How Do I Become a Nationally Certified Gambling Counselor?

problem gambling therapy group

Problem gambling disorders are highly damaging mental health problems that cost gamblers more than just their paycheck. The psychological effects of gambling problems can carry over into their personal lives, reduce their work performance, and threaten their relationships with friends and family members. Thankfully, there are experts available to provide clinical treatment and therapy so gamblers can overcome self-destructive behavior.

Just as there are therapists who help individuals with depression or professionals who treat those with alcohol misuse issues, problem gamblers also have an expert they can turn to for support. A gambling counselor provides a plethora of services to help their patients overcome problem gambling behavior. However, how does someone become a nationally certified gambling counselor in the first place?

Given how important of a role it is, there are a number of requirements and criteria that must be met before you can become officially certified. For more information, here’s an overview of nationally certified gambling counselors and how you can become one.

What Is a Certified Gambling Counselor?

Before starting on your path to becoming a nationally certified counselor for problem gambling, it’s vital to understand what the position entails and how they help improve the lives of problem gamblers. Counselors offer individualized therapy sessions for their patients by offering a variety of treatments. For example, some certified professionals may lead family counseling, group counseling, or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Nationally certified counselors have many important responsibilities they must uphold for the sake of their patients. This includes adhering to regulations and an established code of ethics to ensure that all of their patients receive the highest standard of care and treatment. By following these strict guidelines, individuals with problem gamblers can trust that they’ll receive professional treatment and assistance.

Find a Certification Course Approved by the IGCCB

One of the most important steps to becoming a nationally certified counselor is finding a course certified by the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board (IGCCB). Founded in 1984, the IGCCB began offering certifications to ensure that the counselors in the industry were professional and capable of helping others overcome their problem gambling behavior. By doing so, the IGCCB guarantees that people with gambling problems are only counseled by qualified individuals.

There are several different counselor certifications to choose from depending on whether you wish to become a national or international certified gambling counselor. These training courses have all been approved by the board, allowing professionals to find certification courses that meet the organization’s standards. Partners of the IGCCB across North America provide different course modules and self-paced programs to partake in, including our virtual 30-hour certified gambling counselor course.

Meet the Requirements

Beyond just completing the approved training courses, there are several requirements that individuals must meet in order to become a nationally certified counselor. These requirements prove that a person has developed the necessary skills and knowledge to properly provide assistance to those struggling with problem gambling. If you’re looking to help problem gamblers overcome their dangerous behavior, here are the criteria you must meet beforehand:


Those who want to become certified counselors must have the necessary educational background. A Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degree in a recognized behavioral health field such as psychology or clinical social work.


Completing gambling-specific training that has been approved by the board is also required. However, the number of hours required differs depending on whether a person wants to become a level one or level two counselor. Level one asks for 30 hours, whereas level two requires 60 hours.

Work Experience

Prospective gambling counselors must also have adequate experience in their respective fields before meeting the criteria for certification: 100 hours for level one and 2,000 hours for level two. These hours of clinical experience treating people with gambling problems must be supervised and verified by a board-approved clinical consultant (BACC).

Consent and Evaluations

Multiple people must provide their consent and thorough evaluation for the certification to be approved. These include on-site clinical supervisors, co-workers, and the BACC.

Passing the Certification Examination for Gambling Counselors

In addition to completing enough hours of an approved training course, individuals must complete and obtain a passing score for the certification examination for gambling counselors. 

Make the Necessary Payments

Individuals must also pay the application fee to receive their certification. The price can change depending on the particular certification they plan to receive and other expenditures, including the processing fee.

If you want to help a friend or family member overcome their gambling behavior, call 1-800-GAMBLER today. We’ll help by providing resources to connect you or your loved one with assistance. For example, we can assist you by sharing potential Gamblers Anonymous meetings to attend, including both in-person and online gatherings.


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