If you are interested in how to become a counselor in California, please spend some time gaining awareness of standards and requirements.
The Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor applies to some, but not all, of California counselors. Substance abuse counselors can be certified with less than a Master’s degree. School counselors are certified by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
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Future Counselor: For California High School Student or a High School Graduate
Your First Step:
If your plan is to pursue counseling in California, though you are able to take any major you want as an undergraduate, we recommend relevant ones such as Psychology, Social Work, or Counseling. Make sure that your academic performance is as strong as can be, as graduate school for counseling is known to be quite competitive.
Your Second Step:
Your work experience (either paid or volunteer) in counseling and human services can help you tremendously. Look around for viable volunteer opportunities. Some notable organizations include Momentum for Mental Health and the Mental Health Association of Orange County.
Bachelor’s Degree College Graduates
It is important that you start looking for graduate programs immediately. People who are aspiring school counselors will need to find a counseling program consisting of at least 48-hours of supervised coursework with students.
Keep in mind that it can take longer to become and LPCC in the state and it is important that your program meets the requirements set by the board.
Be sure you finish all required coursework and supervised practice requirements. As an LPCC candidate, you must complete a minimum of six semester hours of supervised field work.
Start the paperwork process early and have be sure to complete your background check. You will undergo LiveScan fingerprinting reguardless of if you are becoming a clinical or school counselor. LPCC hopefuls who are living in a different state will have a different method.
Prior to being appropriately licensed as an LPCC in the state of California, candidates must finish 3,000 hours of overseen work experience. A minimum of 150 work hours must be completed at a community clinic or local hospital. All overseen practice hours will need to meet the requirements of the California State Board.
While you complete your work requirements you will be credentialed as an intern. You may start your practice prior to graduation as long as it’s within 90 days of receiving your degree.
If you graduated with a degree in school counseling you will not need to meet this requirement, you will just need recommendation from your institution.
The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination will be required by all aspiring LPCC. You will first receive approval from of California’s Behavioral Sciences Board to continue on to the exam. This examination, like others, is overseen by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
There will also be the California Law and Ethics Exam that will need to be completed as well.
Once you complete your overseen practice, you will apply for your LPCC credentials. There will be additional paperwork that will need to be completed prior to receiving licensing.
California Counselor Credentialing Agencies
We wish you the best of success in your pursuit of becoming a counselor in California.