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What’s the difference between membership and certification with CCPA?

Professional Membership with CCPA is available to anyone wishing to join our association with an educational background at any level in counselling. In order to become a member in good standing with CCPA, members must sign up online for Professional or Student Membership, agree to an ethics pledge to abide by the CCPA Code of Ethics, pay annual membership fees, and provide proof of completion of studies in a counselling or counselling related program. This process normally takes 1 – 3 business days for our Membership department to assess and approve.

Certification with CCPA is applying for and being granted the Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) credential by the Registrar of CCPA in addition to holding professional membership with CCPA. The CCC protected title is an additional credential that is only available to Professional Members of CCPA who hold a masters or Ph.D degree in Counselling and each application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Both the masters-level degree in counselling and the counselling coursework taken are evaluated to determine how they align with CCPA requirements. The practicum placement within the masters degree program is assessed, the on-site practicum supervisor’s credentials/ work experience is assessed, 2  clinical references are verified, and a clear and recent vulnerable sector check is required.

How long does it take to apply for certification?

As soon as you apply and are accepted for Professional Membership with CCPA, you can begin submitting documents toward a certification application. Document collection time ranges vary from applicant to applicant, depending on how long it may take to complete and submit all required documents.

Once all documents have been received and processed, the file will then be sent to the Registrar for evaluation. The Registrar’s evaluation takes approximately 8 business weeks. The outcome is sent in the form of an email with detailed information in a PDF attachment. This attachment may be a notification of approval, an approval pending completion of specific requirements or information on the reason for a file being declined.

What do I need to become a certified member?

Graduates from a Canadian institution must complete their graduate studies from an institution that is governmentally recognized as a degree-granting institution. If you completed your graduate training in the United States, CCPA requires that the educational institution be regionally accredited.  Click here for a list of regionally accredited American educational institutions.  Please note that applicants must be a CCPA member prior to applying for certification.

Click here for more information about certification.

If I did my studies outside North America, what do I need / need to do in order to be certified with CCPA?

If you wish to obtain our Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) designation, we require a graduate degree in counselling or related field in which the student completed standalone coursework aligned with CCPA’s coursework requirements; these requirements are typically met in a masters program (but doctorate or graduate certificates may also align with the requirements). Because you graduated from an institution outside North America, you will need to apply for Canadian equivalency through third-party evaluation, for example, WES  or ICES. Once you have completed that, you can apply to our association for certification.

How long will the evaluation of my CCC application take?

The evaluation of your Canadian Certified Counsellor application can take approximately 8 business weeks.

Who decides whether I can be a C.C.C.?

The Registrar of CCPA is a professional counsellor whose role is to manage the certification process and who has the responsibility of evaluating all applications, including credentials, and clinical references submitted for certification. The Registrar’s process includes:

  • ensuring that the applicant holds a Masters or Ph.D degree in counselling or a related professional field from a Canadian institution that is governmentally recognized as a degree-granting institution at the Masters level (or from a Regionally Accredited institution in the United States).
  • evaluating official university transcripts to determine that the graduate degree has the appropriate courses
  • reviewing the supervised practice component to ensure that it meets the standard both for content and supervision.
  • requesting any additional information from applicants before certification can be demonstrated and full adjudication achieved.
  • verifying the authenticity of documents including results of the vulnerable sector police record check and official university documents.
I’ve submitted documents toward my certification file, when will they be processed?

Documents are processed in 1 -3 business days after being received. Any documents that require further information or forms that are incomplete will delay the processing time as follow-ups are required since incomplete files are not processed.

How can I track the receipt and processing of the documents I send in for certification?

To keep track of which documents have been processed by our offices and which documents are still outstanding, please sign in to the Member portal through the CCPA website. Click on My Account -> Membership -> Certification. When you click on the word “Certification” on the Membership page, a pop-up box should appear with a checklist of documents and the dates on which we have received them.

Information I’ve entered into CCPA’s fillable PDF Certification forms isn’t saving, what can I do?

For best use of CCPA’s forms, please open and complete the forms in Adobe as using a browser (such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Fire Fox) or preview (on Apple products) can cause corruption to the forms.

