Can a Registered Associate in California receive a stipend?

In California, Registered Associates must fall under one of the classifications below for their employment status at a site. The biggest issue is that they may not be an independent contractor. If they are classified as an independent contractor the hours earned at that site can’t be claimed.

  1. Be a volunteer (receiving no payment); you must submit a volunteer letter with your application.

  2. Be an employee; you must receive a W2 and submit it with your application. Typically a “stipend” indicates that you are not an employee of the site. In order to claim your hours you must be an employee and receive a W2. If you receive payment and don’t receive a W2 (or meet the next requirements on this list) you will be considered an independent contractor and you will not be able to claim the hours earned at the site.

  3. Be an “employee” receiving no more than $500 per month as reimbursement for expenses across all sites. Below is additional information from the BBS…

§ 4980.43.3. SUPERVISED EXPERIENCE: ACCEPTABLE SETTINGS; ACCEPTABLE SUPERVISION PRACTICES

(a) A trainee, associate, or applicant for licensure shall only perform mental health and related services as an employee or volunteer, and not as an independent contractor. The requirements of this chapter regarding hours of experience and supervision shall apply equally to employees and volunteers. A trainee, associate, or applicant for licensure shall not perform any services or gain any experience within the scope of practice of the profession, as defined in Section 4980.02, as an independent contractor. While an associate may be either a paid employee or a volunteer, employers are encouraged to provide fair remuneration.


(1) If employed, an associate shall provide the board, upon application for licensure, with copies of the W-2 tax forms for each year of experience claimed.


(2) If volunteering, an associate shall provide the board, upon application for licensure, with a letter from his or her employer verifying the associate’s status as a volunteer during the dates the experience was gained.

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