What is a National Certified Counselor?

As a national certified counselor, you’ll have the chance to show your experience to patients before their first appointments. Though counselors can work without getting certification first, the National Board for Certified Counselors offers four types of certification that can help make you more appealing to your current and future patients. This shows that you are a professional and that you meet all standards and requirements for gaining certification in your specific field. It may also help you make more money too.

Certification Types

A national certified counselor, also known as an NCC, is a counselor who has certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). This is the most basic level of certification and shows that you have experience and that you completed a graduate degree program in counseling. The NBCC also offers three specialty certification programs for other types of counselors. Its Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor certification is available for those who want to work with patients dealing with mental conditions like depression, while its Master Addictions Counselor certification shows that you can work effectively with patients addicted to drugs and alcohol. It also offers a certification option for those who want to work in school counseling.

Requirements for Certification

You cannot simply contact the NBCC and become certified overnight. You must submit an application that shows you meet all the requirements for obtaining certification. Applicants must have a minimum of a master’s degree in counseling or a similar field from an accredited university or college, and they must show that they took courses in nine key areas while in graduate school. The NBCC also requires that applicants pass the National Counselor Exam and show proof that they completed a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised and unsupervised clinical counseling work.

Appealing a Decision

Even if you meet all the requirements, you may still find your application rejected. The NBCC lets you appeal that final decision, but you will either need to create a written presentation or present yourself in front of its Board of Directors during the appeal process. You may appeal based on issues such as the NBCC not recognizing the clinical work you did or because the college you attended lost its accreditation years after you graduated. Once that Board makes its final decision, you cannot appeal the decision a second time.

Why Become Certified?

Board-certification is important for anyone who wants to work as a counselor. Doctors and medical professionals seek board-certification as a way to show that they are better than their peers and that they have better skills that other professionals have. As a national certified counselor, you show your patients that you have a strong educational background, that you completed a national licensing exam and that you worked with licensed counselors to improve your skills before practicing as a counselor. Once you receive your certification, you may also find that you have more options in regards to where you work and that your salary rises too.

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Counselors help patients dealing with a range of problems, including addictions, serious medical conditions and disabilities. They help those struggling with depression, those addicted to prescription or illegal drugs and those going through a divorce. A national certified counselor is a professional who has certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors.