Certified First Responder Counselor

As a Certified First Responder Counselor, you will be specialty-trained in the culture and unique needs of First Responders and Law Enforcement Officers. This 40-hour online training program prepares you for the CFRC exam and is your path to helping those who help others.

An Investment
In Your Career

Making the investment in your career means you're doing great things so that you can be great.

An Investment
In Our Protectors

These helpers need you to be GREAT, so they can be better. This is the way to get you both there.

A Return
Beyond Measure

Reap the immeasurable reward of helping those who helps others, and your impact lives on and on.

"This was an excellent course and it is affording me an opportunity to give back to first responders."

Griena Knight Davis, EdD, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH

"This course is an absolute must for clinicians that have no, or very little experience working with these cultures who desire to work with First Responders."

Brent R. MA, LPCC

""The Certified First Responder Counselor (CFRC) Training program by Director, Amy Morgan with Academy Hour was informative, enlightening, and allowed me to hone my skills as a licensed therapist who works with first responders, victims, and their families who have experienced trauma. Amy is a knowledgeable and compassionate trainer who stays versed on all aspects of mental health and its role and connection with first responders. Amy articulates the importance of first responders' roles but also the emotional, physical, and mental distress they can experience. This is an excellent program and one I strongly endorse for any licensed counselor who works with our first responder population. I am truly humbled and blessed to have participated and completed this certification and training in working with first responders.""

Leah McMillan, DPA, LMFT, EMDR Trained, CFRC
Founder/Owner and LMFT at EnSpire Counseling & Wellness

"Not only was the program engaging and motivating, the customer care provided was excellent."

Tanya M. LMHC, CDP

"This is a very thorough course that helps counselors really learn what it takes to be a first responder counselor."

Rae Brockman, LPC-S, LCDC, CRFC

"It gave a better and more in depth view, understanding and knowledge of first responders and their culture which I know will be helpful in working with this populations of individuals."

Krista Cowan, LPC, LAC

"The course really goes into detail regarding all the aspects of working with first responders. I especially appreciated the part about understanding first responders culture and coping mechanisms."

M. Drewer-Tabacchi, MA, LPC

"Although I currently work with first responder or as we call them warriors, I found useful valid information to enhance the work I am already doing."

Vonnie Nealon LCDC, ADC II, CFRC

"I found the course thorough, informative, and comprehensive. I liked the different methods of teaching (voiceover slides, videos, reading). I liked the structure of the course as well."

Elizabeth C.
Registered Psychotherapist

"I enjoyed the program and was able to see more on the responder side of things and how as a counselor I could be beneficial to them overall. I would recommend this training and the staff to anybody interested. Wonderful job."

Laura Ferriola, MA, LPC

""I am highly impressed with the content, compassion and professionalism presented in this course. I will definitely recommend the course as warranted. I'm a better counselor for taking this training!""

Terri A., LMHC

"I have been so inspired by learning about and from this extremely important population who deserve to have access to support and resources for their overall health and wellness."

Meredith Sonetz, MA, LCPC, CADC
Founder and Owner of Heartfelt Recovery

"From a first responder family, I really appreciated the positive approach to the culture, and the extremely culturally competent content in the training. Very insightful and informative!"

Alisha Sweyd, LMFT

"This provided a lot of information and presented it in a way that I was able to think about the information from a different perspective and allowed me to better understand the impact of trauma and challenges that first responders are experiencing."

April Foiles

"This course was not easy. It was challenging, however, well worth it. The course was educational, practical, and I feel that it has prepared me well to work with first responders."

Nicky Underwood LCSW-S

"I appreciated the various ways of presenting information, such as text slides with audio, outside readings, and video clips. This helped to solidify the information for me and it kept my attention throughout. I am really excited to continue my counseling work with this additional education!"

Asha Johnson MA, LPC-S

"The CFRC course was extremely informative!!! It covered every area of which a therapist should be aware when working with this population. It is thoughtful and real - offering real-world examples of some of the awfulness first responders experience repeatedly. I feel VERY prepared to work with this population."

Michael-Renee Godfrey

"This training program further solidified what I've already known, but at the same time, put some of it in perspective in regards to First Responders. I currently work with First Responders and am appreciative to be able to apply this information to my current and future clients."

Sarah Steger, LMHC

"This program was such an invaluable experience and I cannot say enough great things about it. Not only was the material well organized and clear with varying learning formats incorporated, but it really helps you gain a deeper appreciation for both first responders and mental health overall. Much needed now more than ever!"

Olivia Van Ness

"I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed this training. I truly has been the best training I have attended in a long time. Full of facts and super useful materials."

Pam Smith
Counselor, LPC

"I think this training program was one of the best I have ever taken. It was very informative and interesting."

