Demystifying Clock Hour Continuing Education Requirements for Career Development Certifications and Credentials

by Janet E. Wall
(NBCC Continuing Education Provider #6529)

There are several career development related certifications and credentials available to practitioners.  The credentials are established to ensure that career counselors/coaches/specialists posses the knowledge and expertise recognized as important by professional and trade organizations. This knowledge is shown by earning a specific degree, successfully completing specific coursework or a training program, passing a test, or through the accumulation of relevant experience and learning opportunities.

Many certifications and credentials require continued learning in order to maintain the credential year after year. This continued learning is validated through participating of a specified number of hours of learning time, often called continuing education clock hours or Continuing Education Units (CEU). Each certification or credential has its own requirements as to the content of the learning and the amount of time spent learning. 

This article serves as a starting point to unravel the often confusing web of how CEUs and continuing education clock hour requirements are involved with these certifications. This article describes some of the major certification/credentials and how CEUs are used to attain the certification/credential and to maintain it. A summary chart at the end of this article attempts to organize the requirements at a glance.  Certificate or credential holders need to be aware that there are many complexities involved, so it is best to be aware of the detailed requirements.

What is a CEU?

CEUs are continuing education units or units of professional development. CEUs are required by professional and trade associations for their certifications and credentials. For most career development and counseling organizations, a CEU is the equivalent of 10 hours of continuing education. So 1 CEU = 10 clock hours of learning and professional development.  Most organizations state the continuing education expectations for their credentials in clock hours, not CEUs. This adds to the confusion. A clock hour is a full hour of learning without breaks.

There are two ways clock hours are used with credentials and certifications – first, as documentation or proof of existing and competency or skills that one possesses in order to be awarded the initial certification. Second, once you have earned the certification, nearly all organizations require some number of hours of continued learning with documentation of the number of clock hours to maintain or renew the certification. The number of clock hours varies by organization and credential as do the content requirements.

 It should be noted that it is the responsibility of the individual certificate holder to determine if his or her licensing, credentialing, or certification board will accept any specific continuing education clock hours.  It is essential to visit the website of these organizations review the details and assure that the information and expectation are up-to-date.

The remainder of this article provides an overview of the continuing education requirements for several important certifications and credentials in our field. It is organized by the credentialing organization and then by the career development certification or credential offered by the organization. A chart at the end of this article attempts to summarize the requirements.

Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE)

The center has the responsibility for the following important career development credentials, Global Career Development Facilitator, Board Certified Coach, and Distance Credentialed Counselor. 

Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF). To obtain this credential, you need to complete a 120 hour program offered by a number of different vendors. Once you obtain the GCDF credential, it is valid for five years as long as you follow CCE’s policies and procedures including payment of an annual fee. Recertification after five years requires 75 documented clock hours in that time period related to the 12 GCDF competencies including:

  • Helping Skills
  • Labor Market Information and Resources
  • Assessment
  • Diverse Populations
  • Ethical and Legal Issues
  • Career Development Models
  • Employability Skills
  • Training Clients and Peers
  • Program Management/Implementation
  • Promotion and Public Relations
  • Technology
  • Consultation

Board Certified Coach (BCC). If you have obtained the certification from the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE) called the Board Certified Coach, you must obtain and document 70 hours of continuing education related to the BCC competencies every 5 years. Further, if you hold the career development specialty designation, CCE requires that 10 of your 70 hours must be taken in this specialty area. Career development is one of the specialty areas.

CCE suggests that when deciding to obtain your continuing education that you consider the following questions:

  • Does the content of the activity fall into one or more of the six BCC competencies?
  • Is the activity geared to coaching?
  • Does the activity enhance my role as a coach?
  • Am I able to interact with the instructor/facilitator during or after the session?
  • Will the activity be completed during my current five-year certification period?
  • Does the instructor/facilitator have formal education, expertise or credentialing in the relevant BCC competency areas?
    • Screening and orientation in coaching
    • Fundamental coaching skills
    • Assessments in coaching
    • Coaching approaches for individuals
    • Coaching approaches for businesses and organizations
    • Ethical and professional practice in coaching

More on the continuing education requirements can be found here.

Distance Credentialed Counselor. A master degree in counseling and successful completion of a distance counseling program is a requirement for obtaining the credential. It must be renewed every five years. To recertify for this credential, obtaining 20 hours of documented continuing education is necessary. Fifteen of those hours can be in a counseling or related mental health field area including career development. A minimum of five hours must be focused on distance counseling. Find more information here

National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

National Certified Counselor (NCC). The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) offers the National Certified Counselor (NCC), the largest certification in the world, and three specialty certifications in addictions, clinical mental health and school counseling. Several activities qualify for continuing education clock hours to recertify, as long as the activity relates to an approved content which includes career development.

