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CIIS Grads Lead LMFT Exam Pass Rates

CIIS Standard Exam pass rate was 85%, compared with 64% for all schools in California.

July 7, 2021

In 2019, The Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), California's state regulatory agency responsible for licensing, examination, and enforcement of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC), released statistics for its January 1, 2019, through June 30, 2019 exam cycle.

The students in CIIS’ Master’s in Counseling Psychology department did incredibly well, and CIIS eagerly awaits the second half of 2019’s results.   

To become licensed, MFT candidates must pass both the Law and Ethics Exam and the Clinical Exam.

  • Not only is CIIS one of the largest educators of MFTs, but also CIIS is also the leader in pass rates among larger schools in California. Among schools with more than 50 people taking the exams, the highest pass rate after CIIS was 75% for the Clinical Exam.
  • Over the previous six consecutive exam cycles, CIIS was first in pass rates among California schools with more than 25 exam-takers. In this exam cycle, CIIS is second.

Broken down by school, BBS exam statistics show:

  • CIIS examinees' pass rate was 85% (Clinical), compared with the 64% pass rate for all schools in California.
  • 87% of CIIS first-time exam-takers (Clinical) passed, compared with 75% of California schools overall.
  • On the Law and Ethics Exam, CIIS pass rate was 76%, compared with 70% of California schools overall. 
  • 82% of CIIS first-time Law and Ethics Exam-takers passed, compared with 77% of California schools overall.

Becky McGovern, Director of Master's in Counseling Psychology Field Placement and Clinic Sites, believes that the numbers are an independent confirmation of the high-quality training CIIS students receive, both in the classroom and the field.

"Such extraordinary success on the exams celebrates our entire community—the students themselves, of course, but also faculty, staff, supervisors, and many partner agencies and clinics where CIIS student-therapists begin to practice, as well as the huge number of clients who receive services as they advance student learning,” she says.

To become licensed, candidates must pass both the Law and Ethics Exam and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).

  • On the Law and Ethics Exam, CIIS pass rate was 100%, compared with 72% of California schools overall. 
  • 100% of CIIS first-time Law and Ethics Exam-takers passed, compared with 76% of California schools overall.
  • CIIS did not have any graduates take the NCMHCE during this time period.

President Emerita Judie Wexler also sees the high pass rates as a reflection of both the quality of education at CIIS and the way in which the University educates its students.

“We seek to create deep learning experiences for our students so that they are able to readily access the material, analyze it, apply it, and remember it,” she says.

“The report reflects the critical focus that Master's in Counseling Psychology faculty place on excellent theoretical and clinical education,” says Dr. Jonalyn Blaha, Director of CIIS’ Master's in Counseling Psychology Program. “Our program adequately prepares students with the necessary skills to assess and diagnose clinical cases and create effective treatment plans utilizing evidence-based interventions. We prioritize experiential learning so graduates can produce the skills demonstrated in the exams.”

The pass rates are a clear and consistent indicator of how successful CIIS’ Master's in Counseling Psychology students are post-graduation.

“Our faculty give the students a strong start and prepare them well for their clinical hours after graduation and for the licensing exams,” says Wexler.

“Therapists-to-be begin their journey in the classroom and are advanced to the field,” adds McGovern. “Graduation is one capstone of their process. Passing the two exams is the other. This completes the circle of learning.”

Master's in Counseling Psychology Programs