Career Counselor Certification

Being certified in career counseling allows you to help students and professionals find their vocational calling. Read on to learn about the certification types, education required, common courses, licensing requirements, and if the certification can be obtained online. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Career Counselor Certification?

To become certified as a career counselor, you can pursue one of two routes. To earn introductory credentials, you can complete an exam conducted by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC); this earns you the designation of National Certified Counselor (NCC). Then, you can pursue specialized certification to become a National Certified School Counselor (NCSC).

However, if you don't wish to work primarily in educational institutions, you can seek specific career counseling credentials by attaining membership and then submitting a portfolio to the National Career Development Association (NCDA). You can earn the title of Fellow, Master Career Specialist (MCS) or Master Career Counselor (MCC). The latter requires applicants to already possess the NCC from the NBCC. The MCDP focuses on education and program planning as opposed to direct career counseling, so the NCC is not necessary and other prerequisites satisfy qualification standards.

Certification National Certified Counselor (NCC); National Certified School Counselor (NCSC), Master Career Counselor
Required Education M.A. or M.S. in educational psychology or counseling.
Common Courses Counseling theory, research methodology, career development and design
Requirements 3,000 hours professional development from master's degree program; state counseling license
Online Availability Certification not available online

What Education Is Required?

In order to qualify for any NBCC or NCDA counselor certificate, you must already possess a Master of Arts or Master of Science in a field such as educational psychology or counseling. These programs last approximately six semesters. In lieu of a master's degree in a specifically relevant field, candidates can earn a graduate-level certificate in career counseling to complement a preexisting master's degree in a related realm. These last about two semesters. Graduate-level programs in career counseling cover such topics as:

  • Research methodology
  • Counseling theory
  • Human development
  • Counseling laws and ethics
  • Communication skills
  • Career development and design

What Else Do I Need to Do?

Prior to receiving the National Certified Counselor (NCC) designation, you must complete 3,000 hours of professional development within the two years of graduation from an accredited master's degree program. You can complete approved training through conferences, workshops and seminars. For all designations, you need to participate in continuing education and recertify every five years.

Regardless of your certification, you must obtain state licensure to legally practice. Requirements to do so vary by state, and may involve a single- or double-tiered process of qualification. After that, you may begin legally practicing career counseling within an academic setting, independent practice or organization.

Can I Earn Certification Online?

The National Counselor Examination must be completed at a designated location in your state. You may obtain regional exam information from the NBCC website. Some degree or certificate program and continuing education components can also be completed online depending on your program and school, but in-person practice hours are required for all formal training to qualify you for certification.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Capella University

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    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
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  • Strayer University

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    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

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    Popular programs at Liberty University:

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  • Regent University

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Saint Leo University

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    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

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