BBS Law Changes for 2019

By Emily Pellegrino on January 22, 2019

Time for Change written on hanging note

The California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) implemented many new changes that affect Associate Clinical Social Workers (ASWs) who are currently pursuing licensure and those who supervise ASWs as well. There are a few laws that will affect others, including MFTs and PCCs, seeking licensure and those already licensed with the BBS; be on the lookout for those down below as well.

We thought it might be helpful to highlight the big changes that are taking place, but as always it's good to read the new laws in detail here: BBS Law Changes for 2019

What are the major changes?

The BBS has adopted a lot of positive changes for those on the path to licensure!

Required ASW Supervised Experience

  1. Total supervised experience hours decreased! Applicants need 3,000 hours instead of 3,200. In addition, the maximum non-clinical hours also decreased from 1,200 to 1,000.
  2. Triadic supervision is now an accepted form of supervision. Triadic supervision is face-to-face supervision between one supervisor and two supervisees. Therefore, the 52 weeks of required individual supervision can be individual, triadic, or a combination of both.
  3. The 13 weeks of required supervision for an ASW by an LCSW can also be either individual or triadic supervision.
  4. Applicants must receive at least one hour of direct supervisor contact per week for each setting where they are performing clinical counseling until licensed. Supervision requirements for non-clinical work is at the discretion of the supervisor.
  5. Trainees must receive an average of at least one hour of direct supervisor contact for every 5 hours of direct clinical counseling performed each week.
  6. As of  January 1, 2019, ASW's in private practice must be supervised by an employee of the private practice.

The 90-day Rule

  • ASW applicants can count supervised experience gained in the time between earning their degree and the date their associate registration number is issued. Applicants must apply for the registration within 90 days from the date their degree was granted. This law went into effect on January 1, 2019.

Supervisor Qualifications & Responsibilities (for LMFTs, LPCCs, & LCSWs)

  1. The Board can audit supervisors to make sure they meet all the necessary standards to provide supervision. All supervisors must maintain records that document their qualifications for 7 years from date of termination with a supervisee.
  2. A supervisor must have held an active license for 2 years of the 5-year period immediately preceding any supervision as an LCSW. In addition, for at least 2 of the past 5 years preceding supervision, the supervisor has practiced psychotherapy or provided direct clinical supervision of psychotherapy performed by trainees.
  3. Supervisors must evaluate the site where their supervisee will be gaining experience to ensure compliance with the laws for acceptable supervision sites.

New Course Requirements (for LMFTs, LEPs, LCSWs, & LPCCs)

Effective January 1, 2021. Licensed and pre-licensed registrants must complete a minimum of 6 hours of coursework or supervised experience in suicide risk assessment and intervention. Any of the following can be submitted to the Board as proof:

  • As part of a degree program. This method requires written certification from the applicants graduate school’s registrar or training director.
  • As part of the applicant's supervised experience. This method requires written certification from the director of training of their program or from their primary supervisor.
  • As part of a continuing education course. This method requires the course's certification of completion.


And that's a quick summary of the big changes!

Need a guide for complying with your profession’s legal and ethical rules?

Check out our COMBO law and ethics courses. Also, learn more about the California LCSW license in our social worker by state section. Check out the social work license requirements by state and see what your state requirements are.

We hope to see you there!


Commenter Name
May 6, 2019

I am an LCSW in practice at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. I work in the medical setting. To supervise a pre-licensed MSW, I want to be crystal clear in my understanding. As I understand it, the supervisor must have practiced 'psychotherapy for at least two of the five years immediately preceding supervision OR provided direct clinical supervision of psychotherapy performed by trainees.
I have NOT provided direct clinical supervision of psychotherapy performed by trainees.
What is the EXACT definition of the term, "have practiced psychotherapy for at least two of the five years immediately preceding supervision"?.
I am a licensed clinical social worker in a medical setting. Does this definition meet the criteria now required to be a supervisor of a trainee?
Thank you for clarifying this point of law.

Commenter Name
August 9, 2019

Hi Kim- Just noticed your comment and thought I would respond. My experience with the BBS is that they have created some terms that can have broad definitions as well as interpretations. I would recommend connecting with Darlene York via email at the BBB with your question: . The response time has greatly improved over there and I have found Ms. York to be quite helpful. Good luck!

Karen Kerschmann

Commenter Name
September 22, 2020

I'm responding to Kim Sherman's question related to supervising MSWs in a medical setting. I also am preparing to supervise MSWs, and retired from a medical setting as an LCSW. I have not supervised MSWs, but would like to provide this service. In reading the qualifications (licensed 2 out of 5 years), and the other supervisory requirements, I too am confused.

Were you able to get your questions resolved from the BBS?
Thank you.
Joy Hayes, LCSW

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain Filter