According the NBCC manual, continuing education programs in the career development content area provide an advanced understanding of career counseling, development and related life factors. Some example topics “include, but are not limited to, theories, principles and techniques of counseling as applied to work and career; career counseling processes and resources, including those applicable to specific communities and populations; career/life planning and decision-making models; life-work role transitions, including outplacement and retirement counseling; career development program planning, resources and program evaluation; assessment of workplace environment for purposes of job placement; trends in job search; and career avocational, educational, occupational and labor market information, and resources and career information systems”.

To recertify, an individual must obtain 100 continuing education clock hours every 5 years. Helpful information can be found here

National Certified School Counselor (NCSC). School Counseling is one of the specialty certifications of the NCC. To recertify, a portion of the continuing education clock hours must directly relate to the following content areas:

  • Appraisal of individuals
  • Group counseling
  • Cultural diversity in counseling
  • Career development
  • Fundamentals of school counseling
  • Supervised school counseling practicum

To add to the complexity and confusion each state has its own requirements for recertification. Nearly all states accept continuing education clock hours by an NBCC approved continuing education provider. Helpful websites include and to obtain some initial information.

Some programs, including career development, can count for dual certification of the NCC and BCC. This document might be helpful to sort out the requirements. Career development is part of both certifications.

State Counseling License Boards

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). State licensure is permission from a particular state government to practice counselor or identify oneself as a licensed counselor. Every state has regulations concerning the standards and practice requirements for professional counselors that include counselor preparation and education, examinations, ethical codes, and continuing education requirements.  If a professional counselor wishes to practice counseling in a particular state, they must be licensed by the appropriate board in that state.  The rules and requirements vary from state to state.  Currently, there is no national standard for professional counselor licensing.  In fact, the name of the licensure can vary from LPC as some states use LMHC, LCPC, and other variations.

As of this writing, all but one state currently accepts NBCC approved clock hours for recertification or license renewals. Because states may change their requirements, it is best to know the laws and expectations for your state. The following link may be helpful to clarify the requirements.

National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP)

Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP). This organization offers the Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP) credential. Certification is carried out for everyone working in the field of labor development, studying the effect of the medicine cialis 5 mg on a man and supports the efforts of job seekers or local employers. This includes professionals who work at local workforce organizations, job corps centers, staffing agencies, community colleges, offender re-entry programs, veteran services organizations, and private career counselors.

To earn the CWDP credential, an individual must submit a portfolio of information for evaluation showing sufficient competency and experience in the NAWDP competencies. The credential must be renewed every three years to remain valid. Documentation must show a minimum 60 hours of professional development in the past three years linked to the CWDP competency areas. Which include:

  • Business and Economic Development Intelligence
  • Career Development Principles
  • Collaboration and Problem Solving
  • Customer Service Methodology
  • Diversity in Workforce Development
  • Labor Market Information and Intelligence
  • Principles of Communication
  • Program Implementation Principles and Strategies
  • Workforce Development Structure, Policies and Programs

For individuals possessing the CDWP, there is an opportunity to earn special endorsements in the Job Seeker Service, Business & Employer Services, Management Services or Youth Services areas.  The endorsement verifies the possession of a specialized skill. To renew the endorsement, 20 hours of continuing education must relate to the endorsement area competencies.

More detail on the NAWDP competencies can be found at  There is a helpful video explaining what you must do to apply for the credential.  To learn more about the endorsements use this link

Commission of Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CCRC)

The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) supports and manages several relevant certifications for counselors such as the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), and the Canadian Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CCRC); and, for vocational assessment professionals including Certified Vocational Evaluators (CVE),  Certified Work Adjustment Specialists (CWA), Certified Career Assessment Associates (CCAA) so that they can improve their knowledge and skills resulting in enhanced services.

Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC) and Canadian Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CCRC). To maintain certification, CRCs and CCRSs must renew their certification every 5 years through 100 hours of continuing education, 10 of which should be in ethics. This continuing education must be related to the CCRC domains including:

  • Ethical Standards and Practices in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Professional Orientation
  • Counseling Theories, Techniques, and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Group and Family Counseling
  • Crisis and Trauma Counseling and Interventions
  • Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Illness and Disability
  • Assessment, Occupational Analysis, and Service Implementation
  • Career Development and Job Placement
  • Demand-Side Employer Engagement
  • Community Resources and Partnerships
  • Case Management
  • Health Care and Disability Management
  • Research, Methodology, and Performance Management

Many of these areas reflect and include career development topics. Additional requirements can be found in this resource.

