Licensing and Certification

School Counselor Certification
Students in the school counseling program may apply for Connecticut certification as a school counselor, grades K-12, under the Initial Educator's Certificate. The student must request an application for certification from the Program Coordinator or University's Certification Officer. The completed application is then returned to the Certification Officer. Once processed, the application is sent back to the student who must send it to the SDE, along with the required fee. Students who want to be certified in New York State must contact the New York State Education Department in Albany for information about requirements and procedures. All required practica and internships must be completed in the state in which certification is sought.

Licensed Professional Counselor
The State Department of Connecticut, Department of Public Health, accepts applications for licensure as a Professional Counselor in Connecticut. To date there are no such licensure designation in New York State. Criteria for consideration for licensure as a professional counselor includes:

  • Successful completion of 60 graduate semester hours in the discipline of professional counseling at a regionally accredited institution of higher education, which includes the core and clinical curriculum of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) (Western's program is CACREP approved). At least 42 of the graduate credits must be an earned a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a major deemed to be in professional counseling by NBCC.
  • Acquisition of three thousand (3000) hours of post graduate degree supervised experience in professional counseling performed over a period of not less than one year, that included a minimum of one hundred (100) hours of direct supervision by a Connecticut licensed mental health professional.
  • Successful completion of the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) (Western offers a special administration of the NCE upon graduation).

The National Board for Certified Counselors
The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is an independent, non-for-profit organization whose primary purposes are to establish and monitor a national certification system, to identify to professionals and the public those counselors who have voluntarily sought and obtained generic counselor certification, and to maintain a registry of these counselors. This process grants recognition to counselors who have met predetermined NBCC standards in their training, experience, and performance on the National Counselor Examination. A counselor who is certified by the NBCC uses the designation NCC, National Certified Counselor.


  1. Graduate degree in counseling or a closely related field from a regionally accredited university.
  2. At least two years post?masters professional counseling experience. (This requirement is waived for graduates of a CACREP?Approved Program.)
  3. A documented supervised counseling experience.
  4. Assessment of counseling experience by two professionals in the field.
  5. Many states administer the National Counselor Examination as a component within their respective licensure processes.

NCC's are certified for a period of five years. In order to be recertified at the conclusion of the five-year cycle the counselor must:

  • Demonstrate completion of 100 contact clock hours of approved continuing education or re-examination.
  • Adhere to the NBCC Code of Ethics in professional practice.

Western Connecticut State University offers a special administration of the NCE once in the spring and once in the fall, on campus. This special administration is open to students enrolled in the 48 credit CACREP master's degree who graduate either the semester they get their degree, or the semester right after they have earned their degree. This enables students to be Nationally Certified Counselors at the same time they are earning their master's of science degree in Counselor Education. The NCE is also one of the requirements for licensure in Connecticut.

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