What is the NCE Exam?


What's on the NCE?

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) for Licensure and Certification is a test for prospective counselors developed by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The test consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, and examinees are provided three hours and forty-five minutes to complete the test.

Content Areas

The exam tests eight content areas recognized by the Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) as being central to success in the counseling profession. These areas include:

  • Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice
  • Social and Cultural Diversity
  • Counseling and Helping Relationships
  • Career Counseling
  • Assessment and Testing
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Group Counseling and Group Work

Work Behaviors

In addition, work behaviors, which are taken from a job analysis of the tasks performed by professionals working in the counseling field, are covered on the examination. These behaviors are broken down into the following domains:

  • Professional Practice
  • Fundamental Counseling Issues
  • Diagnostic and Assessment Services
  • Counseling Process
  • Professional Development, Supervision, and Consultation

Why Would a Candidate Sit for the NCE?

There are several reasons for prospective counselors to sit for the NCE. The NCE is required of students who wish to pursue the credential of National Certified Counselor (NCC). In many states, the NCE is the prerequisite test for counselor licensure. The NCE is also one of the exams required by military health providers as a pre-condition of becoming an authorized counselor within that system.

How Can I Prepare for the NCE Exam?

If your university has required you to sit for the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) as a component of your degree program, you should have received a score report detailing your progress. Because this exam covers the same eight CACREP core components, you might want to focus your study if there were any areas in which you struggled. It can also be helpful to review textbooks and notes from courses that have covered the materials being tested.

You can also use the engaging materials on Study.com to ensure that you're prepared for the NCE exam. Be sure to review the thorough NCE study guide that will walk you through all areas of the test. After your review, you can be sure you're ready by taking a practice test.

How Do I Register For the NCE?

Students begin by registering for the exam through a ProCounselor portal on the NBCC's website. They will be required to provide documentation regarding their graduate counseling program. After such documentation is approved, they will be given information by the NBCC so they can register with Pearson VUE. Upon receipt of authorization, students then choose a time within a list of approved dates in which to sit for the exam at Pearson VUE testing sites. Candidates must complete the testing within six months of approval.

In some cases, candidates may choose an administration of the examination on a university campus. These tests are typically given in October and April. Students who are enrolled in participating institutional programs may take the NCE before graduation.

When Will My Scores Be Released?

Approximately one month after the exam is taken, candidates receive an unofficial score report via their registration account. After they receive their official score, a prospective counselor may request that it be provided to third parties, including state licensure boards.

Study.com NCE Scholarship: Application Form & Information

Learn all about Study.com's three new scholarship opportunities, designed to provide NCE exam takers with the support they need in achieving their counseling career goals.

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