Category Archives: Licensure FAQs (California MFT)

Delay in approving BBS LMFT Clinical Exam Applications

The BBS is currently reviewing LMFT Clinical Exam applications that were submitted the last week of December 2020.  As applicants wait over 5 months for a letter from the BBS many are wondering why it is taking so long.

Why are AMFTs waiting over 5 months for their applications to be reviewed?

In the month of December over 850 applications were submitted to the BBS for review which represents a 340% increase over the typical monthly volume that the BBS processes.  This spike in applications has resulted in a significant bottleneck in the review process.

What resulted in the spike in applications submitted?

In order to be evaluated under the Option 2 (old) requirements an application had to be submitted on or before December 31, 2020.  As this deadline approached the BBS released a statement (communicated on a Facebook Live session) indicating that if applicants submitted their application by December 31, 2020 they could be evaluated under the Option 2 requirements even if the applicant was deficient in meeting the experience requirements when the application was submitted.  The caveat was that the applicant must resolve any deficiencies within 1 year of receiving the deficiency letter.  The release of this statement prompted a dramatic spike in the number of applications submitted the last week of December 2020.

When will the delay in processing applications get back to the normal 90 or fewer days?

At this point it is impossible to predict, but there is a reason to be concerned that the delay could continue for an extended period of time:  most of the applications submitted the last week of December 2020 were submitted with deficiencies.  This factor is going to result in an increase in the workload of evaluators throughout the remainder of this calendar year and beyond, because they will be reviewing additional experience verification forms submitted in order to determine if the applicant has satisfied the initial deficiencies.

What is the BBS doing to resolve this issue?

It is clear that the BBS evaluators are working as quickly as they can to process applications.  However, the current staffing levels are simply not sufficient to match the dramatic increase in the number of applications that were submitted in December 2020.  Thus far the BBS has released several statements on Facebook explaining the situation, but they have not offered any specifics regarding changes in staffing that would result in an increase in their ability to process applications and reduce the 6 month delay.

What can I do if I am still waiting for a response from the BBS?

1) If you submitted your application with a deficiency, keep logging hours and prepare to submit an additional experience verification as quickly as possible after you receive your deficiency letter.  Being proactive with this step will help ensure you don’t have an even longer delay receiving approval to take the examination.

2) Start studying for the licensing examination with SimplePractice Learning’s California MFT Clinical Exam Prep materials.  Learn More about their video lectures, focused quizzes, full-length mock exams with complete rationales, and guidance on test-taking strategy and anxiety management. Once your application is approved, if you’ve already been studying then you can schedule your exam quickly and with confidence.

3) With regard to the processing of applications, unfortunately the only thing you can do is continue to wait.  If you want to see how the BBS is progressing on applications that have been submitted, visit their Facebook page, where they post updates on application processing every Wednesday.  The BBS specifically states that you should NOT contact them directly to inquire about the status of your application unless your application was submitted prior to the time frame noted on their processing updates.  Requests about applications submitted before that time (whether submitted via an email or phone call) only add to the workload of the evaluators.

Why is it beneficial for a pre-licensee to complete continuing education courses? (California AMFTs, APCCs and ASWs)

Although you are not required to complete continuing education courses until you are licensed, these courses are a great way for pre-licensed clinicians to earn additional hours of experience and expand their knowledge and skills.  In addition, as of January 1, 2021 there is a new Suicide Risk Assessment and Prevention requirement that can be satisfied with a continuing education course.  Continue reading

How do I log continuing education credits when I am pre-licensed?

Until you are licensed as an LMFT, LPCC or LCSW, continuing education hours do not technically count as CEs.  Continuing education hours should be logged in the category of workshops and trainings.  The BBS does not require you to submit or retain any documentation of the training.  As long as your supervisor approves the training and the hours are documented on a signed experience verification form, they can be claimed toward licensure.

Six Year Rule

What is the 6-year rule?

California Associates may only claim hours earned within 6 years of the date they submit their application for examination and licensure. The only exception to this rule is that AMFTs may claim up to 500 pre-degree practicum hours in the categories of counseling and supervision (other categories may not be claimed).  The BBS has recently reiterated that there are no COVID waivers related to the 6-year rule and no exceptions will be made.

California LMFT Option 2

What if I am unable to complete my 3,000 total hours by December 31, 2020, but I want to be evaluated under Option 2 (old requirements)?

On Friday, May 15 the BBS hosted a Facebook Live event and stated that if you are unable to complete the Option 2 requirements by December 31, 2020 as a result of issues related to COVID-19 you should post-mark your application by that date (the deadline for submitting under the old requirements).  The BBS will review your application and you will receive a deficiency letter.  You will have one year from the date of the deficiency letter to submit additional hours and you will still be evaluated under the Option 2 requirements.  You must post-mark your application by December 31 or you will lose the ability to choose Option 2.