ACBC Certification

The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) is a fellowship of Christian pastors and lay people who are committed to the sufficiency of the Scriptures for counseling believers struggling with non-physical life problems and issues with sin. ACBC was founded in 1975 and has been at the forefront of the Biblical Counseling Movement.

ACBC is primarily a certifying organization. It recognizes individual biblical counselors who complete a three stage process of training for effective ministry. ACBC also certifies biblical counseling training centers, recognizing centers that excel in biblical counseling and teaching ministries.

The Three Weekend Fall Conference of the BCDASoCal provides the minimal education requirements for ACBC biblical counselor certification. Students who complete the basic (first year) classes have completed the training portion of ACBC biblical counselor certification. We encourage our students to also take the Advanced Class in spring for further biblical counselor education and training.

Leading churches, colleges, and seminaries have chosen to associate themselves with ACBC. Each of the following are among the 47 ACBC Certified Training Centers and have completed the extensive process to become so recognized by ACBC:

  • The Master’s College
  • Baptist Bible College and Graduate School of Theology
  • The Master’s Seminary
  • Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Birmingham Theological Seminary
  • Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, CA
  • Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, AL
  • Faith Baptist Church, Lafayette, IN
  • Grace Fellowship Church, Florence, KY

John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, and James MacDonald provided the keynote addresses at the recent ACBC Annual Conferences. The churches and seminaries of each are NANC Certified Training Centers or host a NANC Certified Training Center.

The BCDASoCal Fall Conference is a presentation of the course taught at Valley Bible Church, which is a ACBC Certified Training Center.

BCDASoCal Board Member John Street is the President of ACBC. BCDASoCal Board Member Wayne Johnston is the ACBC Director of Training Center Certification.

ACBC Counselor Certification

The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors certifies biblical counselors. This endorsement is similar to recognition processes associated with disciplines of training in other fields of study that are not regulated by the government. ACBC certification benefits the counselor by providing a nationally recognized course of study designed to prepare Christians for excellence in a biblical counseling ministry. Association with NANC may benefit the counseling ministry of ACBC members in regard to the legal and public aspects of biblical counseling.

The following is a condensed version of a more extensive document from, the official ACBC website:

The rigors of ACBC Certification help you to:

  • “Present yourselves approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
  • Increase your effectiveness in ministering God’s Word to hurting people.
  • Grow spiritually by doing some reading, studying, and thinking that probably would not get done without some structure.
  • Identify with others who are committed to the sufficiency of Christ and His Word in solving life’s non-organic problems.
  • Be part of a national referral network of biblical counselors.

The Three Phases of ACBC Certification

Phase 1 – Training

  1. Complete the Basic Training Course that covers the topics required by ACBC. This training is to take place through a NANC Certified Training Center or by taking Fundamentals of Biblical Counseling at one of the Counseling and Discipleship Trainings.
  2. Complete a minimum of 10 hours of counseling observation of a ACBC certified counselor. This can be done in person or by purchasing the DVD sets available.
  3. A reading requirement of 1,000 pages from recommended reading list (located in the Application Packet), 300 of which should be from theology text(s).

Phase 2 – Exams and Application

  1. Obtain an Application Packet from the website. Be sure to read FAQ, taking note of the formatting requirements.
  2. Complete the ACBC Theological and Counselor’s exams. These are open-book, essay form exams. You can work on them at your own pace. Be sure to site your references after each answer. Please write your answers as though you are explaining them to a counselee, defining all terms clearly and precisely.
  3. Complete the remaining documents in the Application Packet. Each of these must be received in the ACBC office before your exams can be sent to a grader.

Phase 3 – Supervision of Counseling

  1. You are required to satisfactorily complete 50 hours of supervised counseling with a ACBC Fellow during this phase. The 50 hours must be completed within one year of the date you passed your exams. At least 10 of these hours must be with the same counselee.
  2. Supervision is usually done via email and telephone. You will fill out the Case Report Form (in the Application Packet) for each counseling session and email it to your Fellow. You will then call at an appointed time to review your counseling case(s).
  3. Case Report Forms will need to be submitted to your supervisor before your appointed phone call in order to allow sufficient time for your supervisor to review your cases.
  4. Your supervisor will also expect to listen to a minimum of 5 audio recordings of your counseling sessions (preferably, early in your counseling).


  1. Once you have completed your Supervised Counseling, your supervisor will notify the ACBC office and make a recommendation for membership.
  2. You will pay your membership dues and sign a Membership Covenant.
  3. Once we receive these, we will send you your official certificate (suitable for framing), and you will be added to the list of members on the ACBC website.
  4. You will be publicly recognized as a new ACBC Member at the next Annual Conference.
  5. As a ACBC member you will receive discounts to ACBC events and will be invited to a ‘Members Only’ reception at the Annual Conference.