Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to investigate National Certified Counselors and relationships between their experience, credentials, ego development, and conceptual level. Benefits to continuing education requirements, developmental growth, and counselor insight were identified as justification for the research. It was hypothesized that there would be statistically significant positive correlations between counselor experience, credentials, ego development, and conceptual level. Four hundred (400) National Certified Counselors were randomly selected and contacted by mail survey using a General Questionnaire, Loevinger's Sentence Completion Test, and Hunt's Paragraph Completion Method. One hundred and thirty-four (134) responses were received. Significant correlations were found supporting previous research and developmental theory. One null hypothesis was rejected when a statistically significant correlation was found regarding counselor experience, determined by work setting, and ego development; mental health and community counselors scored significantly higher on ego development than school counselors. Though statistical significance was not attained at the.05 level, a trend was apparent with conceptual level scores correlated with counselor work setting; mental health and school counselors scored higher on conceptual level than did community counselors. Several conjectures are made as to the statistically significant relationship between work setting and ego development. Counselor supervision is proposed as the most worthwhile approach to address school counselor growth and development, given the finding that school counselors' scored lower on ego development. Further study is needed to determine if current findings can be replicated. Improvements are offered to enhance information collected in the General Questionnaire. A larger sample size, stratification, and an expansion of the population is recommended to include a cross section of counselor types in order to raise external validity.



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