National Board for Certified Counselors

National Board for Certified Counselors

The National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. and Affiliates (NBCC) is a national certifying organization for professional counselors in the human services in the United States. It is an independent, not-for-profit credentialing organization based in Greensboro, North Carolina. The purpose of the organization is to establish and monitor a national certification system, identify the certified counselors who have and to maintain a register of them. Its NCC and MAC certifications are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the accrediting organization of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA).

NBCC has more than 48,000 certified counselors, in the U.S. and more than 40 countries.[citation needed] Its examinations for professional counselors are used by all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to accredit counselors on a state level.[1]



In 1982, NBCC was created by a committee of the American Counseling Association (ACA). The committee created NBCC to be an independent accrediting organization. NBCC and ACA have strong historical ties and work together to further the profession of counseling. However, the two organizations are separate with different goals: the ACA concentrates on membership association activities such as conferences, professional development, publications, and government relations, while the NBCC concentrates on promoting quality counseling through certification and promotes professional counseling to private and government organizations.


The certification program recognizes counselors who have met predetermined standards in their training, experience and performance on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE).

National Certified Counselor (NCC)

NBCC's flagship certification is the National Certified Counselor (NCC). There are currently over 48,000 NCCs in the U.S. and many other countries.

The requirements include:

  • A graduate degree in counseling (or one with a major in counseling) from a regionally accredited college or university,
  • At least 48 semester hours of graduate-level coursework, including least one course in each of nine specified areas,
  • At least 3,000 hours of post-Master's counseling experience in an applied setting over a minimum of 24 months, 100 of which must be supervised by a suitably qualified supervisor.
  • A passing score on the associated National Counselor Exam (NCE).

The NCC is a voluntary certification and is not required for supervised or independent practice, it identifies counselors who have voluntarily sought and met established standards. It is not, however, a substitute for state-mandated licensure. Many states use the NCE examination as part of their licensing requirements, which may provide license portability for counselors who wish to practice in more than one state.

Specialty certifications

In addition to the NCC, the NBCC also administers three specialty certifications, each requiring the NCC credential as a prerequisite or co-requisite, specialized graduate-level coursework, and passing of an examination in the specialty area.

  • Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC)
  • Master Addictions Counselor (MAC)
  • National Certified School Counselor (NCSC)

It has discontinued two other specialty credentials, the National Certified Career Counselor (NCCC) and the National Certified Gerontological Counselor (NCSC). There are several hundred counselors who hold these credentials, but they are no longer offered to new applicants.

Non-counseling certifications are administered by NBCC's sister organization The Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE)[2].


  • Clawson, T. W., Henderson, D. A., & Schweiger, W. K. (2004). Counselor Preparation (11th ed.). New York: Brunner-Routledge.
  • Sweeney, T. J. (1995). Accreditation, credentialing, professionalization: The role of specialties. Journal of Counseling and Development, 74, 117–126.
  • National Board for Certified Counselors, GSA-NCC Requirements:

External links

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