Sara Cornell

"This was an amazing course. I enjoyed every minute of it. The CFRC course was informative, comprehensive and emotional. This course thoroughly prepared me for my endeavor to work with first responders. The stories were emotional, some of them put me right there. This course helped me to understand the first responder culture and mentality. It reinforced the need for me to utilize active listening and building of trust and rapport. The course also helped me to look out for unhealthy coping tools such as alcohol/drug use, and infidelity. Lastly, I really liked that Amy continuously emphasized the difficulty of working with first responders and "maybe this isn't the best decision for you" to undertake. I totally agree. We as clinicians entered this field to do good, but we also need to realize our limitations. Thank you infinitely for this wonderful course."

Jose Chen

" I found the information in this training to be quite interesting and helpful. In particular though, the “what you will hear” Videos were very educational, moving, and important in understanding situations from the responders perspective. I would highly recommend this training to anyone who works with first responders in any capacity."

Patti Rish

"I enjoyed this training program. It was exactly what I was hoping for when I signed up, and provided real and honest portrayals of first responders. I think it was also beneficial to expose practitioners to scenarios that they will need to be comfortable with in working with this population as a tool to decide whether this is something the individual wants to pursue."

Melissa Schaffer

"I thoroughly enjoyed this training. It was very helpful to better understand the culture of first responder work settings and their mindset. I appreciated all of the videos to gain insight."

Melanie Pignotti

"This training program is great! It was really well organized and informative. I really liked how the learning material was a mix of different types of learning (reading material, videos, in person experiences). I will recommend this training program to my colleagues."

Karensa Mingione

"Really wonderful course; I will certainly recommend to other counselors in the field. Not only did this improve my work with the clients I had on my caseload who are first responders, it informed how I interact with and understand my father (retired NYPD) and brother (retired FDNY)"

Gabrielle Phillips

Program was released July 1, 2019. 

Email [email protected] with questions or check out our FAQ page.

For program costs, please scroll to the bottom of this page, but be sure and read all the information in between!

Here's What You'll Learn

The care of a warrior is a special calling. Let's get you prepared.

Congratulations on your decision to take seriously the mental health needs of our Law Enforcement and First Responder community. As a Certified First Responder Counselor, you will be specialty-trained in the culture and unique needs of First Responders and Law Enforcement Officers.  This is a 40-hour online training program.

PROGRAM TIMELINE: Upon enrollment, you will be allowed 90 days to complete your training. If not completed within that time period, you will lose access and will have to re-enroll and begin again.


  1. The mentality of a Law Enforcement Officer
    2. The perspective of a First Responder
    3. The culture / family of response teams
    4. The trauma of being a responder
    5. The triad of health & well-being in regard to safety
    6. Suicide in law enforcement
    7. Warrior mentality
    8. Peer support vs Peer pressure
    9. Denial, Job Security, and other reasons to resist counseling
    10. The spouse, children, family of a responder
    11. The real goal of helping a responder
    12. The importance of self-debriefing as a responder counselor
    13. Ethics
    14. Confidentiality and trust 
    15. Rapport with a warrior
    16. Other issues related specifically to working in a counselor role with a First Responder


The CFRC certification has been developed by and is offered by Academy Hour (www.AcademyHour.com) as a means of educating counselors about the very specific needs of law enforcement and first responders. Not all counselors are meant to handle the trauma and situations that these warriors experience. Part of this program will include self-assessment to identify your own abilities in regard to working with the intense and difficult situations that responders would discuss in a counseling session. This is a cultural competency training program, with the focus population being law enforcement officers and first responders.


The Certified First Responder Counselor training program is not a program to authorize non-counselors to become counselors.  Only fully-licensed, independent counselors may take the exam and become certified under the CFRC program.

Not sure if you qualify? You must meet the below requirements:

1) Do you have at least a Masters Degree in a clinical counseling program?

2) Have you completed the practicum that is required as a part of a counselor's degree program at the Masters level?

3) Have you completed all of the required hours of supervision under a licensed counselor?

4) Do you have an active /current license through your state's counselor licensing board?

You will be required to provide your licensure information prior to being invited to take the exam.   A sample list of who qualifies:  Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Psychologist or Psychiatrist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, etc. Different states have varied clinical licensure guidelines, so.. If you have a question about your licensure qualifying you, please contact us at [email protected]

If you are under supervision, or otherwise “not yet licensed” fully and independently, you may take the training program now, but not take the exam. Once your license is independently recognized by your state’s licensure board then you may contact us, and will be granted free access to the program for another 90 days to refresh your learning, and you will then be invited to take the exam for certification upon completion.

If you are not a licensed clinical counselor but wish to take the CFRC training program for the knowledge and education it provides, we welcome you to enroll. You may take the entire training program, and upon successful completion will receive a certificate of completion.  You may not, however, enroll in or take the exam or use the CFRC designation, and will not be able to consider yourself certified in any way under this training program.


