How Can I Become a National Certified Counselor?

Certified CounselorCertified CounselorCertified CounselorAre you interested in learning how to become a National Certified Counselor? A National Certified Counselor is a professional counselor who holds an NCC national certification in addition to their degree and their state license. The advantage of holding your certification and being able to say that you are an National Certified Counselor is that you can take pride in being a distinguished professional who has met the unique competency standards of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. While many confuse state licensure exams and the certification exam, the two are very different and administered by different bodies. Read on to learn about requirements to become an National Certified Counselor, and what you must do to earn and maintain certification.

What Are the National Certified Counselor Requirements?

National Certified Counselor requirements vary from the state licensing requirements to become a counselor. If you would like to become certified and be a licensed counselor who is able to practice in a specific state, you should know that requirements can vary. In order to apply for an NCC certification, you will need to complete an accredited master’s degree program in counseling. According to the National Board of Certified Counselors, when you have a master’s degree or higher, you will also need to meet the credit requirements by having completed 48 semester hours, with eight hours being in the following areas of study: Human Growth and Development, Counseling Field Experience, Program Evaluation, Social and Cultural Foundations, Career Counseling, Helping Relationships, Assessments in Counseling, and Professional Orientation.

In addition to meeting the formal education experience requirements, you will need to earn a passing score on the National Counselor Exam. This is a competency exam that is administered by the NCCA. If you pass the exam and meet the credit requirements, the only thing left to provide is acceptable documentation of 3000 hours of counseling experience with 100 hours of supervised counseling experience. If you have already met all of these requirements, it is time to submit your application.

How to Apply for Your NCC and Maintain Your Certification

Once you meet the educational, testing and experience requirements to become a certified counselor, the next step is submitting your application. There are different applications for candidates who graduate from different types of counseling degree programs. If you have graduated from a CACREP-accredited program, you will fill out a different application than someone who has a Master’s from a non-CACREP-accredited program. Be aware that the testing score and experience requirements can vary based on the type of program that you attend. Experience requirements tend to apply when you do not complete an CACREP program. There is yet another application for state licensed counselors who have an active license. This is why it is very important to select the right application before you submit it, according to National Board of Certified Counselors.  Once you get certified, the NCC will last for five years. After this period, you will have to prove that you have completed 100 hours of continuing education and pay the certification fee annually.

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If you want to earn your NCC credential, it is important to map out the path that you should take to make your goals become achievements. Complete your degree first, choose the right courses, and then submit the proper application. If you do all of this, you will not have difficulty in your goal to become a National Certified Counselor.