Alternately you can print the form and complete it by hand, and send it to CCPA by scanning it and then emailing it or simply sending it by mail or fax directly.

Does my certification file expire?

Documents submitted toward a certification file are only valid for a 12 month period. The vulnerable sector check is only valid for the purposes of certification within 12 months from the date issued by the police service.

Can I get insurance coverage through CCPA?

The CCPA Insurance Program is available only to Canadian Certified Counsellors (CCC’s) or student members of CCPA. Student members must be enrolled in a recognized masters’ counselling program and acting under the supervision of a qualified counsellor, appointed by the College or the University in order to be eligible. Note that the insurance covers work strictly related to practicums only. Applicants must reside in Canada as well.

Can I apply for certification if my conferral date is scheduled in the future?

Student Members with CCPA may submit some documents in advance of their conferral date from an eligible masters’ program.

For a checklist with information on which document can be submitted before and after degree conferral, please contact the Certification Department at [email protected].

What course components are necessary for a course to be considered as “Counselling and Communication Skills?”
  • The course needs to be part of a Masters degree-level counselling program and taught by a professor with a background in counselling
  • The course textbook, required readings, and course activities should be focused primarily on the development of interpersonal and communication skills that are fundamental to effective counselling practice.
  • The syllabus should identify that each day of your course focused on the study and development of a specific counselling micro-skill
  • The course should include activities that engage students in the live practice of counselling micro-skills.
  • Graded course assignments must include the evaluation of counselling micro-skills taught in the course.
Can I apply for the CCC-Qualifying designation?

No, applicants can only apply for the CCC designation; the CCC-Qualifying designation is offered to applicants by the Registrar following an evaluation of their full certification application. If the applicant is offered the CCC-Qualifying designation, it means that they satisfy all degree, coursework and reference requirements but must accrue a specific amount of post-graduate counselling experience and/or supervision to address the gap in their application. The CCC-Qualifying designation is valid for a one-year period and affords all benefits of the full C.C.C. designation. It can only be renewed at the discretion of the Registrar based on the applicant’s demonstration of diligence accruing the required experience and/or supervision.

I still have a course to finish (like a thesis) before I graduate from my masters degree in counselling. Could I still obtain the “Canadian Certified Counsellor” or the “C.C.C.- Qualifying” designation while I finish this course?

No. The CCC and CCC-Qualifying designations are only available to practitioners who have satisfied all of the education requirements. This includes completing all of the required coursework and having the masters degree in counselling conferred. An applicant’s training is not considered to be complete until they have been awarded their degree.

I’m likely missing a course required for certification. Can I obtain the “C.C.C.-Qualifying” title while I finish this course?

No. The C.C.C.-Qualifying title is only available to practitioners who have satisfied all of the education requirements. This includes completing all of the required coursework and having the Masters degree in counselling conferred. If a required course is missing, the applicant must finish their studies, taking the required coursework for certification as part of their coherent Masters degree in counselling, and confer his or her degree before he or she qualifies for certification.

Why does my supervisor need to hold a membership with a counselling-related professional association of college?

The supervisor requirement for membership in a counselling-related professional association or college ensures that supervisors are accountable for their professional conduct under a code of ethics and standards of practice. This helps to promote high quality and rigorous clinical supervision, and this in turn ensures that the Canadian public receive equally high quality and effective counselling services. It also provides supervised counselling students avenues for redress on the rare occasion that supervisor conduct falls outside of professionally acceptable limits.

My supervisor holds professional membership with an organization other than CCPA. How do I know if this meets the supervision requirements?

Supervisors may belong to CCPA, or another association or licensing bodies 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.

Applicants or supervisors must provide information on external associations or licensing bodies to demonstrate that their membership aligns with the requirements of CCPA upon request.

I think my application satisfies the coursework requirements, but my program didn’t have a practicum requirement. Which pathway should I use to apply for certification?

A practicum course is a required course to qualify for certification regardless of an applicant’s pathway. The majority of counselling programs which align with CCPA requirements have had a counselling practicum course as a mandatory part of their program since 2002/2003. Unless the program was completed before this time, the applicant must have completed some kind of practicum course in order to be eligible for certification. If a practicum course was not a part of the program structure, the program will most likely have other issues in aligning with CCPA’s certification requirements.

