National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination

As counseling evolves and changes, we are also changing the way we assess the clinical skills of counselors. The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) is transitioning to a new format. The new format for the NCMHCE will emphasize the long-term, ongoing therapeutic process of the counseling relationship. View a format comparison and sample case study.

Please note that the dates listed below are for the administration of the examination and should be taken into consideration when scheduling your examination appointment. Any examinations scheduled after the dates indicated below will be in the new format.

There are two paths for registering for the NCMHCE. You can register for the examination as part of an application for national certification, or you can register for the examination solely for the purpose of state licensure. The examination is the same, and the scores from either path can be used for the purposes of state licensure.

For Those Taking the NCMHCE as
Part of Their Application for National Certification:

Fall 2022 Certification Cycle

Only the new format will be available. You can choose online administration or in a test center. You can request an official score report to be sent to your state licensure board by visiting the store in Credentialing Gateway. Administered by Pearson VUE.

Start Your NCMHCE Registration and Application for Certification

For Those Taking the NCMHCE for
State Licensure Without an Accompanying Certification Application:

Nov. 7, 2022

Only the new format will be available. You can choose online administration or in a test center. The state board will receive your official score report before the 15th of the following month. Administered by Pearson VUE.

Start Your NCMHCE Registration

Watch: The New Format of the NCMHCE

NCMHCE Content Outline

The new format of the NCMHCE was based on the new Content Outline. This Content Outline was developed from a national job analysis survey with more than 16,000 credentialed counselors that was completed in 2019.

Please feel free to contact us by email (nbcc@nbcc.org) or phone (336-547-0607) if you have questions.

Download Content Outline

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the current form be available?

For those taking the NCMHCE as part of their application for national certification, the current format will be administered during the spring 2022 certification cycle. Candidates taking the NCMHCE for the fall 2022 certification cycle and beyond will be taking the new format.

For those taking the NCMHCE through the state licensure registration process and outside of an application for national certification, the current format will be available until Nov. 7, 2022.

Please note that these dates are for the administration of the examination and should be taken into consideration when scheduling your examination appointment. For example, if you register for the examination on Sept. 2, 2022, but sit for the examination on Dec. 5, 2022, you will be taking the new format.

What is the structure of the new format?

The new format of the NCMHCE includes 11 case studies. Each case study will have a set of 13 multiple-choice questions, broken into three sections.

Total case studies: 11
Scored case studies: 10 (1 is used for field testing)
Items in each case study: 13
Scored items in each case study: 10 (3 are used for field testing)
Total items in a test form of the format: 143
Scored items (max/total score): 100
Unscored/field tested items: 43

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