Certified School Career Development Advisor (CSCDA)

CSCDA logoWhat is the Certified School Career Development Advisor (CSCDA) credential?

This credential is intended for providers who work with youth in many settings and help prepare students for meaningful work and managing their careers.  These providers work with other staff to coordinate the design, implementation, and monitoring of school and community-based efforts to improve the chances of students entering the job market with skills, knowledge, and credentials to be competitive. 


Who is eligible for the Certified School Career Development Advisor (CSCDA)?

Individuals who have completed NCDA’s School Career Development Advisor Training and Certification program are eligible to apply.  Those holding a master's degree in School Counseling with three year's experience in career development may also apply immediately without attending the training.


What are the steps to apply for the CSCDA?

You must provide evidence of completion of training by providing a copy of your Certificate of Completion for NCDA’s School Career Development Advisor training.  School Counselors must also provide a copy of their transcript in lieu of the training completion certificate.  Gather your materials and start the application process at the bottom of this page.


How much time do I have to finish the application?

You can complete the application within 90 days of your start date, as your time permits. Only the assessment portion of the application is timed. Once you open a scenario, you must complete your response within 60 minutes. Each scenario in the assessment must be completed in a single sitting, but you can take a break between questions. You may not receive assistance from anyone else nor use resources as you are writing your responses. After each scenario, you may stop and return later.


How can I prepare for the assessment portion of the application?

  The scenarios are based on the competencies that are addressed by the NCDA Facilitating Career Development and School Career Development Advisor curriculum:

  1. Helping Skills - Be proficient in the basic career facilitating process while including productive interpersonal relationships.
  2. Labor Market Information and Resources - Understand labor market and occupational information and trends. Be able to use current resources.
  3. Assessment - Comprehend and use (under supervision) both formal and informal career development assessments with emphasis on relating appropriate ones to the population served.
  4. Diverse Populations - Recognize special needs of various groups and adapt services to meet their needs.
  5. Ethical and Legal Issues - Follow the NCDA Code of Ethics and the GCDF Code of Ethics and know current legislative regulations.
  6. Career Development Models - Understand career development theories, models, and techniques as they apply to lifelong development, gender, age, and ethnic backgrounds.
  7. Employability Skills - Know job search strategies and placement techniques, especially in working with specific groups.
  8. Training Clients and Peers - Prepare and develop materials for training programs and presentations.
  9. Program Management/Implementation - Understand career development programs and their implementation, and work as a liaison in collaborative relationships.
  10. Promotion and Public Relations - Market and promote career development programs with staff and supervisors. 
  11. Technology - Comprehend and use career development computer applications
  12. Consultation - Accept suggestions for performance improvement from consultants or supervisors.


What is the assessment portion?

You will respond to a scenario (a description of the client and a situation).  You will be asked to write 2-5 paragraphs responding to a focused question based on that scenario. Your responses are evaluated by a trained reviewer who also holds this credential. The reviewer sees only your responses and cannot access any information about you.


To prepare for writing your responses to the 4 scenarios, we suggest you adopt the mindset of working with your client, a stakeholder, or a group. You will want to suggest resources, action steps and outcomes. We want you to draw upon your everyday experience and learning. You will respond to a scenario in each of these areas:  working with a class, working with employers, setting up a career program, and one-on-one advising. In preparation for this portion of your application, you may wish to review the competencies in relation to the scenario areas described above.


We also suggest you review the CSCDA Study Guide. This guide offers a review on writing a response, a sample response, and some practice questions.


What if I don’t pass?

Applicants who do not pass their first attempt at the assessment may retest with a new question within one month.  If the retest is also unsuccessful, the applicant must wait one year to reapply. 


What do I need to know to use the application software?


1.The first step is to complete an NCDA form and submit your payment. Then you will receive an email with a link to create an account in the new credentialing application software.

2.The process of applying for a credential has two major parts: demographics and scenarios. First, complete and submit Section 1 (general demographic information and uploading certificates of completion). Then complete the assessment portion (scenarios). 


How do I find continuing education relevant to career development?

See the NCDA Continuing Education webpage for complete details.


I’m ready!  How can I apply for the CSCDA?

Gather these materials which you will need for your application: A copy of your Completion of Training Certificate provided by your NCDA SCDA Certificate of Copletion. We suggest you review the CSCDA Study Guide now!  The cost of the CSCDA Application is $100. You do not have to complete the entire application at one time, but you must submit it within 90 days of starting it.



Clicking on the Apply Now link will start your new NCDA Credentialing Application by completing an NCDA form. Once your information, including payment, has been completed, you will receive the link to continue the application process and upload the appropriate documents. When applying on that second link, you will be leaving the NCDA website and will be directed to create a new account within the new system. Your NCDA login will not work with the credentialing application system.