State Licensure Information

All states in the US license professional counselors. The state counselor licensure boards administer the application processes and procedures that have been established by law in each state. NBCC acts as the examination administrator for this process. For state licensure candidates, NBCC does not review your experience and supervision. The state licensure boards determine the requirements for sitting for any examination. NBCC enforces those requirements when registering candidates for testing.

Prior to beginning the licensing process (including registering for an NBCC exam), please contact your State Licensure Board.

In order to register to take a state licensing examination you will need to obtain an exam registration form. Some states have allowed NBCC to post the examination registration forms on the state information pages on the NBCC Web site. Other states require that you obtain the examination registration form from your state credentialing board. For those states, the state credentialing board representatives can determine whether you are eligible to receive an examination registration form. The registration form will list the examination dates, registration deadlines and locations for states using paper and pencil examination. For states that use computerized testing, that information will be included in additional materials. Learn more about examination registration.

How Is the DSM-5 Affecting NBCC’s Examinations?

In January, the examination committees for both the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) reviewed the current versions of these examinations. Their primary objective was to update the items to make the language consistent with the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

NBCC is pleased to report that there were no major structural changes to either the NCE or the NCMHCE as a result of the DSM-5. There were no changes to the framework or the competencies of either examination. The knowledge assessed is common to both manuals. Modifications to the examination content involved changes in diagnostic terminology only.

What does that mean for examinees who are preparing to take an NBCC examination? While the number of items regarding the DSM-5 will not increase, the new edition does contain new diagnostic terminology, so reviewing the differences between the two editions may be helpful.

The changes to both the NCE and NCMHCE are effective April 1, 2014.

The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) will receive a similar update to reflect the DSM-5 later this year.