How can I determine if my coursework aligns with the various coursework areas?

Your coursework does not need to have the same title and description as the samples provided by CCPA. You should compare the course descriptions from your course catalogue or syllabus to the ones provided by CCPA, and there should be common themes in the topic, breadth and depth of study.

Additional guidelines to coursework evaluations:

  • Applicants cannot combine multiple courses to satisfy one coursework area, nor can they cannot use the same course to satisfy two different course requirements.
  • Evaluate the syllabus to and specifically consider whether the description, objectives, readings, weekly course topics, and assignments indicate that the course is focused on the same topic of study as described by CCPA.

The compulsory and elective coursework as referred to in the Certification Guide and on the CCC Application Form refer to courses that are compulsory for all applicants to have taken in their Masters degree in order to be eligible for the CCC designation, and the elective coursework refers to counselling coursework done as part of your Masters degree that meets CCPA requirements but that can fit our application requirements as is tailored to your degree (ex: a degree with a focus in Marriage and Family Therapy might select electives from CCPAs list in the areas of “Couple and Family Counselling” or “Group Counselling” whereas an M.Ed in Counselling might have more counselling coursework that would meet CCPA elective categories such as “Human Development and Learning” or “Psychological Education”).

The four courses that are compulsory for all applicants of the CCC designation are:

  • Counselling Theories
  • Counselling Skills
  • Professional Ethics
  • Counselling Practicum

Elective coursework would be any other counselling coursework from your Masters degree in Counselling that falls into one of the following categories (you cannot list more than 2 courses per topic category):

  • Assessment Processes
  • Counselling in Specialized Settings
  • Counselling Intervention Strategies
  • Couple and Family Counselling
  • Consultation Methods
  • Diversity Issues
  • Gender Issues
  • Group Counselling
  • Human Development and Learning
  • Lifestyle and Career Development
  • Psychological Education
  • Research and Evaluation

To assist you in selecting the proper category for your Masters of Counselling degree coursework, please see the Certification Guide for Coursework Areas and Descriptions. This coursework should be listed out with the course code, name of the course as it appears on your transcript, and the semester in which you took each course on the CCC Application Form to outline how your degree meets CCPA requirements for assessment by the Registrar.

Who can provide a signature of co-attestation to my CCC Work Experience form?

You can provide a CCC Work Experience form with a signature of co-attestation from an arms-length professional. This individual can be an employer, supervisor, or colleague who can attest to the accuracy of the information on the CCC Work Experience form.

Can my on-site supervisor provide both a CCC Practicum and CCC Reference form?

Yes, if your on-site supervisor is willing and able to provide both forms, they may do so. Both forms must be complete & signed as the information must be attested to.

I would like to apply for certification but am concerned I do not fully meet CCPA requirements, can I still apply?

In cases where an applicant may have gaps in their certification application, a Basic or Complex/Non-Member Eligibility Assessment application would be recommended. This enables the Registrar to outline certification eligibility and point out those gaps. It is commonly used in the cases of applicants whose application may not fully meet CCPA requirements, or if the applicant foresees a potential roadblock to a successful application.

What do I do if I disagree with the Registrar’s evaluation of my certification application?

CCPA’s Certification Committee consists of counsellor educators and others who are able to advise the CCPA Board of Directors on all matters pertaining to counsellor certification. This committee also serves in a consultative role to the Registrar on discretionary matters and on challenging certification issues which arise from time to time.

How do I update my online directory myself?

Go to the top-right corner of our website and you will find the  “Members” box. Your username is the email address which we have on file. Your password was or will be emailed to you once your membership application is processed. Once you login, click on “My Account” and then “My Profile/ Directory Listings or Specializations” to edit your information. Remember to click “Save” when you’re done!

What is meant by 'direct client counselling'?

Direct client counselling CONTACT hours are actual clock hours during which you work with clients. Examples of direct services are:

  • 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 services:

  • 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.
  • 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.
I don't have a supervisor who can complete the CCC Reference form toward my certification file. What do I do?

