Q and A: The LPCC License

Portability: Is the Professional Counseling license more portable than the Marriage and Family Therapist license?

The Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) license and the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) license are equally portable. Both professions have variations in their state licensure laws that dictate their portability in any individual state, but neither is more accepted uniformly.

Insurance Reimbursement: Which license is more recognized by third party payers?

Nationwide, MFTs and LPCs are roughly equivalent in terms of insurance reimbursement. In California, LPCCs will initially enter without Medi-Cal recognition or widespread insurance reimbursement. In some states, MFTs are reimbursed under insurance mandate laws, and in other states LPCs are recognized. In Oregon, and many other states, both professions are in the same situation regarding insurance recognition. These laws, and others, help dictate the attractiveness of the license in each state.

Potential benefits: What would be the advantages of dual licensure?

Counselors who identify as LPCs, but have become MFTs in California because that has been the only option for licensure, can now obtain the LPCC to promote their professional identity. Further, LPCs who travel to other states may find one of the licenses more portable and viable in that state

Disadvantages: Would there be any disadvantages to dual licensure?

In California the LPC designation will initially have less recognition than the long-established MFT. Dual licensure would mean the additional expense of two licensing fees in order to receive the benefits afforded to both licenses. Dually licensed clinicians who are members of both ACA and AAMFT would be responsible to the ethical codes of both professional associations.

Approved Providers: Are LPCs and MFTs equally recognized by the federal government?

MFTs and LPCs have similar recognition at the federal level. The Public Health Services Act recognizes MFTs as a “core mental health profession.” This recognition is not granted to LPCCs, however, both MFTs and LPCCs are defined as “behavioral and mental health professionals” through the National Health Service Corps. MFTs are recognized through some federal programs, such as the Department of Transportation Substance Abuse Program, Minority Fellowship Program, and TRICARE that exclude LPCs as independent providers, while LPCs (unlike MFTs) are specifically named in the No Child Left Behind Act. Both professions are working independently and collaboratively to open all federal programs to their disciplines.