NCC and Licensure

National Certified Counselor

The National Counselor Examination and subsequent supervision hours provides counselors a voluntary professional credential or Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) credential. Although the NCC credential is not required for independent practice and is not a substitute for the legislated state credentials, those who hold the credential appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met national standards developed by counselors, not legislators.

What the NCC Credential Does for You

  • Generates client referrals for you through CounselorFind, NBCC's referral service linking potential clients to nearby NCCs.
  • Travels with you when you relocate in or outside the US.
  • Keeps you in touch with current professional credentialing issues and events through The National Certified Counselor, NBCC's newsletter.
  • Advances your professional accountability and visibility.
  • Ensures a national standard developed by counselors, not legislators.
  • Supports the rights of NCCs to use testing instruments in practice through NBCC’s participation in the National Fair Access Coalition on Testing (FACT).
  • Offers, through Lockton Affinity, liability insurance to NCCs at bargain rates.
  • Allows online access to verification of national certification through the NBCC Registry.

The three basic components of the requirements for the NCC credential are education, supervised experience, and examination.

  1. Candidates for the NCC credential must hold an advanced degree with a major study in counseling from a regionally accredited college or university. They also must meet specific semester or quarter hour requirements and content area requirements.
  2. Candidates for national certification must meet the supervised experience requirements specific to the option under which they qualify and apply. As of 2007, the requirement is 3,000 hours of work experience with 100 hours of supervision.
  3. Candidates for national certification must achieve a national passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). You may be exempt from examination if you have already taken the NCE or NCMHCE or one of the state licensure examinations accepted by NBCC. Please see your application for details.

(Information is subject to change, please refer to

* Taken from


*Please note: LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) and NCC (National Certified Counselor) are two separate entities, each having separate requirements. Both the LPC and the NCC require students to take the NCE Exam.

Students interested in becoming Licensed Professional Counselors in the State of Pennsylvania are required to meet the following requirements:

Attain a graduate degree in counseling from an accredited university.

Complete 60 (48 graduate degree requirements plus 12 additional) graduate credits in counseling.

Complete a 100 hour Practicum and 600 hour Internship as part of their graduate degree in counseling. 

Achieve a national passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification.

Following the completion of their graduate degree (48 credits) and field experiences (Practicum and Internship), candidates are required to have completed 3 years or 3600 hours of supervised clinical experience within a setting that is organized to prepare the applicant for the practice of counseling consistent with the applicant’s education and training.

Students interested in becoming Licensed Professional Counselors may register for the 12 additional graduate credits which are required for licensure. Also, Villanova’s CHR program provides the opportunity to receive post-master’s degree supervision.

(The above requirements are only applicable to the State of Pennsylvania and are subject to change; please refer to to obtain accurate information.)

NCE Exam
National Certification vs. State Licensure