NCDA Launches New Credentialing Initiative

By Constance J. Pritchard and Marilyn Maze

[Eds. Note: The following article was published in August 2016 and serves as a historical base for the development of the NCDA credential. Please see the Credentialing webpages for the most up-to-date information.]

For many years, the National Career Development Association (NCDA) members and the public at large have asked for clarification among the differences between the wide varieties of career services practitioners.  NCDA’s Board of Directors has long reflected on the need for industry credentials for its members and first attempted to explain these differences through the Membership Designations Program. The feedback has been clear that this program did not go far enough in addressing the educational and experience levels of its members. The NCDA Board, therefore, has created an independent Credentialing Organizing Committee to research the viability and plan for the establishment of a credentialing entity to address the need for certification and accreditation for the career development field. The initiative is being led by an Organizing Committee of the Career Services Credentialing and Accreditation Board™ (CSCAB). [Eds. Note: The following update was received on September 15, 2016: CSCAB will change the word Accreditation to Advancement. The acronym CSCAB is the same: Career Services Credentialing and Advancement Board™.]

Five Initial Credentials

The Organizing Committee began meeting in April, 2016. The Organizing Committee has identified five initial credentials to be implemented across the next year:

The Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP) credential is intended for providers offering career services in an array of roles and settings; such as consultants, coaches, advisors, workforce practitioners, facilitators, trainers, recruiters, and resume writers.

The Certified Master of Career Services (CMCS) is intended for providers with greater tenure and experience in an array of roles and settings in career services; such as consultants, coaches, advisors, workforce practitioners, facilitators, trainers, recruiters, and resume writers. The certification is earned upon the review and approval, by the CSCAB, of a formal portfolio application.

Certified Career Counselor (CCC) credential is intended for a career counselor with an advanced degree (master’s or doctoral level) in counselor education, counseling psychology or closely related counseling degree, engaged primarily in a career counseling practice or other career counseling-related services.

Certified Clinical Supervisor of Career Counseling (CCSCC) credential is intended for individuals who serve as clinical supervisors to career counselors and other practitioners who provide career services.  

Certified Career Counselor Educator (CCCE) is intended for a Counselor Educator or an individual engaged primarily in developing, implementing, and supervising the educational preparation of professional counselors who seek a specialization in career counseling. 

Roll-Out and Evaluation Plans
The plan was announced at the NCDA Career Development Conference in Chicago in July, where much feedback was gathered. During the coming year, the Organizing Committee will operationalize the process for awarding these certifications, beginning with the Certified Career Services Provider. The CSCAB will be incorporated as a separate entity, which works closely with NCDA but is legally separate. We intend to follow the standards outlined by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which define a rigorous evaluation process and requires separation between training and credentialing bodies. In order to efficiently process the above five credentials and others which span the spectrum of career services, the evaluation process will be based on reviewing work samples rather than multiple-choice exams. We anticipate that the entire application, review, and certification process will be completed using the Internet, keeping expenses as low as possible for both the applicant and CSCAB. We also hope to implement state-of-the-art processes for applying for credentials and renewing them, which will ease the burden on professionals who maintain these credentials.

We expect that the CSCAB will be incorporated as a separate entity, fully operational, and providing the first five certifications by October 2017. After that, there are plans to implement additional credentials and accreditations that are needed in our field.

The Organized Committee is chaired by Marilyn Maze. Serving on the committee are Judy Hoppin, Aaron Leson, John Long, Carole Minor, Spencer Niles, Constance Pritchard, and Lisa Severy, who are all NCDA members for anywhere from 6 to 34 years, and NCDA Executive Director Deneen Pennington. Details on the process for qualifying for each of these credentials will be published as information becomes available.

Please watch the NCDA website under Standards for more information.