Certified Vocational Evaluators (CVE), Certified Work Adjustment Specialists (CWA), and the Certified Career Assessment Associate (CCAA).  For renewal, these certifications require 80 hours of continuing education every five years in the following domain areas:

  • Principles of Vocational Evaluation
  • Standardized Assessment
  • Occupational Information
  • Implications of Disability
  • Professional Communication
  • Professional Development

More details on these certifications can be found in this resource.

International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG)

The International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG) established a set of competencies that practitioners across the globe require in order to provide quality educational and vocational guidance services. 

Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner (EVGP).  Individuals who can show their competency levels and along with education and experience are eligible to receive the EVGP certification. Applicants can show their competency through training related to the competencies below. The certificate is managed by the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE).  More detailed information on obtaining the credential can be found here.

The competencies are in two categories – Core and Specialized. The core competencies reflect the minimum knowledge and skill levels for the certification.  The core competencies include:

  • Demonstrate ethical behavior and professional conduct in the fulfillment of roles and responsibilities
  • Demonstrate advocacy and leadership in advancing clients’ learning, career development and personal concerns
  • Demonstrate awareness and appreciation of clients’ cultural differences to interact effectively with all populations
  • Integrate theory and research into practice in guidance, career development, counselling, and consultation
  • Skills to design, implement and evaluate guidance and counselling programs and interventions
  • Demonstrate awareness of his/her own capacity and limitations
  • Ability to communicate effectively with colleagues or clients, using the appropriate level of language
  • Knowledge of updated information on educational, training, employment trends, labor market, and social issues
  • Social and cross-cultural sensitiveness
  • Skills to cooperate effectively in a team of professionals
  • Demonstrate knowledge of lifelong career development process

Applicants who wish to demonstrate competence in the specialized areas need to show extensive training and/or professional experience in one or more of the specialized areas. The specialized competencies are:

  • Assessment
  • Educational Guidance
  • Career Development
  • Counselling
  • Information Management
  • Consultation and Coordination
  • Research and Evaluation
  • Program/Service Management
  • Community Capacity Building
  • Placement

To obtain the credential, applicants must have documented training in the EVGP competency areas. Documentation must be in the form of a recognized certificate of attendance, transcript from college, university or other recognized training institute, etc. The certificate is good for three years and renewal requires 30 clock hours of continuing education in the EVGP competency areas. 

National Career Development Association (NCDA)

The National Career Development Association Credentialing Commission (NCDA-CC) launched several competency based certifications for individuals serving in a variety of roles in the field of career development/services. These Include:

Certified Career Services Provider™ (CCSP)
Certified Career Counselor ™ (CCC) 
Certified Master of Career Services™ (CMCS)
Certified Career Counselor Educator™ (CCCE) 
Certified Clinical Supervisor of Career Counseling™ (CCSCC)
Certified School Career Development Advisor (CSCDA) (coming soon)

To earn a certification, a candidate must submit a completed application, support documentation and professional references, which then leads to a formal administrative review of the applicant’s background (which can include education, training, work experience, continuing education, supervision, etc.). Once the administrative review is successfully completed, the process then continues with four scenarios* which require the applicant’s written response (2-5 paragraphs/short essay). The written responses are then scored via rubric and “blind review” by trained individuals who currently hold the specific credential.

Candidates for a credential must document knowledge and experience in specific career development topics, competencies, and domains. Competency can be shown through proof of continuing education clock hours from accepted entities such as NBCC approved continuing education providers, NCDA, and state career development associations.

To recertify for the CCSP, CMCS, CCC or the CCCE a person must obtain 30 clock hours of continuing education every three years. Thirty clock hours in career development and/or clinical supervision are required. Continuing education by NBCC approved continuing education providers is accepted for the recertification and initial certification. The requirements for the CSCDA are not yet established.

More information can be found here

Career Directors International (CDI)

This trade organization has several credentials largely in resume writing. The one most relevant to the career development profession includes:

Master Career Director Credential (MCD).  In order to obtain the initial certification you must submit a portfolio of demonstrated experiences and activities to include degrees or related certifications, industry longevity, evidence of community and industry outreach, writings (such as books, blogs, resumes) and testimonials. In addition, a person seeking this credential must show 36 hours of documented continuing education much of which would be centered in the career development field. These requirements need to maintained and documented every three years if the certification is to be maintained. Note that CDI calls the hours of continuing education and responsibility to be tracked CEUs, unlike the more typical definition listed earlier in this paper. More information can be located here:

 Career Thought Leader Consortium (CTL)

CTL offers many certifications. The certification most pertinent to the career development field that also requires recertification is the Certified Career Manager (CCM).

