In the past 18 months, NBCC has initiated four campaigns that provide new tools for board certified counselors to distinguish themselves in the ever-crowded mental health profession.
“Board certified counselors look to NBCC as the profession’s major credentialing organization for assistance in many ways,” says Kylie Dotson-Blake, NBCC’s Interim President and CEO.
“We created these initiatives to provide a broad base of programs to assist them, and we’re pleased with the positive reaction to them. We hope to continue to build off these programs while creating still more new ways to engage with our board certified counselors.”
NBCC initiated a campaign for National Certified Counselors (NCCs) to use the phrase “board certified” to distinguish themselves from other counselors, as well as other mental health professionals. Taking the additional initiative to obtain national certification demonstrates to the counselor's colleagues and the public that they have voluntarily met high national standards for the practice of counseling.
The initiative began after a research study showed the public could be confused by the different letters and terminology that appear after a counselor’s name, whether it is referring to certification or licensure. The research showed, however, that the public did understand and recognize that being board certified signified a certain quality, in the same manner that people often prefer physicians who are board certified in a given specialty.
NBCC’s campaign urged NCCs to describe themselves as board certified but to continue using the NCC certification mark on business cards, letterhead, and email signatures. The phrase therefore complements the use of NCC; it does not replace it. An NBCC Visions poll in June 2018 showed that 90% of the 300 respondents said they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to use the phrase “board certified.”
People with questions about being board certified may go to https://www.nbcc.org/certification to learn more.
Thousands of board certified counselors have taken advantage of digital badges since NBCC made them available beginning in the spring of 2018.
Digital badges can be a live link to a board certified counselor’s achievements in obtaining a specific certification—whether it is National Certified Counselor, Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor, National Certified School Counselor, or Master Addictions Counselor.
The badges have been used by board certified counselors on their websites, social media, and email signatures.
One board certified counselor called the badge “a phenomenal tool in promoting my private practice,” while another has said the badge “generated in-depth conversations about who counselors are, which types of services we provide, and how we are different than other helping professionals.”
About 25,000 digital badges have been claimed since the program began. Acclaim, NBCC’s partner on the project, says the average of six views that board certified counselors are getting each time they share their badges is three times the national average for companies that issue digital badges.
All board certified counselors were notified last year of the ability to claim the digital badges they have earned for every certification. New board certified counselors are directed to access the Acclaim site to obtain their badge upon certification. People with questions about the badges may visit the Acclaim website and also learn more on the NBCC website.
This spring, NBCC began offering its board certified counselors the opportunity to add practice contact information to their listing in the free search directory, Counselor Find, which exclusively lists board certified counselors across the country.
The goal in allowing the addition of contact and practice information is to create a more useful directory where members of the public can identify the counselor to meet their needs and immediately connect. Several thousand board certified counselors have already added their contact information to the directory, and NBCC continues to urge all counselors—regardless of whether you are actively seeking clients—to consider sharing the contact information you believe is appropriate.
Information to be added includes telephone numbers, websites, and email addresses. You may choose to add any of a lengthy list of practice specialties, as well as billing and language options.
NBCC believes that this directory is a valuable benefit of certification, and an easier way for the public to find and locate qualified counselors. Promotion of the directory to board certified counselors continues, and NBCC hopes to raise public awareness of Counselor Find in the months to come.
One counselor has called the upgraded Counselor Find “a vital component to marketing myself by being visible on reputable sites. It is a win-win.”
Board certified counselors can access Counselor Find to add their practice information via the ProCounselor portal. Questions about the campaign can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NBCC began a new program that allows board certified counselors to obtain a free copy of their certificate online, but for the first time also allows them to purchase additional copies as needed, and to buy other useful items for their practice, such as certificates, frames, and NBCC-branded door hangers and wallet cards.
The program, a partnership between NBCC and The Award Group, offers counselors a quick, easy way to obtain their certificates; board certified counselors and newly certified counselors are notified upon renewal with a link to the ordering website.
The program was begun in large part in response to requests by board certified counselors to make obtaining certificates easier and to purchase other frequently used items. Board certified counselors will soon be able to access the website to view items available to them.
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