The training program is primarily an online learning experience, with videos, audio, and on-screen reading activities. There is also a required book reading that is a required part of the training program. Additionally, we require a 4-hour ride-along with a responder – this can be police, fire, EMS or 911.  This requirement is part of the program and MUST be completed within the 90 day program timeframe, or the program will not be considered fully completed. The program content provides full details on how, why, and where to do this activity, and we’re here to help you along the way.

NOTE: The ride-along activity has been temporarily suspended and replaced with a stay-home activity throughout the COVID-19 stay-home precautionary phase. If you enroll, or are at any point within the 90-day training program while the stay-home guidelines are in place, you may use this alternative activity as the replacement for the in-person ride-along.


As a licensed clinician, after you have completed the full training program you will be offered the opportunity to take the certification exam. The exam cost is $150 and you must take the exam within 30 days of completing the 90-day training program. Upon enrollment in the exam, you will have 30 days in which to take the exam, and you will be allowed 2 attempts to pass.  The exam consists of a 50-question assessment which must be passed with a 90% score or above. 


Upon successful completion of the course, and passing the exam, you will be invited to join the network of Certified First Responder Counselors (CFRCs) with your certification term being effective for one year.  You must, each year prior to your anniversary date, complete at least 2 hours of CFRC-approved continuing education training.  You will be listed on the CFRC site as a Certified First Responder Counselor so that responders in your area may find you and you will receive a quarterly newsletter which will provide you current industry trends, needs and resources.  We will also provide you with links to approved continuing education training.  Academy Hour will offer the needed & approved training, as well, and you may include your annual enrollment in those courses with your renewal application/fee for convenience, if you choose.


  • You will have specialized knowledge of the first responder and law enforcement officer culture, special mental health needs, and expectations.
  • You will be listed in the CFRC Directory as having completed this training program and passed the exam, and can list "CFRC" as part of your credentials.
  • You will receive regular updates throughout the year from the CFRC team, keeping you informed of trends and news that matter to your responder counseling practice.
  • Annual continuing education will keep you current on responder needs and challenges.
  • "Ask An Expert" - we have a team of experts who are former/current responders & officers, as well as counselors & psychologists who are experienced with this population. You may ask them a question and get a video-recorded response specifically answering YOUR question. You may also then view other CFRC counselor questions & responses in our Ask An Expert library.
  • You will be part of the CFRC community, and we will help you network with other counselors who work with the responder population also, so that you can each learn from the other as you go through your career.

DO NO HARM. As a Certified First Responder Counselor you will have a tremendous responsibility and we take the certification very seriously.  If we receive reports of a CFRC-approved counselor doing harm or not upholding the CFRC standards, and we investigate and find the claim to be valid, we reserve the right to remove your certification at any time.  However, we very much want our heroes to have as many reliable and respectable resources as possible, and we look forward to helping provide you the education and knowledge to prepare you for the journey and adventure, and rewarding work, of being a counselor for a first responder or law enforcement officer.


California:  40 hours: The Certified First Responder Counselor training program meets the qualifications for 40 hours of continuing education credit for LMFT's, LCSW's, LPCC's and LEP's as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

Other states: None (-0-) This training program is not currently approved as counseling license continuing education hours outside California. 

NOTE: There are no refunds issued and your enrollment is non-transferable.

NOTE: Anyone may take this training program, as it is informative, beneficial, and educational as a cultural competency knowledge-builder.  However, if you are not currently a counselor, this does not qualify you to be a counselor.  If you are a counselor student, intern, or a clinician under supervision, you may take the training but may not yet participate in the exam or use the CFRC credentials.  Only counselors who qualify in their state as an independent and fully-licensed counselor may take the exam and use the CFRC credentials upon passing the exam.  (If you are deemed licensed in your state, and could open your own independent and private practice, non-reliant on another counselor or entity to practice, then you may take the exam and use the CFRC credentials.)  If you are not yet fully-licensed, you may take the program for the sake of the education it provides; and when you become fully- and independently licensed, you may take the exam at that time and, upon passing, begin using the CFRC credentials.  At that time, if you’ll let us know you have previously taken the program and are now fully licensed, we will provide you free access for a new 90 days so that you may prepare for the exam.


The first 10 graduates have been identified as the CFRC Inaugural Class and receive continuing education classes from Academy Hour at no cost for the first 5 years.



Email us at [email protected]


CFRC Program Costs

Click the button to enroll in the training program now and start preparing yourself for an incredible mission.

Training Course $450
(3-month payment plan available)

Examination $150

Continuing Education (x2 hrs/yr.) $50/hr

Annual Renewal $50/yr


50% Complete

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