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How to become a Counselor in California

Learn how to earn your counseling licensure in CA

Click on the link that best describes your current situation...

As of October of 2008, California is the only state that does not require professional counseling licensure. However, legislation is currently underway to change this. Most likely, the following information will be necessary for you to be able to practice as a professional counselor in California. To receive more information on the current status of licensure in California, use the following email address to contact the California Coalition for Counseling Licensure: info@caccl.org

I'm a High School Graduate...

As a high school graduate, you are ahead of the curve for exploring your career options. Starting now will help you solidify your decision about becoming a counseling professional in California or wishing to take another direction. However, regardless of the direction you end up taking your career, there is one step that will help you regardless.

Get the ball rolling with regard to higher education. Begin requesting information from schools offering undergraduate programs in psychology.

Click on the links below to browse schools offering programs you are currently qualified to begin!

Once you have enrolled in a program, take advantage of your school's career services department and learn how you can find employment or volunteer opportunities that are related to the counseling career path.

I've already received my Bachelor's degree...

Once you have your bachelor's degree, you will need to find a school offering a master's or doctoral degree program in counseling.

Step One:

Click on the links below to contact schools offering Master's or PhD programs in counseling or related field.

Or request information from additional California Counseling Schools.

You will need to make sure the counseling program you enroll in has a 6 semester supervised practicum element. Make sure you ask school representatives this question to confirm you are enrolling in the correct program.

Step Two:

Make sure the coursework requirements are met either through your counseling degree program or through professional development courses. Required coursework is listed on the following webpage.

Step Three:

Upon completion of your counseling degree program, you will need to complete a minimum of 3000 hours of supervised clinical mental health experience. You will also need to complete this requirement within 2 years of completing your counseling degree program.

Step Four:

Successfully complete required examinations, The National Counselor Examination (NCE) and The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). You will also be required to pass a supplemental examination on California's law and ethics.

You will find information about registration, test dates and contents on the National Board for Certified Counselors website.


California Counseling Certificate Programs
Note: This list contains online and campus schools that accept students from California.
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