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The following is a brief overview of CCPA’s Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) certification. There is also a  summary table available at the bottom of this webpage that provides a brief overview of all the requirements.

Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to submit the required documents for certification. CCPA will not be contacting third parties in order to obtain the documents needed to review certification applications. All forms must be completed in-full to be considered toward certification.

CCPA Professional Membership

Applicants must be a CCPA member prior to applying for certification. If the applicant is a Student Member of CCPA, they must upgrade to Professional Membership before the application for certification is sent out for evaluation by the Registrar.

Graduate-level degree in counselling

Applicants must hold a Masters or Ph.D-level degree based on a coherent program* in counselling or a related professional field.

*A coherent program of study comprises a conceptually consistent set of courses that covers foundation knowledge and skills for effective counselling completed in a developmentally appropriate sequence.

Graduates from a Canadian university must complete their studies from an institution that is governmentally recognized as a degree-granting institution at the Masters level or above.

Graduates from an American university must complete their studies from a Regionally Accredited institution. To provide proof of this accreditation, the applicant must supply the page of Regional Accreditation (including date the institution was first accredited, and its current accreditation status) from one of the seven Regional Accrediting bodies. Please find additional information and requirements here: https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/students/graduate-programs/united-states-graduate-programs/.

Graduates from an international institution (outside of Canada or the United States) are required to demonstrate that their degree is equivalent to a Masters degree or Ph. D degree in Canada through a comprehensive course-by-course third-party credential evaluator recognized by the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (http://www.cicic.ca/415/credential-assessment-services.canada) such as World Education Services (WES) or International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES). Applicants must obtain a post-secondary course-by-course comprehensive report as opposed to a general assessment report (http://www.wes.org/ca/licensing/evalreports.asp). The WES or ICES Report must evaluate international credentials at the Masters degree or Ph.D degree level in order to be considered for use toward the CCC certification process. An official transcript and official course descriptions must be submitted in addition to a comprehensive course-by-course credential evaluation. If these documents are not originally in English or French, then they must be professionally translated into English or French.

Masters & Ph.D. - level coursework

Applicants must demonstrate evidence of a minimum of eight (8) graduate-level courses in specific areas of study, from an acceptable institution of study at the Masters degree or Ph.D degree level. Sample course descriptions indicating the required content of the courses can be found here.

The standalone coursework must be in the following areas of study:

  • Counselling Theories,
  • Supervised Counselling Practicum,
  • Counselling and Communication Skills
  • Professional Ethics
  • Four (4) elective courses which meet CCPA’s coursework areas

NOTE: Graduates who conferred their degree prior to September 2012 are not required to have standalone coursework in Counselling and Communication Skills, and Professional Ethics. These applicants must instead have completed the Counselling Theories and Supervised Counselling Practicum courses, and six elective courses.

Direct Practice Experience

All applicants must demonstrate recent and relevant professional counselling experience:

”Counselling is the skilled and principled use of relationship to facilitate self- knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth and the optimal development of personal resources. The overall aim of counsellors is to provide an opportunity for people to work towards living more satisfyingly and resourcefully. Counselling relationships will vary according to need but may be concerned with developmental issues, addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis, developing personal insights and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict or improving relationships with others.”

Please note the distinction between direct client counselling hours and indirect counselling hours, which together total the on-site hours:

Direct client counselling hours: actual clock hours during which you work with clients. Examples: Facilitating or co-facilitating a group, family, or couples session, providing real-time therapy to an individual, couple, family or group, conducting assessment activities, such as clinical interviewing/therapeutic observation as process/engaging in diagnostic techniques.

Indirect client service hours: activities in which you are spending time outside the counselling hour focused on the client. Whether the activity is report writing, preparing process notes, or video/audiotape review, time spent contemplating the client and planning interventions is necessary for a rich learning process. This includes documenting the more quantifiable activities of report-writing, information consultation with other professionals on specific cases, video/audio tape review, and assessment scoring and write-ups.

Applicants demonstrate their direct practice experience through one of two pathways.

Pathway One: Recent Graduates

A minimum of 150 hours of direct client counselling (DCC) are required in a supervised practicum that is listed on the official transcript and overseen by the university as part of the Masters or Ph.D program. Applicants whose graduation date is before September 2013 must only demonstrate 120 hours of direct client counselling. This must be listed on official CCPA CCC Practicum Form(s). University practicum logs will not be accepted in lieu of a CCC Practicum Form.

Professional activities related to direct client counselling that will be accepted for practicum training include:

  • Co-facilitation experiences
  • Single-session counselling and assessment activities
  • Time spent conducting intake and psycho-education activities (though these activities cannot exceed 25% of the total number of direct client counselling hours).
  • It is strongly recommended that at least 20 of the direct client counselling hours are in group settings.

