National Certified Counselor (NCC)

The National Certified Counselor (NCC) is the premier certification for the counseling profession. Holding the NCC demonstrates to colleagues and the public that you have voluntarily met high national standards for the practice of counseling.

The benefits of certification include use of the NCC certification mark, access to low-cost liability insurance, national advocacy efforts for the counseling profession and more.


Application Requirements

You must meet the following requirements in order to obtain certification as an NCC. For more information, log in and start your application.

Education

You must hold a master’s degree with a major study in counseling from a regionally accredited program, including at least 48 semester or 72 quarter hours of graduate-level academic credit in counseling. The degree must include one course in Professional Orientation to Counseling and at least six semester or 10 quarter hours of supervised field experience in counseling.

Coursework

Your coursework must cover the following nine content areas and all areas must be represented within your master’s degree (Postgraduate or non-degree courses cannot be accepted.):

  • Human Growth and Development Theories in Counseling
  • Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling
  • Helping Relationships in Counseling
  • Group Counseling Theories and Processes
  • Career Counseling and Lifestyle Development
  • Assessment in Counseling
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Professional Orientation to Counseling
  • Counseling Field Experience

Learn more about the required coursework content areas.

Supervision

You must document at least 100 hours of post-graduate counseling supervision over a minimum 24-month period. This requirement is waived in certain circumstances: for graduates of CACREP-accredited programs; for fully state-licensed professional counselors; for those enrolled in a regionally accredited doctoral program in counseling.

Professional Endorsement

You must obtain endorsement from a professional colleague who holds a master’s degree or higher in a mental health field. The individual providing endorsement cannot be related to the applicant and cannot be the same individual verifying supervision.

Work Experience

You must document having completed at least 3,000 hours of post-graduate counseling work experience over a minimum 24-month period. This requirement is waived in certain circumstances: for graduates from CACREP-accredited programs; for fully state-licensed professional counselors; for those enrolled in a regionally accredited doctoral program in counseling.

Ethics

Board certified counselors are required to adhere to NBCC’s ethical policies, including the Code of Ethics and the Policy Regarding the Provision of Distance Professional Services.

Examination Requirement

You must obtain a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examinations (NCMHCE).


Examination Information

For purposes of national certification, the examinations are offered twice a year (April and October). The NCE and NCMHCE handbooks provide specific information regarding each examination.


Recertification

Once certified, you will need to meet ongoing requirements in order to maintain your NCC, including continuing education, fees and adherence to ethics policies.

NCC Questions:


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