Becoming a National Certified Counselor (NCC): Information for Experienced Counselors

Looking for State Licensure?

It is important to be clear about your credentialing goals. It is common for counselors to confuse state counselor licensure and national certification. Although the examination (NCE) may be the same, the credentials and processes are very different. If you are attempting to register for a STATE COUNSELOR LICENSURE EXAMINATION, please visit this page.

Many professional counselors have found it rewarding and advantageous to hold national certification (the NCC) in addition to their academic degrees and, often, a state license. If you are interested in adding national certification to your professional credentials, read below.

The National Certified Counselor (NCC) certification

The NCC certification was first offered by NBCC in 1983. It is one of two NBCC certifications currently accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the most prestigious accreditation available for professional certification boards.

Being an NCC is not only a source of great pride for professional counselors, it also carries with it many benefits. Learn more about the benefits of certification.

The NCC Certification Process

  1. Professional counselors interested in applying for national certification should visit the Application Options page. Certification requirements will depend on the application option for which you are best qualified.
  2. Mail the completed NCC application and required documentation and fee to NBCC.
  3. Pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)
  4. Counselors who applied to NBCC as graduate students and who have now completed their post-master’s experience and supervision should use the Verification of Post Master’s Work Experience and Supervision to document their hours and complete the NCC certification process. For more information, please see the Student section of the Frequently Asked Questions.

The National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)

Once an application for the NCC credential has been approved, the applicant will be registered for the NCE (unless you are exam exempt). Visit this page for information on the NCE and for information on all available study guides.

Maintaining Certification

National Certified Counselors (NCCs) are certified for a period of five years and receive a professional certificate. NCCs must adhere to the NBCC Code of Ethics and must pay—on a yearly basis—an annual certification fee. At the conclusion of each five-year cycle, NCCs are required to be able to provide documentation of completing 100 clock hours of continuing education, or they may opt to retake and pass the NCE. Learn more about the NCC recertification process.