 Credentialed Career Manager (CCM). This certification is for professionals who work across all sectors of the careers community, including, but not limited to, those engaged in delivering career, job-search, and employment services. Continuing professional development can be used to obtain the initial credential. To renew the certification one must provide evidence of publications, public speaking, volunteerism, pro bono work, and reading relevant books. As part of the renewal package, the applicant must also have completed 30 CEUs every 2 years.

It should be noted that CTL defines its continuing education requirements in CEUs, not clock hours. So the organization’s documentation states CCMs need 30 CEUs for recertification.  In practice, CCMs must accrue 30 clock hours of continuing education. To learn more about the credential use this resource.

The chart to follow attempts to summarize the requirements related to continuing education clock hours for various important certifications and credentials.

Clock Hour Certification/Recertification Summary Chart

Organization Certification or Credential Clock Hours Used to Obtain Credential? Clock Hours Used to Maintain or Renew Credential?
Center for Credentialing in Education (CCE)
Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF)
75 documented clock hours every 5 years
Board Certified Coach (BCC)
70 documented clock hours every 5 years; 10 in your specialty area
Distance Certified Coach (DCC)
20 documented clock hours every 5 years
National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
National Certified Counselor (NCC)
100 documented clock hours every 5 years
National Certified School Counselor (NCSC)
100 documented clock hours every 5 years
National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP)
Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP)
Specialized Endorsements in Job Seeker Service, Business & Employer Services, Management Services or Youth Services


60 documented clock hours every 3 years
20 clock hours related to the endorsement area’s specialized competencies every 3 years
Commission of Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and Canadian Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CCRC)
100 documented clock hours every 5 years
Certified Vocational Evaluators (CVE)
80 documented clock hours every 5 years
Certified Work Adjustment Specialists (CWA)
80 documented clock hours every 5 years
Certified Career Assessment Associate (CCAA)
80 documented clock hours every 5 years
International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG)
Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner (EVGP)
Yes, as proof of competency
30 clock hours every 3 years
National Career Development Association Credentialing Commission (NCDA-CC)
Certified Career Services Provider™ (CCSP)
Yes, as proof of competency
30 documented clock hours every 3 years of NBCC, NCDA, or State CDA training
Certified Career Counselor ™ (CCC) 
Yes, as proof of competency
30 documented clock hours every 3 years of NBCC, NCDA, or State CDA training
Certified Master of Career Services™ (CMCS)
Yes, as proof of competency
30 documented clock hours every 3 years of NBCC, NCDA, or State CDA training
Certified Career Counselor Educator™ (CCCE)
Yes, as proof of competency
30 documented clock hours every 3 years of NBCC, NCDA, or State CDA training
Certified Clinical Supervisor of Career Counseling™ (CCSCC)
Yes, as proof of competency
30 documented clock hours every 3 years of NBCC, NCDA, or State CDA training
Certified School Career Development Advisor (CSCDA) (coming soon)
Career Directors International (CDI)
Master Career Director Credential (MCDC)
36 hours of documented continuing education
36 CEUs (36 hours of documented continuing education) every 3 years
Career Thought Leader Consortium (CTL)
Credentialed Career Manager (CCM).
Yes, as proof of competency
30 CEUs (30 documented clock hours) every 2 years
State Counseling License
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) (name varies)
Check state requirements.


Yes, despite the attempt at clarification the role of clock hours for certification and recertification can still be confusing.  Here are some tips that can help you follow a less frustrating and more direct path for using continuing education clock hours for your certification and recertification.

Tips for a Successful Recertification

  1. Remember that in general 1 CEU=10 clock hours of learning.
  2. Be sure the learning is related to the certification’s competencies.
  3. Check to see that the continuing education provider is legitimate and authorized to offer CEU clock hours.
  4. Be sure the presenter/teacher/trainer possesses the qualifications necessary to teach the content of your continuing education.
  5. Obtain specific documentation, such as a signed certificate, verifying that you successfully completed the learning.
  6. Submit the requirements in plenty of time for the organization to review your submission and grant the recertification.
  7. Be sure to pay your annual fee, if required.
  8. Check the requirements for a lapsed certification or credential.
  9. It is your responsibility to be familiar with the specific requirements of the organization offering your credential/certification, not the continuing education provider or the credentialing organization.

About the Author.  Dr. Janet Wall, is an award winning career development professional residing in in Arlington, Virginia. She is committed to the continuing education of all career counselors, coaches and specialists by providing online, self-paced courses, webinars, and recorded webinars through

She was the developer of the ASVAB Career Exploration Program for the Department of Defense, author of several books, blogs, and online courses, and has been named a Fellow of the National Career Development Association. She is co-author of the Ability Explorer published by JIST.