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Top 11 Career Counselor Certifications

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Updated 19 min read

Certifications are important for career counselors in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and knowledge that employers look for when hiring. A certification shows that a career counselor has met certain standards and requirements to be able to offer advice and guidance to their clients. It also demonstrates that the counselor is up-to-date on current trends, best practices, and new developments in the field. Additionally, certifications can help a career counselor stand out from other applicants, making them more attractive to potential employers.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Career Counselors and explains how they can help enhance a career counselor's career.

What are Career Counselor Certifications?

Career counselor certification is a professional credential that demonstrates an individual's expertise and competence in providing career counseling services. It is awarded by organizations such as the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) or the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE).

The certification process typically involves completing a master’s degree program in counseling, passing a national examination, and obtaining supervised experience working with clients. With this certification, career counselors are able to provide guidance to individuals who are exploring educational and career options, as well as those who may be experiencing job loss or other life transitions.

Having a career counselor certification can help to ensure that clients receive quality services from knowledgeable professionals. By having this credential, counselors can demonstrate their commitment to providing ethical and effective assistance to their clients. In addition, having a certification can also give counselors access to additional resources such as continuing education opportunities and professional networks. Ultimately, career counselor certification can help individuals gain the confidence of their clients while helping them achieve their personal and professional goals.

Pro Tip: Before committing to a career counselor certification program, make sure to research the certifying body's reputation and accreditation status. This will ensure that you are investing in a quality program and will help you find the best possible job opportunities after completing the certification.

Related: What does a Career Counselor do?

Top 11 Career Counselor Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Career Counselors today.

1. Certified Career Counselor (CCC)

A Certified Career Counselor (CCC) is a professional who has achieved a specialized level of expertise in career counseling. CCCs are trained to help individuals identify their strengths and weaknesses, set career goals, create action plans, and develop the skills needed to achieve those goals. They also assist clients in finding the right job or career path that best suits their individual needs and interests.

The CCC certification is offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). To become certified, applicants must meet specific requirements including having a master’s degree from an accredited college or university; completing at least three years of supervised experience in career counseling; passing the NBCC’s National Counselor Examination (NCE); and successfully completing a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education in career counseling.

The cost of obtaining the CCC certification varies depending on the applicant's qualifications and other factors. However, it typically costs between $500 and $1,000 to take all required exams and complete the necessary coursework. The total time commitment for obtaining the CCC certification can range from six months to two years depending on an individual's prior experience and educational background.

2. Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF)

Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) is a certification program designed to help individuals develop the skills and knowledge needed to provide career development services. The GCDF certification is offered by the Center for Credentialing & Education, Inc. (CCE).

The GCDF certification requires completion of an approved training program, which consists of either a face-to-face or online course. The training program must include at least 120 hours of instruction and cover topics such as career development theories, career exploration and decision making, job search techniques, resume writing, interviewing skills, and labor market information. After completing the training program, individuals must pass an exam to become certified.

The cost of the GCDF certification varies depending on the type of training program you choose. Face-to-face courses typically range from $1,500 to $3,000 while online courses are usually less expensive at around $400-$800. In addition to the cost of the training program, there is also a fee for taking the exam which is currently set at $200.

In total it can take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year to complete all requirements for becoming a certified Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF).

3. National Certified Counselor (NCC)

The National Certified Counselor (NCC) is a professional credential awarded by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). It is a voluntary certification that recognizes counselors who have met standards of excellence in their field.

To become an NCC, applicants must meet certain requirements, including having a master’s degree in counseling or a related field from an accredited college or university; completion of at least 3,000 hours of post-master’s supervised clinical experience; and passing the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). The NCE is administered by the NBCC and consists of 200 multiple-choice questions.

The process to become an NCC can take up to two years depending on how quickly you are able to complete the required coursework and supervised experience. Once all requirements are met, you can apply for certification online through the NBCC website.

The cost to become an NCC varies depending on your state or jurisdiction. Generally, it costs between $200-$400 to apply for certification, plus additional fees for taking the NCE exam ($195) and maintaining your certification ($75 every two years).

4. Master Career Counselor (MCC)

Master Career Counselor (MCC) is a professional certification for career counselors. It is granted by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The MCC credential demonstrates that an individual has met the highest standards of professional practice in the field of career counseling.

To become certified as an MCC, applicants must have a master’s degree or higher in counseling or a related field, plus three years of post-master’s experience in career counseling. Applicants must also pass an exam administered by the NBCC and demonstrate knowledge and skills in four core areas: (1) Career Development Theory; (2) Career Development Assessment; (3) Career Development Intervention; and (4) Professional Practice.

The process to become an MCC typically takes between six months and one year to complete. To begin, applicants must submit an application to the NBCC, which includes providing official transcripts from their educational institutions and verifying their post-master’s experience in career counseling. Once accepted, applicants will need to register for and take the MCC Exam within six months of acceptance. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their certification from the NBCC.

