California’s Grandparenting Phase for Licensure Is Extended for Six Months
By Linda Lawless, LMFT, LMHC
President-Elect, California Mental Health Counselor Association
In an encouraging move, California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) has extended the grandparenting phase of the new LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) license for six more months, giving us a December deadline. The extension was by no means a given since the grandparenting dates were written into the licensing legislation, making it more difficult to change.
The original language in the California licensing legislation authorized grandfathering or reciprocity for mental health counselors licensed in other states, but specified that these grandfathered applications would be available only from Jan. 1, 2011, through the end of this month—June 30, 2011. The hitch for Licensed Mental Health Counselors seeking to become licensed in California under the grandfather provision was that the application for licensure was never posted, so the clock was ticking down with no possibility of taking advantage of the grandfather provision.
The grandparenting phase for the LPCC of CA license is important to mental health counselors because it provides a narrow, six-month window when obtaining licensure is just a bit easier and more forgiving of supervision requirements.
Don’t, despite this reprieve, pop the champagne cork just yet. The grandparenting extension was, and is, not the only hurdle for future California LPCCs who are waiting to fill out their license applications. The application has not been posted yet, though we’re told it will be sometime in June. Previous litigation and a hiring freeze have slowed everything down. Not only have BBS staff positions not been filled when vacancies occurred, it’s possible that positions will now be cut, which will slow down the process even more.
BBS applications for other mental health professionals, such as those for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Clinical Social Work-ers, currently take six months or more to process. For the new LPCC license and the complexity of the different license paths, there’s no way to predict how many applications will be submitted, and how quick the turnaround will be. Only time will tell.
If you have any thoughts that you might want a California license and live in California, I highly recommend that you submit your application as soon as the application is posted. If you want the California license, or even think you may someday want it, and you have the education and experience to apply—do it as soon as possible! Those who are not eligible to apply or who miss this window of opportunity will be able to apply for “regular” licensure beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
Here are some tips for getting yourself on the fast track to the LPCC of CA license:
- Visit the BBS website and download all of the license information.
- Subscribe to the BBS Newsletter to receive notice of application availability.
- Read all of the information you download to understand the requirements.
- Gather together your required academic and experiential records.
- Evaluate what deficiencies, if any, you have.
- Take any classes you might need to complete the requirements (you have six months from when you are notified of the deficiencies by the BBS to complete them).
- Enter the race to LPCC of CA licensure by applying!
The voice of experience (my experience, that is, of making lots of mistakes when filling out applications) tells you that before you begin to fill out the licensure application, read the entire application, and make several copies of it so that you can save one copy for the final copy you send in. The more complete and accurate your final application is, the easier it will be for others to review it, and the more smoothly and quickly you’ll reach the finish line, and become an LPCC in California. Maybe you could get license Number 1!
Linda Lawless LMFT, LMHC, is president-elect of the California Mental Health Counselor Association . She’s in private practice in Benicia, Calif., teaches graduate courses, trains counselors to pass their licensing exams, and educates and consults with professionals who want to build a successful professional practice. You can reach her at or visit her website at http://lllawless.typepad.com/lawless_company/.
P.S. See you at the conference in San Francisco—yoo hoo!