ACBC Certification Process

These are the Certification Requirements of the ACBC (the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) Certification as of January 2019.

ACBC certification generally satisfies certification requirements for other biblical counseling organizations. You should check for updates once you formally begin your certification process, at

  1. Complete a Basic Training Course

Complete the Basic Training Course, packed with theological truths related to counseling. This can be gained by attending a conference or live training, online DVDs, online podcasts, or through degree programs.  The training includes 30+ hours of the following content:

  1. Orientation to and Dynamics of Biblical Counseling
    A. Basics of Biblical Counseling
    1. The Need for Biblical Counseling
    2. The Definition and Goal of Biblical Counseling
    3. Progressive Sanctification
    4. Process of Biblical Change
    5. Qualifications of a Biblical Counselor
    6. Getting to Heart Issues
  2. Key Elements in Biblical Counseling
    1. Gathering Data
    2. Discerning Problems Biblically
    3. Establishing Involvement with Counselees
    4. Giving Hope
    5. Providing Instruction
    6. Giving Homework
  3. Critical Reflection on Various Theories in Counseling
    A. Secular and Integration Theories
    B. What Makes Biblical Counseling Biblical?

III. Husband and Wife Relationships
A.  God’s Purpose for Marriage
B.  Roles of the Husband and Wife
C.  Communication
D. Biblical Sexuality

  1. Parent and Child Relationships
    A. Goal of Parenting
    B. Parental Instruction
    C. Parental Discipline
  2. Frequent Issues in Counseling
    A. Guilt and Repentance
    B. Forgiveness
    C. Trials and Suffering
    D. Fear and Worry
    E. Anger
    F. Depression
    G. Sexual Sin
  3. Medical Issues in Counseling
    A. Physical Illness and Biblical Counseling
    B. Psychotropic Drugs and Biblical Counseling

VII. Case Studies
A. Total Casebook, Role Plays, and other Practice Case Discussions

Tip: The Basic Training Course is good for ACBC Certification purposes if you apply for certification with ACBC within 4 years of taking the course. For example, if an individual finishes the Basic Training Course in 2016, they will need to apply for ACBC Certification by December 31st of 2020.


  1. Observe an ACBC Certified Counselor

You will complete 10 hours of observing an ACBC Certified Counselor. Tip: As you are observing counseling during this part of Phase 1, be sure to log these hours on the ACBC Observation Log in order to save time during the Application process.

  1. Grow Through Reading and Take the Tests

Increase your understanding of biblical counseling and theology by reading 1,000 pages from our Approved Reading List. At least 300 pages will need to be from the “Biblical Counseling and Theology” category on the Approved Reading List. (as of January 2019) Tip: Be sure to select at least one Systematic Theology from the list to read from. This will be very helpful for you when you write Theology Exam. Also, track your reading as you go by completing the ACBC Reading Log.

  1. Application
  • Complete the online applicationwhich includes the following elements:
    • Introduction to the ACBC Application
    • STEP 1 – Registration
    • STEP 2 – Application
    • STEP 3 – Upload Observation and Reading Logs
    • STEP 4 – Pastor/Elder Evaluation
    • STEP 5 – Colleague Evaluation
    • STEP 6 – Church Member and Authority Letter
    • STEP 7 – Upload Ordination Certificate
    • STEP 8 – Upload Theology and Counselors Exams
    • STEP 9 – Application Fee

Tip: Please ensure that your exams and all required pieces of your application are submitted within a six week period in order to complete the process in a timely process. ACBC is able to send exams on to a grader only after receiving in all pieces of the Application.




Phase 3 – Supervision. During This Phase, You Will . . .

  1. Choose a Fellow from a list of available Fellows sent to you after you pass your exams.
  2. Notify the ACBC office once the Fellow has agreed to be your supervisor. (No hours may be counted before you have received approval to begin Phase Three from the ACBC office.)
  3. Complete 50 sessions (of at least one hour length) of supervised counseling.
    • Counseling supervision is often completed remotely via email and telephone.
    • You will need to complete and send your supervisor a Case Report for each counseling session.
    • At least 10 sessions must be with the same counselee.
    • Audio record a minimum of 5 sessions to review and discuss with your supervising Fellow.
    • You must finish the 50 sessions within one year.
  4. Meet with and review each case report with your supervisor.


After you have completed 50 sessions of counseling that your supervisor is satisfied with, he will submit a recommendation for membership.

Tip: Don't let the idea of 50 supervised sessions overwhelm you! This is an amazing time to learn and grow even more and to be personally coached and guided by a seasoned ACBC Fellow. 


How do I locate an ACBC Fellow for supervision?

  • A list of Fellows currently supervising will be sent to you once you have passed the exams. Write to one at a time via email and include the following points:
    • Inform them of your interest for them to supervise you.
    • Send him the email stating that your exams passed and that you are cleared for the supervision phase. Supervision done before being cleared by the ACBC office will not count toward your 50 sessions (the only exceptions are formerly approved MABC programs).
    • State when and where you completed your basic training, the type of ministry with which you are currently involved, and the number of counseling cases you typically have per week.
    • Clearly state all of your contact information.
    • Allow at least five days for his answer. If you do not hear from him within five days, you can move onto the next Fellow. There could be a number of reasons that a Fellow does not get back to you soon, including vacation, mission trips, and ministry demands.
    • When you talk to a potential supervisor ask how much he charges for supervision and his policies and procedures. ACBC policy allows for each supervisor to charge up to five hundred dollars per individual being supervised.
    • Supervised counseling is typically done via email and telephone by using the Case Report Form. You do not need to live near an ACBC Fellow (Supervisor) in order to complete this phase.


Can my spouse and I counsel together for supervision?

  • No, ACBC certifies individuals not couples. 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.


How long do I have to get the required 50 sessions of supervision done?

  • You have one year from the date that your exams passed. If you will not finish in the one year allowed, you can apply for an extension. Email Certification@biblicalcounseling.comfor the required paperwork and current extension fee rate.


Once I finish my fifty sessions of supervised counseling, what’s next?

  • Once you have completed your Supervised Counseling, your supervisor will notify the ACBC office and make a recommendation for membership.
  • When the ACBC office receives this letter, you will be notified by email and sent a current Membership Covenant to sign and return with the current membership dues.
  • Once the ACBC office receives your dues and completed covenant, we will send you your official certificate, and you will be added to the list of members on the ACBC website (unless otherwise specified).
  • You will be publicly recognized as a new ACBC Member at the next Annual Conference.
  • As a ACBC member you will also receive discounts to ACBC events.