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Licensure Exemption for Unlicensed Employees of Exempt Settings

The California Board of Psychology recommends that unlicensed professionals providing psychological services in exempt settings verify with their employer the type of exempt setting they are working in and the corresponding exemption limitations that apply to that setting. Various California statutes define the types of exempt settings, the site-specific limitations on the number of years that the exemption extends to, and the purposes for which an unlicensed employee may receive the exemption.

Recently enacted legislation, Assembly Bill 705 (Chapter 218, Statutes of 2015), amended section 2910 of the Business and Professions Code to clarify that unlicensed employees of accredited or approved academic institutions, public schools, or governmental agencies are permitted to work without a license primarily to gain the necessary qualifying experience to obtain licensure and are not permitted to provide psychological services for more than a cumulative total of five (5) years without obtaining licensure as a psychologist. However, this statute is general in nature and does not supersede the more specific statutes for exempt settings, such as those in section 1277 of the Health and Safety Code and section 5068.5 of the Penal Code, and section 5751.2 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. These statutes provide maximum limits for the total number of years an unlicensed employee of an exempt setting may provide psychological services without a license, as well as setting other qualifications. Again, these limitations are based on the type of exempt setting that the unlicensed employee is employed by or contracted with.