General Information on Career Counseling Certification
The National Career Development Association (NCDA) offers a Certified Career Counselor (CCC) certification. Aspirants with at least a master's degree in counseling and experience in career counseling or any other counseling-related services are eligible for this certification. They must also pass an online assessment.
The master's (or higher) should be in counseling education, mental health counseling, psychological counseling, or other similar degrees. If the degree is from a CACREP-accredited program (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs), students will have the fast-track option to CCC, which bypasses the assessment.
Applicants can meet the career specialization requirements in one of three ways:
- A minimum of 600 hours of supervised clinical experience in career counseling
- A minimum of 60 hours of continuing education in career development
- Completion of NCDA's training course in facilitating career development
The final step to NCDA certification is an online assessment and reference check.
Students can complete most of the certification preparation part online except for earning clinical hours. In addition to several CACREP-accredited online master's programs, there are also online certificate programs preparing for NCDA certification helping to complete most of these certification requirements online.
Another option is the National Certified Counselor option from the National Board for Certified Counselors. This certification requires you to hold a master's degree in counseling (including specific coursework, such as career counseling and group counseling), 100 hours counseling supervision (this requirement is waived in certain circumstances, including graduation from a CACREP-accredited program), a colleague endorsement, 3,000 hours of work experience and a passing exam score.
Online Career Counseling Certificate Programs
Career counseling certificate programs focus on skills required to help students in high school transition to college, college students prepare for their careers or working professionals develop or change their careers. Coursework varies depending on the program, so career counselors or aspiring career counselors should choose the program that best fits their needs. For example, a program focusing on high school to college might offer courses on assessment, college admissions and financial aid, while others might focus on career development.
Most of the career counseling certificates are graduate-level programs, which require at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited school to be eligible for the admission process. Some of these certificates are available in 100% online format, whereas some other programs are available in a hybrid format combining online and in-person classes. Some of these certificate programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The duration of the certificate varies from school to school, but there are usually fewer than 10 courses required.
Career counselors mostly work in academic institutions, the government or private companies, helping students and clients to understand educational and career options matching their aspirations. The day-to-day job responsibilities of a career counselor includes talking to clients to understand their educational qualifications, work history, and personal interest to suggest suitable career paths and future goals.
Though career counseling certification can play a role in career growth, job growth for the profession also depends on other factors. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career counselors can expect to see growth in university settings, as more campuses are adding career centers to help students. The BLS projected job growth of 8% for career counselors from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average. The median salary for career and school counselors in 2019 was $57,040 per year, BLS reported.
NCDA offers a Certified Career Counselor credential to career counseling professionals satisfying the qualification criteria such as educational requirements, career specialization, and online assessment. Students holding an advanced psychology degree (a master's or higher) are eligible to apply for this certification.