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.

  • 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

* 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


National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

The NBCC allows counselor education programs to hold special National Counselor Examination (NCE) testing administrations for their graduating students who apply as Board Eligible National Certified Counselors (NCC's). The intent is to permit counseling students in their final semester to have the opportunity to sit for the examination before intervening months or years create the necessity for extensive review. Board Eligible status allows candidates to sit for the examination without prior experience. National Counselor Exam is offered on campus in April and October.

Applications for April test administration are available for current students at Villanova. Applications for other test date must be obtained from NBCC.

In order to sit for the NCE, students must complete an application as well as send in an application fee. Failure to complete the required course work will result in the rejection of your application and the forfeit of the application fee.

Villanova Contact:
Dr.Stacey Havlik, 610-519-4607. (If you are a current Villanova student, look for an email to come to your Villanova account announcing the sign-up application is available. (You sign up one semester in advance.))

Course Work:
The following courses must have been completed in order to be eligible to sit for exam:

*Note: You are required to be ‘advanced’ in your coursework to sign up for the exam, which means you must have completed at least 6 out of the 8 courses listed below. The remaining two classes should be taken the following semester.


Content Area Categories Villanova  Course Equivalent
Human Growth & Development CHR 8884 - Human Growth and Development
Social/Cultural Foundations CHR 8860 - Lab in Couns Div Population
Helping Relations CHR 8687 - Counseling Theory & Prac
Group Work CHR 8655 - Lab in Group Dynamics OR
CHR 8686 - Group Couns Theo & Pract
Career & Lifestyle Development CHR 8685 - Lifestyle & Career Devel
Appraisal CHR 8855 - Appraisal in Counseling
Research & Program Evaluation CHR 8604 - Research & Evaluation 
Professional Orientation & Ethics

CHR 8605 - Lab in Counseling Skills (orCHR 8680 - School Counseling Orientation or CHR 8688, Clinical Mental Health Orientation

CHR 8883 - Ethics & Professional Orientation in Counseling

Field Experience

CHR 8692 - Intern I in School Counseling
HR 8694 - Intern II in School Counseling


CHR 8850 - Intern. I Clin. Mental Health &
CHR 8851 - Intern. II Clin. Mental Health

Two letters of recommendation may be required


There is often confusion about the differences between national certification and state licensure. Many counselors believe it is advantageous to hold both national and state credentials for maximum effect in the profession. The following explanation of both processes may help students who are considering various options.

National certification (NCC) is a voluntary process which is entirely separate from state licensure (even though the testing instrument is the same in many parts of the nation). The end product of an application for national certification is the right to call oneself an NCC (National Certified Counselor). National certification was developed within the profession to promote professional identity and pride. It has evolved to be a job search booster as well, especially for those who will eventually work in more than one state. NCCs benefit from other NBCC services: enforceable code of ethics, access to resource materials/newsletter for counselors, and advocacy/public education initiatives.

Licensure is now required by all states for professionals going into private practice and expecting to receive third party payments.  For professionals who are only looking for state licensure, this is the most economical way to take the NCE. NBCC is essentially not involved in this process other than to act as the “testing company” for the state in question. In most states, an individual must have completed his/her degree in order to sit for the exam for state licensure; and there may be other state mandated requirements as well, depending on the state.

Whether a person undertakes state licensure requirements first, followed by earning the national credential or the other way around, is a matter of personal choice. The advantage of working on the NCC credential while still a student is that NCE testing occurs while book knowledge is at its peak. Many states will accept a passing NCE score achieved under the GSA-NCC program. However, applicants may need to be reminded that completion of all certification requirements is the only way to secure NCE scores for future use. Individuals who fail to complete the requirements face having their files closed and their NCE scores invalidated. 

*Taken from