In the event an applicant is unable to obtain one or both of the CCC Reference forms, we recommend engaging in supervision to obtain the clinical supervisor reference and in any work or volunteer experience to obtain the clinical reference from a colleague or employer. How many hours a clinical supervisor or clinical reference requires to oversee for the purposes of completing the CCC Reference form is to their discretion. For more information regarding reference qualification requirements, please see our Certification Guide.

Can I submit my practicum logs, instead of the CCC Practicum form?

No, practicum logs cannot be accepted in lieu of the CCC Practicum form. Please complete 1 CCC Practicum form per practicum location toward your certification file. Practicum logs can only be processed as supplemental documentation.

Who can co-attest to the CCC Practicum form/or help me complete the form?

The practicum professor or on-site supervisor from your practicum can assist you and provide the signature of co-attestation to the CCC Practicum form.

How to I start an application for certification?

Once you hold an active Student or Professional Membership with CCPA, you can begin submitting your documents toward certification in any order. As documents are received by CCPA, they will be processed toward a certification file for you within 5 business days.

Should a document require attention before it can be processed toward your file, we will contact you by email to notify you.

CCPA forms and course descriptions/syllabi can be emailed to CCPA at [email protected]. The official transcript and vulnerable sector criminal record check can be submitted by using the below methods:

  • Official transcript: sent directly from the University in SEALED envelope by mail or emailed directly from the issuing university as a password‐protected unalterable PDF document to CCPA National office. Outlining the coursework mentioned in the CCC Application form that meets CCPA’s requirements (Click here and go to pages 7 & 19 for details.
  • A vulnerable sectors criminal records check: original, hard-copy document issued by the police within the past 12 months, mailed to CCPA by the applicant or sent directly from the issuing police service by email as a password‐protected unalterable PDF document.

For more details on the application procedures and documents required, please see pages 18 – 22 of the Certification Guide.

How long does an application toward certification take?

The document collection stage of an application toward certification can vary from applicant to applicant. Some applicants are able to collect and provide all required documents within a week, others can take up to 12 months. Once the Certification Department receives the documentation, you can review the checklist in the member portal for confirmation of receipt

Once we have a complete file with all required documentation, it then would go out for evaluation by the Registrar which can take approximately 8 business weeks to complete. Each file is evaluated case-by-case by the Registrar of CCPA and timeframes can vary.

Why don’t I see the certification checklist to track my application in my Member Portal?

The certification checklist is made available in the Member Portal once the first submitted document has been processed by the Certification Department and a file activated for you. Processing of documentation submitted to CCPA can take approximately 4 – 5 business days after receipt.

How can I make sure my application is eligible for certification with CCPA?

As the Registrar of CCPA evaluates applications case-by-case, we are unable to provide any confirmations that an educational background, potential coursework, supervisor qualifications, practicum placement, work experience etc., would align with CCPA requirements toward the C.C.C. designation with CCPA until the Registrar has evaluated an application.

If you are unsure if a particular educational background or a potential program would have any gaps in aligning with the certification requirements and would like to have your application assessed, you may wish to submit an Eligibility Assessment Application. A Eligibility Assessment Application is a tool to outline certification eligibility. It is commonly used in the cases of applicants whose application may have gaps in aligning with CCPA requirements, or students presenting potential programs, coursework or practicum placements for evaluation and provides applicants with an eligibility report from the Registrar of CCPA. Please note that an application can take approximately 8 business weeks for evaluation by the Registrar.

For an outline of CCPA requirements, please see our Certification Guide with special attention to the following pages:

  • Certification Requirements: pages 6 – 12
  • Eligibility Assessment Applications: pages 16 – 17
  • Application Procedures: pages 18 – 22
  • Coursework Requirements: pages 27 – 29
How do I renew my professional liability insurance with BMS Group?

CCPA Student and Professional Members must renew their membership with CCPA prior to renewing their professional liability insurance with BMS Group. The policy period for your insurance coverage MUST align with your CCPA membership period. In order to renew your insurance coverage, please ensure that your CCPA membership has been renewed for the corresponding policy term.