Counselor Licensing and Certification Requirements

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: The Importance of Ethics in Counseling

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 Licenses and Credentials
  • 0:28 Certification
  • 2:06 Licensing
  • 3:30 Maintaining
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Michele Chism

Michele is presently a part time adjunct instructor at Faulkner University in the Counselor Education Department where she teaches Measurement and Assessment and Diagnosis and Treatment. I formerly taught at the University of West Alabama where I taught School Counseling and College Student Development Counseling. I was also the Student Success Coordinator for the College of Education.

Have you wondered about licensure or certification as a counselor? Are you curious about the difference between them? In this lesson, we will be looking at licensure and certification, what the differences and similarities are, and the requirements.

Licenses and Credentials

In this lesson, we will be learning about licensure and certifying of counselors. Licensing and certification differ in their purposes but have features in common, including:

  • Requiring applicants to meet specific requirements in terms of education and training.
  • Reliance on tests to determine whether or not the applicant has met standards.
  • Are both protections for the public from unqualified and untrained practitioners.

Certification

Certification is a recognition for those who have met the minimum standards of a certification agency. It indicates to clients that the individual is qualified to help them. There are two types of certification in counseling: state certification and national certification.

In most states, school counselors and substance abuse counselors are certified by the state in order to work under that classification. This means certification is not voluntary for those fields. Most states also require substance abuse counselors to be certified.

In the counseling profession for national certification, the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) certifies National Certified Counselors (NCC). This certification and its specialty certifications are voluntary. It gives counselors the right to use a specific title and is not required to practice. To receive the certification, the counselor must complete a master's degree or higher in counseling, 48 semester hours of graduate credit with courses in eight different areas, and six hours of field experience.

They must also pass the NCE exam and provide documentation of 3,000 hours post-graduate experience or completion of the CACREP accredited graduate classes. National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) offers specialty certifications in school, mental health, and addictions counseling. An affiliate of NBCC Credentialing offers credentialing in supervision. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) certifies rehabilitation counselors.

Licensing

Licensure is issued by the state to protect the public from unqualified and untrained practitioners. Passage of state licensure law restricts or prohibits the practice of counseling by individuals not meeting state-determined qualification standards. To practice as a private practice counselor, a license is required. All states provide for licensure of counselors.

The most common title of a recipient is a Licensed Professional Counselor, but other names may be used. Most states with licensure credentialing require a minimum education requirement of 60 hours of graduate study, 2,000-3,000 hours of supervised experience, and passing of an examination on counseling practice. For example, in the state of Alabama, obtaining licensure requires 60 semester hours of coursework in eight areas, 3,000 hours of supervised experience, and passage of the NCC exam. This seems typical of most states, although some states, like California and Vermont, offer their own exam or more than one exam.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support