Faculty Information About the NCC for Graduate Students

NBCC hosts a National Certified Counselor (NCC) application option for graduate students on more than 300 campuses nationwide. As part of the certification process, students take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) on campus.

Benefits of National Certification

Obtaining the NCC credential through NBCC provides layers of benefits to individual NCCs as well as the profession, employers and the public. The following are just some of the benefits for individual practitioners.

The NCC certification:

National Certification and State Licensure

Students often confuse national certification with state licensure. In many instances, the exam requirement is the same for both processes. Sometimes they think they are applying for an exam when they submit an NCC application during graduate school. Faculty will need to remind students frequently that the NCC is a master’s-level, voluntary credential held by many counselors in addition to their state license. See this page for a chart illustrating the differences.

  • Increases opportunities for career advancement and/or earnings.
  • Generates new clients through Counselor Find, an online referral system.
  • Holds value across state lines and international boundaries.
  • Offers access to professional resources, product discounts and liability insurance.
  • Represents completion of rigorous national training standards.
  • Enhances professional reputation and credibility.
  • Encourages continued professional development.
  • Allows online verification of national certification.
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Benefits to Counselor Preparation Programs

Beyond the benefits to students, counselor preparation programs receive aggregate score information on students’ exam performance, including comparisons to national data. In addition, participation in the NCC application process can be an excellent marketing tool in student recruitment. Currently, more than 300 counselor preparation programs participate. View a list of particiating schools.

Eligibility Criteria and School Application for Participation

  • University/College Eligibility
    • Must be regionally accredited
  • Counselor Prep Program Eligibility
    • Must be at least 48 credit hours or 72 quarter hours
    • Must be preapproved by NBCC to participate
    • Curriculum must be compatible with NBCC’s nine content area requirements, including at least six semester hours of field experience
    • Cannot use the NCC application process or examination as a program exit requirement
    • Three applicant minimum needed to offer exam on campus
  • Student Eligibility
    • Must be currently enrolled in a counselor preparation program
    • Must be degree-seeking
    • Must be well-advanced in program of study
    • Must be a voluntary participant
  • Alumni Eligibility
    Recent alumni who meet the following criteria may apply using the Graduate Student NCC Application:
    • Must possess a master’s degree or higher in counseling
    • Must test within six months of graduation
    • Must be a voluntary participant
  • Not Eligible for the Graduate Student NCC Application
    • Students not well-advanced in their program of study
    • Students enrolled in a certificate or other nondegree program
    • Students who will not complete NBCC coursework requirements prior to graduation
    • Students who are not currently enrolled at a participating school
    • Alumni who have graduated more than six months prior to the exam date. These alumni must use the nonstudent application, downloadable from the NBCC Web site.

Requirements for NCC Certification

Please see the NCC Requirements page.