The MA in Counseling Psychology prepares a student for licensure as either a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), or a Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) and the curriculum is designed to meet the California Business and Professional Code Section 4980.36 for academic training of MFT graduate students and section 4999.33 for LPCCs.
LPCC and MFT are recognized and regulated mental health service professions in California. The requirements of the California MFT license include completion of a specified 60 semester unit program of coursework and training that leads to a master’s degree, 3,000 hours of supervised counseling (of which at least half must be completed after receipt of the master’s degree), and passage of the state of California’s written examinations.
The requirements of the California LPCC license include completion of a 60 semester unit specified program of coursework and training that leads to a master’s degree and 280 hours of face-to-face supervised clinical experience. A 3,000 hour post-degree internship is also required and passage of the state of California’s written examinations.
CIIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WUSUC), a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Preparation for Professional Licensing
The professional practice of counseling is a regulated occupation in the state of California. Coursework in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program at CIIS in each of its five concentrations is approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to fulfill educational requirements toward licensed marriage and family therapist professional practice (LMFT). In most concentrations we also offer the additional coursework fulfilling the educational requirements of the licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC). Students seeking the LPCC license also take courses for the MFT, enabling them to pursue either license and to work with couples, families, and/or children as an LPCC. Students seeking licensure in California as an LMFT or LPCC must register with the BBS after graduation and successfully complete additional post-graduate supervised clinical associate hours and written examinations. See www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/publications/lawsregs.pdf for additional information.
Students should consult the licensing boards of the appropriate state of country for licensing information outside of California.
We recommend that students join and participate in a professional association early in their graduate education to help familiarize themselves with the path to licensure and for additional support in their professional development and community. Students considering pursuing an LMFT, think about joining the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) and/or the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT). For students pursuing an LPCC, we recommend joining the American Counseling Association (ACA), the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (CALPCC), and/or the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA). Additional professional organizations for each specialization are also recommended in order to build networks within your areas of practice.
In the United States, LMFT and LPCC licenses are regulated by each individual state. Other states and countries may have different licensing requirements than those for California. Because we are a California university, we have aligned our program to California's requirements and we take responsibility to stay up-to-date with any changes in licensing in the state of California and to provide our students with support and guidance after graduation to help them complete the requirements toward licensure in California. In some cases our educational requirements are portable, meaning other states accept them in kind for their requirements. In other cases, some states or countries require different courses, offer different examinations, or require different numbers of internship hours.
While we recognize that students may wish to study with us and practice in another state or country after graduation, we cannot take the responsibility to keep abreast of the licensing requirements of all states and countries and provide the coursework that maps to all of these requirements. Students are responsible for understanding the licensing regulations in the state or country where they would like to seek licensure and are asked to sign a statement upon admission indicating they accept this responsibility.
In many cases, our coursework and training is very similar or entirely portable to many states and countries. In addition, staff in the Master's in Counseling Field Placement Office and your advisor can help to guide you to the contact at the licensing board that regulates the profession in the area in which you may be interested. If you are a distance student from outside California or aspire to become licensed in another state or country, please reach out to us about this starting at the beginning of your course of study.
A listing of state licensing boards for LMFTs may be found at www.amftrb.org. Professional counselor licensure boards may be found at www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/licensure-requirements/state-professional-counselor-licensure-boards.