The practicum must be completed under a qualified on-site supervisor; please see the supervisor qualification requirements for further information.

Pathway Two: Work Experience

Pathway Two applicants must demonstrate that they’ve completed a minimum total of 800 hours of direct client counselling (the equivalent of three years of practice) within the last five years from the date of their application. This must be demonstrated on a CCC Work Experience Form, completed in full and signed in attestation by an employer or supervisor who can attest to the listed hours and type of counselling provided. Work place logs will not be accepted in lieu of official CCPA forms. In the case of individuals in private practice, the CCC Work Experience Form must still be signed by a professional at arms-length who can speak to the truth and accuracy of the information being provided; self-attestation by the applicant is not sufficient.

Supervision Requirements

All applicants must demonstrate that a supervisor who satisfies CCPA’s supervision requirements has overseen their work through a supervisory relationship. The nature of the supervision and documentation required is different based on whether the applicant is applying along Pathway One or Pathway Two requirements.

Supervisor Qualifications[1]:

  • Supervisors have a Master’s degree or Ph.D degree in the area of counselling (or related field) in order to be qualified to supervise.
  • Supervisors have expertise in the area of counselling, including conceptual knowledge and practical experience in the field of counselling.
  • Supervisors have a minimum of four years of successful practice in the counselling field, subsequent to earning a Master’s degree or higher in the area of counselling (or related field), prior to taking on a supervisory role.
  • Supervisors belong to CCPA, or another association or college in a related field with a shared scope of practice that has:
    • a Code of Ethics aligned with the ethical principles of CCPA, and
    • a formal complaints procedures accessible to the public.
  • Supervisors must be able to ensure candidates practice in accordance with CCPA’s Code of Ethics.


  • The supervisor is a CCC-S

Characteristics of supervision:

  • Clinical supervision is a required element of certification.
  • Involves regular face-to-face meetings between the candidate and supervisor, typically in periods of approximately one hour each.
  • Supervision is based on content and process of a candidate’s professional counselling experience. Combinations of direct supervision (live observation, co-counselling, review of audio and video recordings, and live supervision, for example, reflecting teams) as well as indirect supervision (written case notes and case consultations) are involved.
  • Supervision is not personal therapy. The purpose of supervision is to facilitate supervisees’ development of counselling competencies, intervention skills, and the ability to conduct counselling cases effectively. The supervisor provides the evaluative dimension of counselling supervision and monitors the quality of the services offered to the client by the candidate.
  • Supervisors must be at “arms length” from the supervisee, as per CCPA Code of Ethics
  • Supervision does not include peer supervision by a person of equivalent qualifications, status and experience, nor does it include current or former family members or others where the personal relationship interferes or makes challenging the establishment of a professional relationship.
  • Supervisors in administrative relationships to the supervisee whose position involves evaluating job performance or assessing case management are not suitable for evaluating the quality of therapy given to a client.
  • “Structured peer group supervision” is an acceptable form of supervision provided that it has the following characteristics:
    • It is comprised of formal and structured supervision, led by a supervisor who satisfies the supervisor qualification requirements.
    • It should be noted in the client’s file.
    • It is not the unstructured discussion of clients; it occurs regularly, rather than on an as-needed basis.

Pathway One: Recent Graduates

These applicants must demonstrate qualified supervision from their on-site practicum supervisor(s). CCPA strongly encourages that all practicum placements are overseen for their entirety by a supervisor who satisfies the supervisor qualification requirements.

However, in cases where a fully-qualified supervisor is not available for the entirety of the practicum placement, only a minimum of 1/3 of the total client counselling hours must be overseen by a supervisor who satisfies all of the qualification requirements. The remaining practicum hours must be overseen by an on-site supervisor who holds a Masters or Ph.D degree in counselling, and EITHER four years or more of post-Masters counselling experience, OR membership in a counselling-related professional association.

Pathway Two: Work Experience

These applicants must provide at least one Reference Form from a qualified supervisor who oversaw their work within the past ten years.

[1] If qualified supervision is not available, the Registrar may consider the following alternative supervision arrangement to supplement the supervision provided to the practicum student:

“Supervision of Supervision”: The supervisory relationship can be overseen by a senior supervisor if an applicant’s direct supervisor is lacking EITHER the required amount of professional experience OR appropriate membership(s)/designation(s). The senior supervisor must have a formal supervisory arrangement with the applicant’s direct supervisor, and must meet all qualification requirements.


