Overview of the CPCE
The CPCE is the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam. It is administered by the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE). Students who are enrolled in graduate counseling programs may be required by their university to take this test.
The CPCE assesses whether counseling students have adequate knowledge of foundational counseling topics, which are typically viewed as professional standards in the counseling industry. Students often take this examination upon the completion of the core courses within their counseling program.
How Can I Prepare for the CPCE?
The CPCE is a multiple-choice examination. Students answer 160 questions broken into eight major content areas. They are allotted four hours to complete the exam. To prepare for this test, the CCE recommends reviewing textbook resources commonly used in counseling programs. There are also CPCE test prep resources that can walk students through each of the test's content areas and get them used to the test format through practice exams.
Study guides for the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) can also be very useful in preparation, as the same topics are tested on this examination.
The major CPCE categories include:
|Content Area||Topics Tested|
|Assessment and Testing||Appraisal and evaluation methods|
|Human Growth and Development||An understanding of the needs of individuals across the lifespan|
|Counseling Relationships||The basics of the helping relationship|
|Ethical Counseling Practice||Professional standards, functions, and credentialing|
|Career Development Counseling||Career development and related life factors|
|Group Counseling||Group dynamics, development, and counseling methods|
|Research and Program Evaluation||Types of research methodologies and statistics|
|Social and Cultural Diversity||An understanding of issues within a multicultural society|
What Are the Benefits of the CPCE?
For students, the CPCE can serve as a baseline to ensure that their knowledge of counseling topics is developed before registering and sitting for the NCE. The CPCE allows students to understand their strengths and weaknesses when taking an examination of this nature so that preparation for the NCE can be highly focused. In addition, students taking the CPCE have the opportunity integrate the disparate material learned throughout their graduate program when responding to assessment questions.
At the university level, the CPCE can help counseling educators assess their curriculum and ensure that counseling students are making adequate progress through departmental expectations. This standardized assessment provides data for program improvement and self-study, particularly for programs that are seeking CACREP (Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs) approval. A counseling program may also use it to evaluate the progress of individual students.
How Is the CPCE Administered?
The CPCE is administered as a computerized exam, unless a student has a disability that requires pencil-and-paper administration. One option for taking the test is to register for an appointment at any Pearson VUE computerized testing facility on a date and time of a student's choosing. Universities may also opt for Anywhere Proctored Browser administration. This option allows a university-designated proctor to supervise a cohort of counseling students in the administration of the examination at an on-campus location. How you will take the CPCE is dependent on which of these options your university has chosen. Students who fail the CPCE typically have an opportunity to re-take the examination.