Distance Career Counseling: An In-Demand Profession

By Betty McWillie

In my over 25 years of private practice, I have found that the majority of my clients choose a professional to assist them in their career development process because they value the expertise that comes with professional certifications and an adherence to guidelines and ethics codes. As our discipline progresses alongside technology, preferred methods of counseling change. In recent years, counselors have become more involved in working with clients at a distance, which requires specialized training and credentials to offer clients additional assurance of their career counselor's competencies and skills.


Distance counseling may accommodate busy schedules better than traditional office appointments. As Alice Rush stated in 2006, "Employees who work 60 hours a week, travel, juggle small children, work, activities, and school, typically feel as though their lives are out of control and many find they don't have time for traditional career counseling" (Rush, 2004). After years of working with clients primarily in person, I am finding that many of my current clients prefer working online and over the phone.


Common modes of distance counseling include:

  • Encrypted email

  • Phone calls

  • Skype, or other video calling service


These services are readily available anywhere that technology allows. Additionally, practitioners can address the same types of concerns that they would with in-person clients. Distance counseling often puts individuals at ease and provides anonymity, offering clients privacy and a sense of security that allows them to open up and feel comfortable in sharing their issues and concerns.


Web-based career development group seminars and one-on-one services can be offered on a variety of topics for diverse populations and people of all ages, including but not limited to:

  • Self-assessment

  • Career exploration

  • Career planning

  • Decision making

  • Resume writing

  • Job search strategies

  • Follow-up


Online Career Centers involving all aspects of career development have been developed for clients nationally and internationally. Generally, an in-depth intake form is completed, and the counselor responds with a career plan as a means of charting the client's future path. This plan contains concrete steps that allow the client and the counselor to mark progress and outcomes in the career discovery process. It is behaviorally based and can be used as a guide throughout the client's career.


What recent clients have said about distance career counseling:

  • "It's a great way to go! I started in the office in Memphis but could continue to update my resume and accomplishments when I went back to Nashville. I am now in Miami and find that I can schedule sessions at my convenience as issues arise in adjusting to my job."

  • "Distance career counseling worked well for me as a manager with an international company. With my family responsibilities and job travel, I have found this method easily adaptable to my hectic schedule. Taking an hour a week during lunch to work on career advancement is both enriching and convenient."

  • "I had some personal issues regarding my layoff and felt more comfortable sharing my feelings over the phone."

  • "I was doubtful at first, but the phone sessions were enlightening about my ideal job and enhanced my resume. Revisions went quickly, and I could see the process every step of the way. It's an efficient and effective method."


It is important to obtain certification in distance counseling to ensure clients experience a high quality, ethical counseling process. Distance Credentialed Counselor training is the training required by the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE). Legal requirements for distance practices differ from state to state, and it is the counselor's responsibility to know the requirements of their particular state. All credential holders also must adhere to state licensure laws. Information may be found at nbcc.org.


What credentials are necessary to conduct distance counseling?

  • A Master's degree in counseling or a mental health related field from an accredited college or university.

  • A license to practice counseling or a related field in the state or country where the candidate resides or works, or current certification in good standing as a National Certified Counselor.

  • Successfully completing the 15 hour Distance Credentialed Counselor Training.

  • Adhering to the NBCC Code of Ethics and NBCC requirements regarding the scope and policies of Distance Counseling Services.


This certification shows that distance counselors are adhering to national standards of ethical behavior, competencies, and scope of practice in their field. Obtaining the Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC) Certification is a certain step for those of us who are offering this method of service. It proves we are worthy of national recognition and offers accountability for this increasingly in-demand profession.




