Certification by the National Board of Counseling Certification (NBCC) is the premier individual certification for the counseling profession. Certification as NCC demonstrates to colleagues and the public as a whole that the counselor has voluntarily met very high national academic, personal, ethical, and continuing education standards for the practice of counseling.
One who is credentialed as NCC is an individual who holds an advanced university degree (Masters or Doctorate) leading to practice in one of many healing arts and who meets the rigorous requirements of NBCC. The college or university programs from which the counselor received his or her degree must, themselves, meet all the following curriculum requirements of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP):
- Human Growth and Development – Studies that provide an understanding of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels.
- Social and Cultural Diversity – Studies that provide an understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society.
- Counseling and Helping Relationships – Studies that provide an understanding of counseling and consultation processes.
- Group Counseling and Group Work – Studies that provide an understanding of group development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group work approaches.
- Career Counseling – Studies that provide an understanding of career development.
- Assessment and Testing – Studies that provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment.
- Research and Program Evaluation – Studies that provide an understanding of types of research methods, basic statistics, and ethical and legal considerations in research.
- Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice – Studies that provide an understanding of all aspects of professional functioning, including history, roles, organization structures, ethics, standards, and credentialing.
In addition to the coursework listed above, NCC licensure also requires the completion of a supervised practicum experience, sometimes referred to as an internship. The practicum must consist of at least 300 hours with a minimum of 100 hours of direct client contact. This practicum requirement is distinct from post-graduate supervision, which is necessary for licensure in Texas as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). This post-graduate requirement consists of 3,000 hours of professional supervision within an 18 consecutive month period.
In addition to the above, a Board Certified NCC must also satisfactorily complete a comprehensive national examination prepared and administered by NBCC and graded by practicing professional counselors and counselor educators.