How to Become a Certified Counselor

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Counselors are professionals with professional certifications. They specialize in helping people deal with difficult situations in their lives. Jobs are most prevalent in hospitals, schools and criminal justice areas such as social workers and patient advocates. While requirements vary from state to state, there are some basics.

Become a Certified Counselor

Research the position and the requirements of the job. Understand the role.

Consult with the National Board of Counseling Certification (NBCC) Web site for information about each state's licensing requirements.

Research the school. Be sure the school you decide to attend meets the licensing requirements for your state. All counselor certifications have some level of education required for approval.

Research the specific area of interest. Some specializations may require additional education requirements. For instance, the National Board of Counseling Certification also gives a special exam for mental health counselors called the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination.

Obtain a bachelor's degree with a certified program. Taking a program which has been approved by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs can reduce the amount of work needed to achieve licensing. A bachelor's degree is required as the basis for a career in counseling. Try to obtain undergraduate experience in psychology.

Obtain one to three years of supervised work experience after graduation.

Apply for a license. California is the only state that does not require a license to practice. Send an application and fee. Each state has its own forms.