Rush, A. (2004, June). Distance Counseling Methods & Tele-counseling Approach for Employee Development. Career Convergence. Retrieved from www.ncda.org



Betty McWillieBetty McWillie, LPC, DCC, NCC, MCC, is the owner of McWillie Career Directions in Memphis, Tennessee, an online Career Coach with the University of Phoenix, and career development class instructor to traditional and nontraditional college students. She has over 30 years' experience as a career counselor, career center director, career development facilitator trainer, business owner, and university professor. You may contact Betty at mcwilliecdirects@gmail.com or visit her website www.mcwilliecareerdirections.com

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Jim Schlimmer   on Sunday 06/01/2014 at 05:25 PM

What a pleasure to read your article. Keep up the good work.

rich feller   on Monday 06/02/2014 at 08:44 AM

Where and how does one currently receive the training?

Mary Rose Tichar   on Monday 06/02/2014 at 09:57 AM

Please tell us about the compensation for on-line career counseling. I meet all qualifications except for the 15 hrs training. The cost? and does NCDA market our services on the website? I am very interested in this certification and would like more information. Thank you Betty.
Mary Rose Tichar

Lynn Ruffner   on Monday 06/02/2014 at 10:50 AM

I have the DCC, GCDF, DCF certifications. Where do I market my services? I have 30 years experience as a license counselor.

Melanie Reinersman   on Monday 06/02/2014 at 04:23 PM

NCDA does not market the services of career counselors on the website. NCDA invites members to apply for the Special Designations of MCC or MCDP and then pay a small fee for their name to be included on the website, under "Find A Counselor".

Melanie Reinersman,
NCDA Website Editor

Betty McWillie   on Tuesday 06/03/2014 at 02:02 PM


So nice to hear from you. I am excited to hear that your "Second Act"
is career coaching as I changed careers at 33 from corporate to career counseling/coaching. I appreciate your feedback I would love to talk with you so let me know a time I may call and we can talk it over.

Thanks again and I look forward to talking to you and hearing about your career coaching business. Yes , distanced career counseling is really a good way to go and I believe it will be a vital part of the future of career services delivery.

Betty McWillie   on Tuesday 06/03/2014 at 02:03 PM

Hello Rick

Thanks so much for your question. The site below will provide information on the DCC certification.


Hope this is helpful

Betty McWillie   on Tuesday 06/03/2014 at 02:06 PM


Mary Rose

Above is the Center for Credentialing and Education who are now providing the training . It seems ReadMinds is not longer providing the training and The Center is now doing that. The price was $450-$550 and was excellent training for this. I would call the Center and talk with them to see when they will be offering the training.

Betty McWillie   on Tuesday 06/03/2014 at 02:18 PM


Marketing your services can start by assuring your credentials are posted on the website as Melanie mentioned. Other methods include having your own web page, social media, and advertising! Your marketing plan can be designed in a variety of ways.

Damona Sain   on Tuesday 06/03/2014 at 10:15 PM

At the website--
there is no current DCC training available. ReadyMinds is no longer in the DCC training game.

The above website states:
Information regarding future approved training providers will be available on this Web site as soon as possible.

So keep checking back!

Betty McWillie   on Tuesday 06/03/2014 at 11:27 PM

The individual in charge of the training at CCE is out of the country and will be returning to her office June 10th.

They are still in the process of setting up the DCC training.

Mark Savickas   on Tuesday 06/10/2014 at 01:01 PM

In Ohio the Counselor Licensure Board rules that the distance counselor must be licensed in the State in which the client resides. Is that accurate?

Betty McWillie   on Tuesday 06/10/2014 at 03:13 PM


Yes that is correct. It differs from state to state but most do require that the DCC is an LPC.

Michael Jones   on Thursday 09/11/2014 at 11:15 PM

My company, Renewed Vision Counseling Services, is now an approved provider for the DCC Training. We offer a 23 hour course. The course is approved for NBCC CEUs as well. We charge $425. You can register at www.renewedvisioncounseling.com

Telehealth Certification Institute, LLC   on Thursday 06/15/2017 at 01:55 PM

The DCC course is now being provided by the Telehealth Certification Institute, LLC: https://telementalhealthtraining.com/DCC

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.