for further clarification.

Out-of-state applicants may be able to add units and courses to degrees earned in out-of-state universities, while the applicant was residing in that state.

Education: A 60-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 field work study (280 face-to-face hours), and contains at least 3 semester units, or four and one half quarter units, of coursework in 10 of the following 13 core content areas. Beginning January 1, 2017, content areas E and G must be completed within the degree and cannot be remediated post-degree.  Note that CALPCC sponsored a bill that will take effect January 1, 2019, which will allow remediation of content areas  E and G until August 31, 2020.  All 13 core areas must be completed before education can be approved.

  • (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, including California law and professional ethics
  • (J)  Psychopharmacology (includes biological bases of behavior)
  • (K)  Addictions counseling (includes substance abuse, co-occurring disorders)
  • (L)  Crisis/Trauma Counseling (includes multidisciplinary responses to crises, emergencies or disasters).
  • (M)  Advanced counseling and psychotherapeutic theories and techniques

View descriptions of each core content area 

In addition to the course requirements described above, fifteen semester- units of advanced coursework to develop knowledge of specific treatment issues or special populations, must be included in the degree.

Instruction must include:

  • (1)  Human sexuality and the study of the physiological, psychological and social cultural variables associated with sexual behavior, gender identity and psychosexual dysfunction
  • (2)  Spousal or partner abuse assessment, intervention strategies and same-gender abuse dynamics
  • (3)  Child abuse assessment and reporting (seven hours required)
  • (4)  Aging and long-term care, including biological, social, cognitive and psychological aspects of aging

California-specific content:  Instruction must include methods of service delivery in recovery-oriented practice environments and integrate an understanding of various cultures found in California and the social and psychological implications of socioeconomic position.

View the entire section 4999.33 in the bill, regarding education for those who begin study after 2012, or who begin study before 2012 and do not complete it by 2018.

Supervision:  A minimum of 3,000 post-degree hours of supervised experience, by a LPCC, LMFT, LCSW, licensed psychologist or licensed physician and surgeon, who is certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 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.

Examination: Passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) and the California Law and Ethics Exam, which are taken at the completion of the supervised hours.  Beginning in 2016 the California Law & Ethics Exam will be taken in the first year of internship.

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