Clinical Licensing

The Professional School of Psychology prepares students for two clinical licenses: the Marriage Family Therapist license (issued by the California Board of Behavioral Science) and the Psychologist license (issued by the California Board of Psychology).

Licensing Overview

California Board of Behavioral Sciences

The California Board of Behavioral Sciences oversees the licensing of marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and educational psychologists. To be a licensed marriage and family therapist in California, one must have a master of arts in psychology, or a doctorate in psychology, from an approved or accredited graduate school. Specifically, the master’s or doctoral program will by necessity be in the field of clinical or counseling psychology. This overview is written with a focus on the licensing process for marriage and family therapists.

California Board of Psychology

The California Board of Psychology oversees the licensing of psychologists. To be a licensed psychologist in California, one must have a doctorate in psychology from an approved or accredited graduate school. This overview is written with a focus on the licensing process for clinical psychologists, but the reader is urged to remember that the term ‘psychologist’ does not automatically imply a clinical psychologist. The Board of Psychology licenses both clinical and organizational / industrial psychologists. In practice, however, after achieving their doctorate, many I/O psychologists have all the credentialing they need to practice as professional psychologists. Clinical psychologists, on the other hand, must have a state-issued license in order to practice as professional psychologists. Thus, almost all people with a doctorate in clinical psychology seek licensure because licensure is the minimum requirement to practice. Most of this overview applies to clinical psychology students; trainees accruing hours of supervised experience in areas of psychology that do not include direct mental health services should refer to section 1387.3 for information on establishing an alternate plan.