Pritchard Photo

Constance J. Pritchard, EdD, MCC, is President of The Pritchard Group, founded in 1993, Dr. Pritchard presents workshops and training nationally and internationally on career and organization development topics. Connie currently serves as chair of the NCDA Master Training Workshop Revision Committee, a contributing editor for NCDA’s Career Development Magazine, and a member of NCDA Career Development Credential Advisory Board Organizing Committee. She is also a board member of the Middle Atlantic Career Counseling Association, where she is currently conference co-chair. Previously, Connie served for 6 years on NCDA’s Career Development Facilitator Advisory Council, including co-chair and chair. She is an NCDA Fellow, NCDA Career Development Facilitator, NCDA Career Development Facilitation Instructor, NCDA Master Trainer, and Master Career Counselor. She can be reached at doctor@pritchardgroup.com


Marilyn MazeMarilyn Maze, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Career Development Association. She formerly worked for ACT, Inc., and was one of the developers of the ACTProfile, a computerized career guidance program that includes extensive information about occupations, majors, schools, and other aspects of career planning. She is a researcher with expertise in career development and labor market information. Marilyn has served on the boards of both the Maryland Career Development Association and the Maryland Association for Counseling and Development, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maryland Career Development Association in 2010. She can be reached at mazemd@hotmail.com




Printer-Friendly Version


Ella Tepper Feliciano   on Thursday 08/04/2016 at 11:19 AM

A very informative article! Definitely helpful in understanding this initiative as a new professional in Career Services. Excited to see how this is implemented in the coming year.

Dawn Friedman   on Thursday 08/04/2016 at 11:49 AM

I found this very interesting at the NCDA Conference this summer and look forward to earning the Certified Career Counselor credential!

Elizabeth Craig   on Thursday 08/04/2016 at 02:42 PM

Thank you and Congratulations to the Organizing Committee! The five initial credentials sound terrific. The credentials will be so helpful to NCDA members and the public-at-large who have asked for clarification among the differences between the wide varieties of career services practitioners. I can't wait to earn the Certified Master of Career Services credential!

Chelsea Kaplan   on Thursday 08/04/2016 at 02:43 PM

As a new Career Services professional, I am excited to learn more about these certifications and others that may be available to me. I am looking forward to being a well-rounded, credentialed Career Counselor!

Luis A. Santiago   on Thursday 08/04/2016 at 05:37 PM

Looking forward to have this roll out in the near future. This will be extremely helpful for our profession and for those that we serve.

Melanie Adams   on Thursday 08/04/2016 at 08:30 PM

This is wonderful news. Great job NCDA, I look forward to seeing this roll out over the next year. My organization is very excited to go through the credentialing process.

Emily P.   on Monday 08/15/2016 at 02:44 PM

What will happen to the GCDF?

Constance J. Pritchard   on Monday 08/15/2016 at 02:48 PM

Thank you for these comments and questions. The CCSP credential does not replace the GCDF. Rather it is an additional credential.

Lucinda M. Nobles   on Monday 03/20/2017 at 07:28 PM

This is a wonderful opportunity for professional in this field. We can feel confident that the Credentialing Committee is working proactively to ensure that we have well-respected credentials to earn as our field expands. Greatly appreciate the academic rigeur that Dr. Pritchard and Dr. Maze accomplished to develop and launch these five new credentials.

C. Clark   on Sunday 03/26/2017 at 12:54 AM

When will the Certified Career Counselor credentialing application be available for applying? When you click on the application it will not open up.

Constance J. Pritchard   on Monday 03/27/2017 at 06:44 AM

All the credentials will be available about mid July. If you would like to participate in a pilot release of a credential, please contact me at doctor@pritchardgroup.com and indicate which credential interests you. We are beginning pilots now.

De Jackson   on Monday 03/27/2017 at 10:08 PM

Congratulations NCDA. Always out in front doing great things. Marilyn, I am so happy for you. I am excited about the certifications. Hope to see you next month- MCDA Conference.

Elizabeth Cole LPCC BCC MCC   on Thursday 04/27/2017 at 11:31 AM

I am reading a CDQ article from 2003 (Career coaching: practice, training, professional, and ethical issues) that says this: "we suggest that NCDA formally include career coaching in its policies, guidelines, advocacy, services, and training." I hope NCDA adds a certification for Career Coach that helps bring professionalism to the career coaching industry. Disclaimer: I am a licensed counselor and a Board Certified Coach (BCC).

Constance J. Pritchard   on Thursday 04/27/2017 at 01:05 PM

Hello, Elizabeth, thank you for your comment. You will be pleased to know that the Certified Master of Career Services is designed for professionals working in career services who are not academically trained counselors. Here is the link detailing the CMCS: https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/page_template/show_detail/135695?layout_name=layout_details&model_name=news_article

Each of our 5 initial credentials is attempting to address differently trained and practicing professionals in our field.

We look forward to your continuing interest. cjp

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.