Become a Counselor in California

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. As such, the following information might become 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: [email protected]

I’m a High School Graduate

As a high school graduate, you are ahead of the curve for exploring your career options. Starting now can 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 can 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.

Already Received Bachelor’s Degree

Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you can begin looking for a school that offers a master’s or doctoral degree program in counseling. To satisfy the required educational qualifications, request information from schools offering counseling programs in California.

Make sure to ask school representatives whether or not the counseling program you enroll in has a 6 semester supervised practicum element.

Step One:

Make sure the coursework requirements are met either through your counseling degree program or through professional development courses. Required core content areas are listed here.

Step Two:

Upon completion of your counseling degree program, complete a minimum of 3000 hours of supervised clinical mental health experience. This requirement should be completed within 2 years of completing your counseling degree program.

Step Three:

Successfully complete required examinations, the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). Also, pass a supplemental examination on California’s law and ethics.

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

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