California Counseling Certification

Counseling is an integral part of our society. The profession has become present in almost every aspect of life. There are different forms of counseling and include but are not limited to:

  • Drug and rehab counseling
  • Marriage and family counseling
  • School counseling
  • Psychiatric (Mental Health) counseling
  • Pastoral counseling

Depending on the type of counselor you decide to be, becoming a counselor needs certification. A California counseling certification can be achieved through specific programs designed for different types of counseling. Each program requires a full-time commitment. First and foremost the state of California requires a license in order for you to practice. *

  1. College Graduate

Pursuing a future career in counseling requires you to major as an undergraduate. Entry requirements will determine which counseling profession requires a certain level in grades. The majority of students follow the Psychology degree route because it opens the door to a variety of graduate studies in counseling.*

  1. Work experience

Work experience is required for the state to license you as a counselor. In order to gain work experience before licensure, you must complete internships and apprenticeships that allow you to work under the direct supervision of a certified counselor. Work experience involves practical applyication of your knowledge of the theory you learn at school.

  1. Undergraduate degree

Once you have received a qualification in an undergrad program, it is now time to assess which type of counseling service you want to specialize in. Additional educational requirements may be needed and durations will vary.

Typically The California Coalition for Counselor Licensure (CCCL) requires that you must have 60 semester hours of training in your chosen graduate program to receive a California counseling certification. These training hours must include work done in trauma counseling, Psychopharmacology, drug and rehab counseling, as well as advanced psychotherapy.*

Once you have completed your undergraduate program and done the necessary requirements dictated by the CCCL, you must acquire 3000 hours of supervised experience after you receive your degree. This can be done by internship.  Supervision must be done for a minimum of two full, complete years, which amounts to 204 weeks. This is broken down to at least one hour of individual supervision or two hours of group supervision for each week that you are working.

The supervised practice of 3000 hours must include a minimum of 1750 hours of direct counseling, 500 hours of group therapy or 250 hours of therapy over the phone. Workshops will also be included to account for some of the 250 hours added towards the total. You are also required to add at least 150 hours of your supervised practice in a community health or hospital setting.*

After completion of the supervised practice you have one more hurdle to cross before receiving your California counseling certification. You must take a licensing exam to receive your professional license. A jurisprudence exam is the first one you must take.  Other examinations include:

  1. National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE)
  2. National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)


Are you ready to pursue a career in counseling? Get information on schools in your area and online using our counseling degree finder at the top of this page.


If you would like more information, read on at the link cited below.