Ethics Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are already a National Certified Counselor or if you are applying for national certification, you are required to make certain disclosures.
  • Prior criminal felony, misdemeanor, and other criminal convictions.
  • Current and pending criminal felony, misdemeanor, and other charges, including complaints and indictments.
  • State Court matters where the candidate or certificant was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or controlled substances within ten (10) years prior to the date of their initial certification application or certification maintenance application.
  • Government agency and professional organization conduct or other complaint matters relating to the candidate/certificant, including disciplinary and complaint matters, within ten (10) years prior to the date of their initial certification application or certification maintenance application.
  • Legal matters related to the candidate’s/certificant’s business or professional activities, including civil complaints and lawsuits.

For applicants:

  • Disclosures must be made at the time of application
  • Following submission of the application, you are required to notify NBCC in writing of any additional matters by submitting the appropriate disclosure cover sheet and required documents

For National Certified Counselors:

  • Disclosures must be submitted in writing within 60 days of your knowledge of the charge or complaint even if the matter is ongoing

Carefully review the Ethics Disclosure Packet instructions and complete the appropriate packet. Be sure to include all required documentation in your submission. Completed packets can be submitted via one of the following methods:

  • Email:
  • Postal Mail: NBCC Ethics Department, 3 Terrace Way, Greensboro, NC 27403
  • Fax: (336) 217-4287

You are encouraged to retain a copy of your packet for your records. During the review of your disclosure packet, the Ethics Department may contact you for additional information. You will be notified via the email and/or the postal mailing address listed in your Credentialing Gateway account once the review is complete.

Yes. Upon receipt of your submission, you will receive an email from us. Once your review is complete, you will be notified via email and/or postal mail. All communications will be sent to the contact information listed in your Credentialing Gateway account.

Submissions are reviewed in the order they were received. Submitting a complete and accurate packet and responding to additional information inquiries from us will help expedite the review process. Failure to provide all required documents may cause delays.

Response times depend on the volume of submissions at the time of receipt. You are highly encouraged to respond as quickly as possible with all requested documentation. Average response time is 6–8 weeks from submission of all required documents.

By submitting your application and payment, you are automatically considered for the first available examination administration. However, in order to sit for the examination, your ethics review must be complete. Submitting a complete and accurate packet will help expedite the review process, as failure to provide all required documents will cause delays.

If the review process is not complete by the time test sites are arranged, you will automatically be registered for the next examination administration date, assuming you are eligible.

Although individuals can choose to register for an examination as part of the certification application process, there is no application specific to the examination itself. The examination is one of the requirements of the national certification application.

It depends. Please refer to the Certification Eligibility Policy for additional information regarding your specific circumstance.

If you are or were the subject of criminal and/or other offense matters, you will need to disclose such matters, unless otherwise instructed by NBCC.

*Please note: You must disclose pending matters.

You are required to disclose any of the required disclosure matters within 60 days of your awareness of the charge or complaint even if the matter has not reached its conclusion in the legal system or reviewing organization.

No. Once your submission has been reviewed, you will be notified via the email and/or postal mailing address listed in your Credentialing Gateway account.

No. The NBCC Ethics Department serves as a reviewing entity for complaints and disclosures. We do not provide guidance for ethical dilemmas. We encourage you to review the NBCC Code of Ethics and the ethical guidelines of your state licensure board.

If you have concerns about a certificant or applicant, contact the Ethics Department at Try to provide as much identifying information as possible, including the counselor’s name, location (city and state), and NBCC identification number.

Please submit any questions not addressed either in the communications provided by the Ethics Department or this FAQ in a single email to

Here are some important reminders when creating an email:

  • Be as specific as possible.
  • If you are referring to a disclosure, use the assigned ethics case file number, if you have it. This number is located on any correspondence that you receive from the Ethics Department.
  • Include your complete name and NBCC identification number (if applicable).
  • Communications regarding the status of your review cannot be provided.
A complaint can be filed against any person certified by NBCC and Affiliates and/or applying for certification(s).
Documents such as government agency complaints or decisions, court complaints or decisions, and other public documents or materials may be submitted in support of an Ethics Complaint Statement or may serve as the basis of an ethics inquiry initiated by NBCC.
The complaint review time will vary and depends on the nature of the complaint and supporting documentation. All complaints must follow due process and are not resolved immediately.
Within 30 days of the mailing date of a complaint rejection letter, the complainant may appeal the rejection of the Ethics Complaint Statement to the NBCC President and CEO. In order to have the NBCC President and CEO consider this appeal, a complainant must state in writing the following: (a) the procedural errors possibly made by the NBCC Director of Ethics with respect to the complaint rejection, if any; (b) the specific provisions of the Code of Ethics believed violated; and (c) the specific information to support the acceptance of the complaint(s). The NBCC President and CEO will consider any complaint rejection and issue a final decision, which cannot be appealed.

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