About Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC)

About Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC)

In October of 2009, the Governor of California signed a bill to license professional clinical counselors. California was the 50th state to adopt this license and the first counselors were licensed in January of 2012. The Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) regulates the LPCC license.

A membership-based organization, The California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (CALPCC) officially launched in January of 2011. It was designed to protect, support and promote the new license in California.

CALPCC’s Mission: To build and support the recognition and effective utilization of Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC) in California as distinct and valuable providers within the clinical mental health profession.

What is Professional Counseling?

“Professional counseling is the application of mental health, psychological, or human development principles through cognitive, affective, behavioral, or systemic intervention strategies that address wellness, personal growth, or career development, as well as pathology. The primary purpose of counseling is to empower the client to deal adequately with life situations, reduce stress, experience personal growth, and make well-informed, rational decisions.” (U.S. Dept. of Human Services, Mental Health, United States, 2002)

“Licensed professional counselors (or in some states, “licensed clinical professional counselors” or “licensed mental health counselors”) provide mental health and substance abuse care to millions of Americans. Licensed professional counselors (LPCs) are master’s level mental health service providers, trained to work with individuals, families, and groups in treating mental, behavioral, and emotional problems and disorders. LPCs make up a large percentage of the workforce employed in community health centers, agencies, and organizations, and are employed within and covered by managed care organizations and health plans.

CALPCC’s Vision: To provide leadership for legislative, advocacy and promotional efforts on behalf of Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC) in California.

LPCs work with active duty military personnel and their families, as well as veterans.” (American Counseling Association, Who Are Licensed Professional Counselors)

What is the LPCC?

The LPCC is a licensure set forth by the California Board of Behavioral Services, or BBS. The licensure is awarded to master’s level mental health clinicians who have met a list of requirements, which include:

  • Completion of an approved master’s or doctoral degree (in counseling, psychotherapy, or another closely related subject) with practical experience;
  • Registration as a Professional Clinical Counselor Intern (PCCI)
  • Accrual of 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised training; and
  • Successful passing of the California Law and Ethics Examination and the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE).
    These requirements must be completed within a set time-frame in order to obtain licensure.
    Practitioners holding the distinction of LPCC perform a broad range of duties and may serve both individuals and groups. Licensees who aspire to treat couples and families must meet additional requirements as set forth by the Board.
    Although the state of California recognizes the licensed professional clinical counselor, in other states, this clinician might be known as a licensed professional counselor (LPC) or a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC). Regardless of variance in the title, these clinicians typically perform similar duties within the field of mental health.


What do LPCs do?

Licensed professional clinical counselors may work in community mental health clinics, government agencies, hospitals, or universities. Their duties may include:

  • Using clinical assessment to evaluate and diagnose mental health disorders in individuals
  • Providing psychoeducation to individuals and groups to bring awareness to individual, psychosocial and environmental challenges
  • Teaching coping strategies for dealing with mental health disorders to improve individual and group functioning and quality of life
  • Applying psychotherapeutic interventions to treat mental, emotional, and behavioral problems in clients
  • Employing crisis intervention techniques in individual and group settings
  • Helping clients manage stress, implement personal development strategies, and make more informed life choices


Are you interested in pursuing LPCC licensure in California? Please contact Alliant International University for more information on becoming an LPCC.