Applicants must provide two (2) CCC Reference Forms from practitioners who met all of the following criteria during the time period being reported in the reference for the applicant:

  • Hold a Masters degree or Ph.D degree in counselling and is a counsellor, counsellor-educator, or counselling supervisor,
  • Hold a counselling-related degree with shared scope of practice (such as Masters of Social Work, or Masters of Clinical Psychology),
  • Able to speak to the applicant’s clinical competencies,
  • Able to evaluate the applicant’s skills from within the past ten years, or since the time of graduate studies.

NOTE: At least one of the CCC Reference Forms must be provided by a supervisor who meets CCPA’s supervisor qualification requirements.

Vulnerable Sector Police Record Check

All applicants must demonstrate that they do not hold a criminal record, including with the vulnerable populations. Each applicant must submit a vulnerable sector police record check as a hard-copy, original document issued by the police within the past 12 months. This document must be mailed to CCPA. Electronic copies, faxed, scanned, or photocopied versions of the check will not be accepted toward certification.

Please have the vulnerable sector criminal record check conducted at your local police station. This may require a letter or official form from CCPA requesting the vulnerable sector check be conducted. If this is the case for you, please email [email protected] and we would be happy to provide you with the necessary document. Depending on the jurisdiction, fingerprinting may be required in order to obtain a vulnerable sector check. Vulnerable sector police record checks performed for CCPA’s purposes would be classified as “Employment” or “Other: Professional designation with CCPA”, not “Volunteer”.

Applicants applying from the USA should request a comprehensive FBI check with fingerprinting results. International applicants (outside of Canada and the USA) must show that any criminal record check sent to CCPA does include a vulnerable sector check. If this is not explicitly stated on the check itself, the issuing police department must provide a letter confirming that the vulnerable sector check is comprehensive and does include a check specific to the vulnerable sector in order for the check to be accepted by CCPA. All vulnerable sector checks must be submitted in English or French, or they must be professionally translated into English or French.

If an applicant holds a criminal record, their CCPA membership and eligibility for certification must be reviewed by CCPA’s Ethics Committee as per the Ethics Declaration section of the membership application. This must occur before they can apply for certification.

Please consult the Certification Application procedure webpage for detailed information on the required documentation and application procedures for certification.

Summary of Requirements for CCPA Certification

 Pathway One: Recent Graduates

Applying within five years from the date of Masters or Ph.D degree conferral

Pathway Two: Experienced Practitioners

Applying five years after their date of Masters or Ph.D degree conferral.

DegreeA Masters or Ph.D degree based on a coherent program in counselling or a related professional field, from a Canadian institution that is governmentally recognized as a degree-granting institution at the
Masters degree or Ph.D degree based on a coherent program in counselling or a related professional field or from a Regionally Accredited institution in the U.S.A. OR an international graduate degree determined to be equivalent to a Canadian Masters degree or Ph.D degree by a comprehensive, course-by-course, third-party evaluation from WES or ICES.
CourseworkEIGHT graduate- level courses in:

  • counselling theories,
  • practicum,
  • counselling skills,
  • professional ethics, and
  • FOUR additional elective courses which align with CCPA’s 12 coursework areas.

Applicants who graduated prior to September 2012 need not have completed the skills and professionalethics courses, but must have 6 elective courses.

Direct Practice:
Practicum Form OR Work Experience Form
Supervised counselling practicum with at least 150 hours of direct client counselling (graduates prior to September 2013 must instead have 120 hours).

Applicants who don’t have the minimum number of required hours may be eligible for the C.C.C-Qualifying title if they have a minimum of 75 hours under appropriate supervision.

At least 800 hours of direct client counselling within the last five years.

Applicants who don’t have the minimum number of required hours of work experience may be eligible for the C.C.C- Qualifying title.

Supervisor Qualifications

In some cases, supplemental supervisory arrangements may be considered.


Please see the Supervision section above for a description of the characteristics of a supervisory relationship, and the qualification requirements for a supervisor.

Practicum placements should be overseen for their entirety by an on-site supervisor who satisfies all of CCPA requirements for supervision.

Please see the Supervision section above for a description of the characteristics of a supervisory relationship, and the qualification requirements for a supervisor.

At least one Reference Form must be received from a supervisor who satisfies the CCPA requirements and can attest to the applicant’s skills within the last ten years (or since the beginning of the Master’s in Counselling whichever is more recent).

ReferencesTwo (2) CCC Reference Forms provided by graduate-level counsellors, counsellor- educators, or counselling supervisors.Two (2) CCC Reference Forms; one of the CCC Reference Forms must be from a qualified supervisor as per supervision requirements above.
Vulnerable Sector Police Record CheckAn original, hard-copy vulnerable sector police record check, issued by police within the past 12 months must be mailed to CCPA. Electronic copies, photocopies, scans, or faxed copies will not be accepted.