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What will certification and membership cost?

Fundamentals Training Course: varies, depending on where you complete it
Books & Resources: $85 (minimum)
Observation DVDs: $168
Application Fee: $100
Supervision Fee: $700
Membership Dues: $115 (annual)

Total: Approximately $1400

Does the certification program have a time limit?

Yes. You must complete Phases 1 and 2 within four years of taking your Fundamentals Training Course. For example, if an individual finishes the Fundamentals Training Course in 2016, they will need to submit their Phase 2 exams by December 31, 2020.

Separately, you have one year to complete 50 sessions of supervised counseling in Phase 3.

How long will the certification program take?

Time varies, depending on how much time you have and how much training you’ve had. Many people complete the certification process within a year after completing the Fundamentals Training Course.

What are the membership levels?

After you complete the certification process, you will become a certified biblical counselor and can renew your membership annually.
Level 1
Level 2 – Level 1 members who “have a theological degree” and “hold ordination to the pastoral office by a Christian church.”
Fellows – Level 2 members who have completed and passed the Fellow Candidate Process. For more information on becoming a Fellow, click here.

Can my spouse and I counsel together for supervision?

No. ACBC does see great wisdom in team counseling, but for the purpose of certification, your supervisor must determine that you can bear the entire load of preparing for and conducting the counseling session. For the counseling case you submit for supervision, you should be the only counselor participating in the session. You may have an individual sit in on the sessions with you to gather data, but you must be leading and directing the session.

I have prior education/experience in biblical counseling. Is there a fast track to certification for me?

We are thrilled to have people pursue certification who have prior education and experience in counseling, as well as those with no prior education and experience. However, our certification standards require that each applicant must complete all three phases of the ACBC Certification process. Additionally, the Fundamentals Training Course required for ACBC certification must be completed through an ACBC Certified Training Center or other ACBC Certified Training source.

Can I become certified with ACBC if I am on the Public Sex Offender Registry or am currently incarcerated?

ACBC recognizes that the Lord can use men and women who have repented from past sin and who are walking in faithfulness in a local church for great kingdom work in discipleship and counseling, and we encourage these individuals to receive training and education in the area of biblical counseling. However, ACBC is not able to officially certify anyone who is currently on the Public Sex Offender Registry or currently incarcerated.

Can I become certified if my church has a female pastor?

The local church is indispensable in the ministry of counseling. We believe our counselors must pursue the closest possible connection to their church for accountability and ecclesiastical authority. In light of the importance of ecclesiastical oversight, we require our counselors to serve under biblically qualified leadership in their church. At ACBC, we hold a complementarian view, recognizing that while women may serve the church in a myriad of ways, the Bible requires that an elder/pastor be a man meeting specific qualifications (1 Timothy 2:11-15; 1 Corinthians 11:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:2-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3). Because of these beliefs, both of which are reflected in our guiding documents, we cannot certify an individual who has joined fellowship with a church that has a female given the role or title of elder/pastor, regardless of their oversight responsibilities.

Can I become certified if I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)?

As state governments continue to encroach upon the religious liberties of individuals and groups, ACBC recognizes that this is particularly noticeable within the discipline and practice of counseling. As Christians, we affirm that it is inconsistent to withhold biblical morality and mandates in counseling and soul care, in deference to state statutes and codes of ethics which regulate Christian principles and truths. With these concerns in mind, ACBC welcomes those currently holding state licensure for professional counseling to engage in our Phase 1 training, to further discern the philosophical and theological underpinnings that distinguish biblical counseling from other approaches. Since counseling is fundamentally theological in nature, ACBC reserves the right not to approve current Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, or those holding equitable licenses for counseling services, from continuing the certification process due to the growing ethical and moral restrictions placed upon state licensed practitioners. However, those who have completed Phase 1 and wish to continue in progression with ACBC certification may make an appeal for consideration with the ACBC Membership Services department.

Can I share content that I purchased on the ACBC Store with others?

You may share purchased ACBC Store content with family members, counselees, and groups in your church or para-church ministry for educational purposes. If you share the material with others, they are not permitted to share the material again (e.g. if you share the material with your brother, he is not permitted to share the material with his counselees without first purchasing it himself). 

Watching the Fundamentals Training Course via a purchased audio or video recording will not count toward certification. If you show the material in a church or para-church ministry setting, you are required to make a verbal or written statement to those watching the training that it will not lead to certification.