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 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

Degree Requirements

Applicants must possess a master's or doctoral degree that is at least 48 semester or 72 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:

  • Seven of nine required core content areas;
  • Six semester or nine quarter units of supervised practicum or field study with a minimum of 150 hours of face-to-face supervised clinical experience counseling individuals, families, or groups; and,
  • A minimum of twelve semester units or eighteen quarter units of advanced coursework.

If an applicant's degree includes only seven of the nine core content areas, the missing two content areas can be completed via post-master's or postdoctoral coursework at a regionally accredited or BPPE approved institution, as defined under BPC Section 4999.12. You may refer to the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists Web site, the California Association of Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors Web site, or the Board's "Schools with LPCC-related Programs" for lists of LPCC programs that may offer the required coursework.

Additional Coursework

Additional coursework requirements, which can be a part of the qualifying degree program or completed after earning a degree, are:

  • A two semester or three quarter unit course in psychopharmacology;
  • 15 contact hours of training in alcoholism and other chemical substance abuse dependency;
  • 10 contact hours of training in human sexuality;
  • 15 contact hours of training in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection, and intervention;
  • Seven contact hours of training in child abuse assessment and reporting;
  • 18 contact hours of training in California law and professional ethics;
  • 10 contact hours of training in aging and long-term care; and,
  • 15 contact hours of instruction in crisis or trauma counseling.

With the exception of the course in psychopharmacology, which is a university graduate or undergraduate credit course, the additional coursework requirements can be fulfilled with either university courses or approved continuing education providers. A list of approved CE providers is available on our "Forms and Publications". More information on course requirements and providers can be found California Association of Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors website under "Additional Coursework"

Supervised Work Experience Requirements

Supervised work experience must be gained after conferral of the qualifying degree. With the exception of one special circumstance and supervised work experience gained out of state, all hours of supervised work experience must be gained while registered as a professional clinical counselor intern.

The one exception is the hours gained immediately after graduation. Supervised work experience hours gained after graduation, but prior to registration as a professional clinical counselor intern, can be credited towards experience requirements as long as the person applies for professional clinical counselor intern registration within 90 days of the qualifying degree conferral date. Furthermore, the individual actually has to receive the registration number in order to count the hours. In other words, individuals who apply for registration, but do not complete the application requirements within one year of being notified of a deficiency, cannot take advantage of this exception. Professional clinical counselor interns also cannot work in a private practice setting until officially registered with the BBS.

Supervised Weeks

In order to qualify for licensure examination eligibility, professional clinical counselor interns 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 professional clinical counselor intern 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 registrant must receive at least one hour of individual supervision or two hours of group supervision during the same week that the hours were gained. Additionally an intern 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.

The supervised work experience breaks down into several categories:

  • Direct counseling work experience (minimum 1,750 hours)
  • Individual Therapy/Counseling (no minimum or maximum)
  • Group therapy or counseling (maximum 500 hours)
  • Telephone Counseling (maximum 250 hours)
  • Non-counseling work experience (maximum 1,250 hours)
  • Administering and evaluating psychological tests, writing clinical reports, writing progress or process notes (maximum 250 hours)
  • Workshops, seminars, training sessions, or conferences (maximum 250 hours)
  • Client centered advocacy
  • Supervision (individual and group)

Additionally, at least 150 hours of clinical experience must be gained in a hospital or community mental health setting. A maximum of 40 hours of work experience may be gained in a week.

Examination Eligibility

Once a professional clinical counselor intern meets all experience requirements, he or she will submit an application for examination eligibility. The law stipulates that at the time the BBS receives an individual's 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)

You must first pass the California Law and Ethics Examination before you can take the NCMHCE. Please continue to check the BBS Web site for future updates relating to LPCC licensure requirements. All licensure paths require examinations.

(Sources Business and Professions Code Section 4999.45, 4999.46, California Code of Regulations Title 16, Section 1820.)

Fingerprinting Requirements

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

Application Packets