Frequently Asked Questions | NCCs


Why should I apply for the NCC certification? What will it do for me?

Certification can be a continuing source of career enhancement and pride for counseling professionals. It demonstrates to clients and employers that a professional counselor has met national standards. Learn more about the benefits of certification.

What are the requirements for the NCC certification?

Please see the NCC requirements page.

What can I call myself when I am certified?

Counselors who complete the certification process through NBCC are called National Certified Counselors. The designation is “NCC". National Certified Counselors may use the NCC certification mark on business cards and all professional materials. NCCs also receive a certificate suitable for framing. Learn more about the appropriate usage of your certification mark.

Does my NCC certification mean that I don’t have to get a state license?

No, counselors who hold the NCC and want to practice counseling in their state must still comply with all state laws regulating the practice of counseling. This usually means that they must obtain a state license in order to practice counseling.

If I get my NCC certification, does that mean that my state will automatically license me?

No, although some states have an abbreviated licensure process for counselors who are nationally certified with NBCC, you still have to apply. If your state utilizes the same examination that you took to get your NCC, you may not have to pass another examination in order to be licensed. To find out if your state offers an abbreviated application process for NCCs, contact your state counselor licensure board.


Why do I have to pay an annual fee?

It is standard practice to charge an annual fee for the maintenance of any professional credential, including a license or certification. Annual certification fees support certification, government affairs, advocacy efforts, NBCC ethics reviews, The Professional Counselor award-winning journal, the NBCC Foundation, and advancing the profession of counseling worldwide through our international department.

What do I have to do to keep my certification active?

In addition to annual fees, counselors must adhere to minimum conduct standards and complete continuing education requirements in order to maintain their certification. If you hold a specialty certification, a percentage of your continuing education requirement must be within your specialty area. You can make payments and track your CE hours through Credentialing Gateway.

Will NBCC send me a notice when it's time to pay my annual certification fee?

Yes, NBCC will send you an email each year 45 days in advance of the payment due date. You can make a payment directly in Credentialing Gateway, or by printing an invoice from Credentialing Gateway to mail in your payment. If the payment is not received by the due date, a late fee will be charged to your account.

Will NBCC send me a notice when it's time to recertify?

Yes. In the fifth year, you will receive recertification notifications on the same schedule as your annual certification fee. You will be notified both on your Credentialing Gateway account and your recertification form if you have been selected for the mandatory audit. If you are selected for the audit, you must upload or submit copies of your continuing education documentation as well as pay the recertification fee and attest to your continued adherence to the NBCC Code of Ethics. If you're not selected for audit, you must submit only the recertification fee payment and attest to your continued adherence to the NBCC Code of Ethics and to your completion of your continuing education requirement in order to recertify. You can complete all of these requirements through Credentialing Gateway.

What if I don’t have my 100 clock hours of continuing education by my expiration date?.........

NBCC may grant up to a one-year extension for you to obtain the required number of clock hours of continuing education. In order to receive this extension, you are required to be up-to-date on your fees and submit a written request stating the reason that you did not complete the hours, how many hours you did complete and the plan for completion of the remainder. The request may be submitted via mail, through Credentialing Gateway, or email at All fees must be paid and the account current to be considered for an extension.

What if I accidentally fail to recertify?

If you fail to recertify, your certification will expire and you will not be able to use the credential in your communications or professional materials. In order to reinstate certification, you must submit a reinstatement application. This process requires the payment of past-due fees, reinstatement application fee, and your certification fee for the upcoming year. You must also submit information regarding required disclosure areas and complete a continuing education audit.

If I decide I no longer want my NCC, can I just stop paying or do I have to fill out a form?.........

If you decide to terminate your certification, you must submit the Request to Relinquish Certification form. NBCC reserves the right to continue any ethical review process despite the non-payment.

How can I make sure my state licensure board receives my examination score?

Examination scores will not automatically be sent to state boards or any third-party without submission of the required form. To order an official copy of your scores for state licensure or a third-party agency, you must submit required documentation. Some restrictions apply. Log in to your Credentialing Gateway account to request a score verification from the online store. If you are unsure if you have any missing documents, you can log in or email at All past-due fees must be paid before score verification can be sent.

Where should I send my recertification materials?

If no payment is included:
Attention: Recertification Department
3 Terrace Way
Greensboro, NC 27403-3660

If payment is included:
Attention: Recertification Department
PO Box 63160
Charlotte, NC 28263-3160

NBCC Credentialing Gateway

When will I receive my certification?

Your certification will be granted once all components of your application are complete and approved. At that time, your certification will be visible in the NBCC Credentialing Gateway and on the Counselor Verify feature of our website. A printed certificate will be mailed to you within 90 days of your initial certification.

How long does the application process take?

The review process for new applications takes between 6 and 8 weeks. The review process for additional documents requested as part of the application is generally between 1 and 4 weeks. Periods of high volume may extend this timeframe slightly.

What is the status of my application?

The status of your application will be updated in your NBCC Credentialing Gateway as elements of your review are completed. You can log in to your account to check the current status of your application.

The system does not recognize my email address. How do I create my account?

Call us at 336-547-0607 or email to obtain a registration code.

Why does my application status say not complete?

The requirements listed on your application in the NBCC Credentialing Gateway will update as submitted documents are reviewed. Once review is complete, the status will either show that your document is approved or will explain any additional actions you need to take.

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