Certification—The process by which an agency or association grants recognition to a person who has met predetermined qualifications specified by that agency or association.
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)—An independent agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to accredit master’s degree programs in addiction counseling; career counseling; clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; school counseling; student affairs and college counseling; and doctoral degree programs in counselor education and supervision. It is the counseling equivalent of the Council on Social Work Education, the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Direct Client Contact—Interaction with clients that includes the application of counseling, consultation, or human development skills. In the context of field experience, the term is used to refer to time spent by practicum or internship students working directly with clients.
Internship—A distinctly defined, post-practicum, supervised “capstone” clinical experience in which the student refines and enhances basic counseling or student development knowledge and skills, and integrates and authenticates professional knowledge and skills appropriate to the student’s program and initial postgraduate professional placement.
Licensure—The process by which a state agency or government grants permission to an individual to engage in a given profession and to use the designated title of that profession after the applicant has attained the minimal degree of competency necessary to ensure that the public health, safety, and welfare are reasonably well-protected.
National Certified Counselor (NCC)—A voluntary professional credential. It is not required for practice, but it attests to an individual’s commitment to the importance of a national credentialing standard developed for counselors by counselors. Currently, more than 80,000 professionals hold the NCC credential. Applying for the NCC credential involves an application process independent of the state credentialing processes. When students apply for national certification, they do not automatically become state-credentialed, and when they become state-credentialed, they are not automatically considered an NCC.
Practicum—A distinctly defined, supervised clinical experience in which the student develops basic counseling skills and integrates professional knowledge. The practicum is completed prior to internship.
Professional Clinical Counselor—In some states (for instance, Ohio), this license is an independent license. People with this license are able to independently practice therapy, independently diagnose mental conditions, and provide supervision.
Professional Counselor—A counselor who has received a master’s degree or higher from an entry-level program in counselor education matching the standards outlined by CACREP. A professional counselor remains active in the counseling profession by participating in professional development and seeking appropriate licensure and certification.
Site Supervisor—A qualified individual within a setting who is responsible for supervising a student’s work at that setting.
Standard—A minimal criterion that must be met.
Supervision—A tutorial and mentoring form of instruction in which a supervisor monitors a student’s activities in practicum and internship and facilitates the associated learning and skill development experiences. The supervisor monitors and evaluates the clinical work of the student while monitoring the quality of services offered to clients.