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Examination Requirements

Passage of a licensure exam, in addition to a jurisprudence exam for some states, is required to obtain your professional counselor licensure. The examination(s) required will vary by state.

National Counselor Examination (NCE): Administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), this is the most common exam used by states in the credentialing process.

National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE): Also administered by NBCC, this examination focuses more specifically on mental health practice, and is used by several states for licensure. 


To locate which examinations are accepted by each state visit the NBCC State Board Directory. This information can also be found on the state board's website that you are seeking to earn licensure.

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination (CRCE): Administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), passage of this exam is also accepted in some states for meeting testing requirements for licensure.

Jurisprudence Examination 

Several states require licensees to pass a jurisprudence exam testing the applicant’s knowledge of licensing board rules and operating procedures, and state laws affecting counselors’ practice. Such an exam can be particularly important for counselors licensed in other states who may have considerable professional expertise but may lack familiarity with practice guidelines and restrictions in their new state.

States that have a jurisprudence requirement, such as the passage of a jurisprudence exam or attesting to reviewing jurisprudence information, include California, Colorado, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.