The cost to apply for the MCC credential is $195 USD, plus any applicable taxes. Additionally, there is a fee of $395 USD for taking the MCC Exam.

5. Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist (CVE)

A Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist (CVE) is a professional who specializes in evaluating the vocational potential of individuals with disabilities. CVEs assess an individual’s abilities, limitations, and interests to determine their employability and help them find suitable employment or training opportunities. The evaluation process includes a variety of tests, interviews, and other assessments to evaluate an individual’s aptitude for certain types of work.

It typically takes two years to become certified as a CVE. This includes completing a minimum of 200 hours of supervised experience in vocational evaluation and passing the National Board for Certified Vocational Evaluators (NBCVE) certification exam. Candidates must also complete continuing education credits every three years to maintain their certification.

In order to become certified as a CVE, you must first complete an accredited program in vocational evaluation or rehabilitation counseling from an institution recognized by the NBCVE. You will then need to submit an application and fee for the certification exam, which costs $250 USD. Once you have passed the exam, you can apply for your CVE certification through NBCVE's website.

The cost of becoming certified as a CVE varies depending on the program you choose and any additional fees associated with taking the certification exam. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 USD to become certified as a CVE.

6. Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

A Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) is a mental health professional who has earned a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or related field and has been licensed to practice in their state. The LPC is trained to diagnose and treat mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, trauma, relationship problems, and more.

The amount of time it takes to become an LPC varies by state but typically requires at least two years of graduate study plus a supervised internship. After completing the educational requirements, candidates must pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). Additionally, some states require additional examinations or coursework.

To become an LPC, you must first obtain a master’s degree in counseling or a related field from an accredited university or college. You should also complete any required state-mandated courses or exams. Once you have completed your education and passed the NCE exam, you must apply for licensure with your state board of professional counselors. This process typically includes submitting official transcripts and letters of recommendation along with other required documentation.

The cost of becoming an LPC varies depending on the individual's educational program and licensing requirements in their state. Generally speaking, tuition for a master's degree program can range from $10,000-$50,000 depending on the institution chosen. Additionally, there are fees associated with taking the NCE exam which range from $175-$300 depending on the state board requirements. Finally there may be additional fees associated with obtaining licensure such as application fees which can range from $50-$200 depending on the state board requirements.

7. Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP)

Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP) is a professional certification offered by the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in providing employment services to job seekers and employers. The CESP certification demonstrates an individual’s commitment to excellence in their field and provides employers with assurance that they are hiring qualified professionals.

The CESP certification requires applicants to complete a two-part process. First, applicants must pass a written exam which covers topics such as career development, job search strategies, interviewing techniques, resume writing, and employer relations. Second, applicants must also demonstrate their knowledge through an oral examination conducted by NAWDP-approved assessors.

The written exam can be taken at any testing center approved by the NAWDP or online through the organization’s website. The cost of the written exam is $150 USD. The oral examination typically takes place at an approved assessment center and costs $250 USD.

In order to maintain the CESP certification, individuals must complete 30 hours of continuing education every three years. This includes attending conferences and workshops related to workforce development as well as completing online courses offered by NAWDP or other approved providers.

8. Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)

A Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) is a professional who specializes in helping individuals with physical, mental, developmental, and emotional disabilities to become more independent and productive members of society. They provide counseling services to individuals with disabilities, as well as their families and employers. CRCs work in a variety of settings including rehabilitation centers, hospitals, private practices, schools, and government agencies.

In order to become a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), you must first complete an approved master’s degree program in rehabilitation counseling or a related field. Once you have completed your degree program, you must pass the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE) certification exam. After passing the exam, you will be eligible for certification through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).

The cost of becoming a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor varies depending on the type of program you choose to pursue. Generally speaking, most programs range from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on tuition costs and other fees associated with the program. Additionally, there is an application fee for taking the NCRE certification exam that ranges from $225-$400 depending on whether or not you are already certified by another organization.

Overall it can take anywhere from two to four years to complete the necessary requirements for becoming a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).

9. Master of Science in Career and Technical Education (MSCTE)

The Master of Science in Career and Technical Education (MSCTE) is a graduate degree program designed to prepare educators for careers in the field of career and technical education. This program focuses on teaching students the skills necessary to teach a variety of career-related topics, such as business management, marketing, engineering, health sciences, and information technology.

The MSCTE program typically takes two years to complete and consists of core courses such as curriculum development, instructional methods, assessment strategies, educational research methods, and professional development. Students may also choose elective courses that focus on specific areas of interest within the field.

In order to be eligible for admission into an MSCTE program, applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher. Additional requirements may vary depending on the school or program.

The cost of an MSCTE program will depend on the school you choose to attend. Generally speaking, tuition costs can range anywhere from $10,000-$30,000 for the entire two-year program. In addition to tuition costs, students should also factor in living expenses such as housing and food while attending school.

