Oct 26 2017

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) Applicant Requirements – California Board of Behavioral Sciences #counselor #degree #requirements


Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) In-State Applicant Requirements

The following is a brief overview of the requirements for an in-state LPCC applicant. In-state applicants must register as a Professional Clinical Counselor Intern (PCCI) upon graduation in order to gain hours of experience. Upon receipt of an application deficiency notice, if one is necessary, the applicant will have one year to remedy any application deficiencies identified in the BBS’ evaluation. The intern registration cannot be issued until deficiencies have been resolved.

Education Requirements

The education requirements described in the sections below, apply only to applicants who enroll in a qualifying degree program on or after August 1, 2012 or who complete their current degree program after December 31, 2018.
(Sources: Business and Professions Code Section 4999.33; California Code of Regulations Title 16, Section 1806.)

Degree Requirements

Applicants must possess a master’s or doctoral degree that is at least 60 semester or 90 quarter units and counseling or psychotherapy in content and from a regionally accredited or Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) approved institution, as defined under BPC Section 4999.12. Specifically, this means a degree must include:

  • 10 of 13 Core Content Areas
  • Six semester or nine quarter units of supervised practicum or field study with a minimum of 280 hours of face-to-face supervised clinical experience counseling individuals, families, or groups; and,
  • A minimum of 15 semester units or 22.5 quarter units of advanced coursework.

If an applicant’s degree includes only 10 of the 13 core content areas, the missing three content areas must be remediated via post-master’s or postdoctoral coursework at a regionally accredited or BPPE approved institution, as defined under BPC Section 4999.12. LPCC programs offering the required coursework may be found through the California Association of Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (CALPCC ) website, or the Board’s Schools with LPCC-related Programs page.

Supervised Work Experience Requirements

Supervised work experience must be gained after the conferral date of the applicant s qualifying degree. All hours of supervised work experience must be gained while registered as a PCCI, with the exception of the following:

  • Supervised work experience hours gained immediately after graduation, but prior to registration as a PCCI, may be credited towards experience requirements, provided they:
    1. Apply for PCCI registration within 90 days of the qualifying degree conferral date; and
    2. Complete application deficiencies within one year of being notified and receive the registration number.
  • Supervised work experience gained out of state, no more than six years prior to the date the application for examination eligibility is filed.

Additionally, a PCCI cannot work or gain supervised experience in a private practice setting, until officially registered with the BBS.

Supervised Weeks

In order to qualify for licensure examination eligibility, a PCCI must complete at least 104 weeks of supervision. The minimum amount of supervision required per week is either one hour of individual supervision or two hours of group supervision. Of the 104 weeks of supervision, at least 52 weeks must be weeks in which the registrant received at least one hour of individual supervision.

A PCCI working in a governmental entity, a school, a college, or a university, or an institution that is both non-profit and charitable may obtain the required direct supervisor contact via videoconferencing.

Hours of Experience

In order to claim any work experience towards the required 3,000 hours of experience, a PCCI must receive at least one hour of individual supervision or two hours of group supervision during the same week that the hours were gained. A PCCI who earns in excess of 10 hours of direct counseling work experience in a week must obtain one additional hour of individual or two additional hours of group supervision. A maximum of 40 hours of work experience may be gained in a week.

Additionally, at least 150 hours of clinical experience must be gained in a hospital or community mental health setting. Detailed breakdowns for the categories of supervised experience, which an applicant may claim are found in the Board s New Option for Supervised Experience Categories document.

Examination Eligibility

Once a PCCI meets all experience requirements, they will submit the application for examination eligibility. The law stipulates that at the time the Board receives the application for examination eligibility, the qualifying supervised work experience shall be gained no more than six years prior to application.

For example, the BBS receives Susan’s application for LPCC examination eligibility on April 27, 2013. The hours of supervised work experience earned between April 27, 2007 and April 27, 2013 will meet the six-year requirement.


Applicants must receive a passing score on the following examinations:

  1. California Law and Ethics Examination
  2. National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE)

Applicants must first pass the California Law and Ethics Examination before they can take the NCMHCE. Please continue to check the Boar’s web-site for future updates relating to LPCC licensure requirements.

All applicants must be fingerprinted with the BBS. The Applicant Fingerprinting Requirements provides specific information on the fingerprinting process.

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