- Find out if the program you are considering for your master’s degree is from a qualifying degree-granting institution. http://www.bbs.ca.gov/app-reg/mft_schools.shtml
- Become familiar with the website BBS, which stands for Board of Behavioral Sciences. This is the board that oversees licensure in California.
- Does the program you are looking to attend prepare you to sit for the LPCC AND the LMFT exams? Do you want the option to sit for both licensure exams?
- Is your intended program requiring you to attend personal therapy? We believe you need to dive deeply into your own psyche if you wish to be in service to others.
- You will need to accrue 3,000 supervised hours before you sit for your exam. You will need to start documenting these hours at a traineeship site during your time in graduate school. Check to see if there are full time staff members at your intended graduate school who operate a Clinical Traineeship office. These individuals will be a valuable asset as you find a practicum site that fits the type of work you would like to do, along with making sure you acquire your needed hours.
- What practical skills will you acquire in your intended graduate program? This is a valuable question to ask when interviewing graduate programs regarding the applications of theories and skills taught during class. A good program would have you continually working in dyads and group sessions so that you can learn the hands-on skills of counseling. If you choose to do an online program, are you limiting yourself by not being able to consistently work on these skills? And when you go to your practicum site, will you feel behind other trainees whose graduate programs do emphasize a constant hands-on approach to acquiring counseling skills?
- Does the graduate program you are looking at have core faculty members (meaning they are at that school full-time) whose specialties and interests are in line with yours? You will need a mentor in the program, someone you can look to with questions regarding your field of interest. Whether it be sand play, art therapy, child development, or gerontology, you should seek out a program where the faculty are going to be a valuable resource for the duration of your studies.
- Additional coursework may have to be done outside of your intended place of graduate study. Find out whether the program you are planning to attend has all the required coursework in it’s curriculum to sit for the California state licensing exams. If you must do coursework outside of the program, how easy is it to take those needed courses?
- Is the school you want to attend located in California, a state different than where you currently reside? Perhaps the school you are looking at has a different perspective on psychology or excels in a certain niche of therapy you would like to bring into the world. It is important to understand that each state is governed by a different overseeing body or institute that has rules and regulations regarding licensure. It is always up to the student to stay abreast of the licensure requirements of his or her state. Having said that, it is possible to get a degree at a school not located in your current state of residence. Best advice is to ask to speak to an alumnus of the program that currently resides in your state. A thriving institute will have a network of alumni who can share their experiences and hopefully give some practical advice for the road towards licensure.
- And last but not least, become familiar with the website BBS. Okay, so we already mentioned this. But this is an important one.
Leave us a comment if we missed something and good luck!
Pacifica's M.A. Counseling Psychology Program with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology is dedicated to offering students unique and comprehensive education and training in the art, science, and practice of professional clinical counseling and marriage, family, couples, and individual psychotherapy. As preparation for licensure in both Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling, this rigorous academic program emphasizes both theoretical understanding and experiential training in clinical skills.