10. National Career Development Association’s Career Development Facilitator Certification Program (NCDA-CDFCP)

The National Career Development Association’s (NCDA) Career Development Facilitator Certification Program (CDFCP) is a professional certification program for career development practitioners. The CDFCP provides career development professionals with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of career development. The program includes an online assessment and a comprehensive study guide that covers topics such as career counseling, career assessment, job search strategies, financial literacy, and more.

The CDFCP typically takes about six months to complete. During this time, individuals must pass the online assessment and complete the study guide. After successful completion of both components of the program, individuals will receive their certification from NCDA.

In order to be eligible for the CDFCP, individuals must have at least three years of experience in providing career services or working in a related field such as human resources or higher education counseling. Additionally, applicants must have completed at least 30 hours of continuing education related to career development within the past three years.

The cost of the CDFCP varies depending on whether you are an NCDA member or non-member. For members, it costs $150; for non-members it costs $200. In addition to these fees, there is also an additional fee for taking the online assessment ($50).

11. International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance’s Qualification in Careers Guidance and Development Certificate Program (IAEVG-QCGDCP).

The International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG) Qualification in Careers Guidance and Development Certificate Program (QCGDCP) is a professional qualification program designed to equip individuals with the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary to become qualified careers guidance practitioners. The program is based on the IAEVG’s Core Competency Framework which outlines the essential elements of effective careers guidance practice.

The QCGDCP consists of three parts: an online learning component; a face-to-face training component; and an assessment component. The online learning component consists of self-paced modules that cover topics such as career exploration, career decision making, job search strategies, and career development planning. The face-to-face training component includes two days of interactive workshops focusing on the application of theory to practice. Finally, the assessment component requires participants to complete a written assignment demonstrating their understanding of the material covered in the course.

It typically takes between six months and one year to complete all components of the QCGDCP. To get started, individuals must first register with IAEVG and pay a registration fee of €50. Once registered, they will be provided with access to all course materials and can begin working through them at their own pace. Upon completion of all components, participants will receive their certificate from IAEVG confirming their successful completion of the program.

The total cost for completing the QCGDCP varies depending on individual circumstances but typically ranges from €500 - €800 (including registration fees). This cost covers access to all course materials as well as any associated travel or accommodation expenses incurred during the face-to-face training component.

Do You Really Need a Career Counselor Certificate?

When it comes to career counseling, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every individual has unique needs and desires that must be met before they can make an informed decision about their future. As such, a career counselor certificate may be beneficial in many scenarios.

A career counselor certificate signifies an individual’s knowledge of the industry and expertise in helping others reach their goals. It also provides proof of training, which is important when working with clients as it shows that the counselor is qualified to provide guidance and advice. Additionally, a certificate can demonstrate an individual’s commitment to their profession and dedication to helping others succeed.

Not all individuals need a career counselor certificate, however. Depending on your goals and ambitions, you may not require a formal qualification or certification in order to pursue your desired job or career path. For example, if you are looking for entry-level positions or more informal roles such as freelance work, then you may not need a certificate in order to succeed. However, for those who wish to move into higher-level roles or specialize in certain areas of the industry – such as executive coaching – then having a certification will be essential for success.

In conclusion, whether or not you need a career counselor certificate depends on your individual goals and ambitions within the field. While this type of qualification can provide valuable insight into the industry and demonstrate one’s level of commitment, it is not always necessary for everyone who wishes to pursue work within the field of counseling. Ultimately, it is up to each individual person to decide whether a certification would be beneficial for them or not.

Related: Career Counselor Resume Examples

FAQs About Career Counselor Certifications

Q1: What is a career counselor certification?

A1: A career counselor certification is a credential that demonstrates an individual has acquired the knowledge and skills to provide professional career counseling services. It typically involves completing a program of study, passing an exam, and meeting other requirements established by the certifying organization.

Q2: How do I become certified as a career counselor?

A2: To become certified as a career counselor, you must complete the required training or educational program, pass an exam, and meet any additional criteria set forth by the certifying organization. Additionally, many states require that licensed counselors also obtain additional certifications to practice in their state.

Q3: Is there a standard certification for all career counselors?

A3: No, there is no single standard certification for all career counselors. Depending on your desired field of specialization and geographic region, you may need to pursue different certifications from different organizations.

Q4: What are some of the most recognized organizations offering career counselor certifications?

A4: Some of the most respected organizations offering career counselor certifications include the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), American Counseling Association (ACA), International Association for Counseling (IAC), and National Career Development Association (NCDA).

Q5: Are there continuing education requirements after becoming certified?

A5: Yes, many organizations require that certified counselors maintain their credentials through continuing education activities such as attending conferences or seminars or taking online courses.

Editorial staff

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Brenna Goyette

Expert Verified

Brenna is a certified professional resume writer, career expert, and the content manager of the ResumeCat team. She has a background in corporate recruiting and human resources and has been writing resumes for over 10 years. Brenna has experience in recruiting for tech, finance, and marketing roles and has a passion for helping people find their dream jobs. She creates expert resources to help job seekers write the best resumes and cover letters, land the job, and succeed in the workplace.

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