State Licensure

Examination Processes and Procedures

NBCC administers the licensure examinations used by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. Each state counselor licensure board administers the application processes and procedures in accordance with state law, including determining the requirements to sit for the examination. NBCC enforces those requirements when registering candidates for testing. If you have any questions regarding the licensure process, please contact your state licensure board.

State licensure application processes vary. Your state may specifically require the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). Some states require both examinations or allow you to choose which examination you will take. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) has created a directory of state licensure board information to assist you in gathering important information and submitting the correct examination registration.

To register for an examination for the purposes of state licensure create or log in to your Credentialing Gateway account to begin the process. Once registered, you will receive an email from Pearson VUE, our exam site host, with information about scheduling your exam.

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To enter the examination site, you will need to present two valid forms of identification, one of which must include a picture. Examples of acceptable IDs include a driver’s license or picture ID issued by the department of motor vehicles, a passport or a military ID. The name in your record must match the name on your ID.

In-Person Administration

The examination is administered by appointment only on dates authorized by CCE, Monday through Saturday beginning at 8 am with the last appointment at 5:30 pm. Please contact Pearson VUE for particular locations and details. Candidates are allowed three hours and 45 minutes to take the exam. Available dates will be indicated when scheduling your examination. Candidates are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Remote Administration

Online administration through Pearson VUE’s platform, OnVUE—may be taken on a computer at home or in a private office with a strong internet connection and a webcam. Online exam administrations are offered 24 hours a day for both exams. For more information about the OnVUE process and system requirements, visit our remote administration page.


If your state uses computer-based testing, you will receive an unofficial score report immediately after the exam. The official score reports will be sent to the State Board office approximately 30 business days after the exam administration window closes for the month. For your protection and confidentiality, scores are not released over the telephone.


If you did not pass the examination, if applicable, you may re-register by logging into your Credentialing Gateway account. There will be a fee for exam re-registration.


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NBCC's State Board Directory contains contact info, registration links, and candidate handbooks.



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Pursue national certification and take the examination required for state licensure.


Health Systems

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The NCE and NCMHCE are both used as part of the recognition process established for practice.


Seeking Licensure by State

To get started, go to the state board directory and select the state in which you are seeking licensure. This will take you to a page that contains contact information for the state board, as well as links to an examination registration page and candidate handbook for the required examination(s).

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Questions About State Licensure?


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