National Counselor Examination
& National Certified Counselor Credential

Note: The process for students to apply for the NCC credential has moved from a paper application to an online format.

Doctoral students and recent graduates will now apply using the application for counselors who have graduated, which is available at


The National Certified Counselor (NCC) Certification requires:

  1. A master’s or higher degree with a major study in counseling, which the NBCC defines as a degree in which a minimum of 48 semester hours of the degree credits in counseling cover at least nine required counseling coursework content areas. The degree must include one course in professional orientation to counseling and at least six semester hours of supervised field experience in counseling.
  2. 48 semester or 72 quarter hours of graduate-level credit in counseling with a separate counseling course in each of the following content areas:
    • Human Growth and Development (COUN/CMHC 502)
    • Social and Cultural Foundations (COUN/CMHC 504)
    • Helping Relationships (COUN/CHMC 505)
    • Group Counseling Theories and Processes (COUN/CMHC 512)
    • Career Counseling and Lifestyle Development (COUN/CMHC 522)
    • Assessment in Counseling (COUN/CMHC 521)
    • Research and Program Evaluation (COUN/CMHC 515)
    • Professional Orientation to Counseling (COUN/CMHC 500)
    • Counseling Field Experience (COUN/CMHC 698/699)
      • Field experience must total at least six semester hours or ten quarter hours of graduate credit. (Either one semester of 698 and one semester of 699 or two semesters of 699.)
  3. Two years and 3,000 hours of post-graduate counseling experience
  4. Two years and 100 hours of counseling supervision from a supervisor who holds a master’s degree or higher in mental health field.
  5. A passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE).

NCE Exam

Taking the NCE is only one step in pursuing the NCC credential. This exam completed prior to students earning 3,000 hours of post-graduate counseling experience.

  • Students are encouraged to take the NCE before graduating and in close proximity to the CPCE because of how similar the information is on both exams.
  • If you have any questions regarding the NCC certification or the NCE exam, please email

Timeline for October 2017 NCC Application Cycle:

  • August 30: Campus coordinators receive participation agreement, nomination roster and Student Information Sheet.
  • September 29: Campus coordinators return documents to NBCC.
  • As Roster Arrives: Eligible students receive link to application from NBCC.
  • November 15: E-mail reminder sent to applicants by NBCC.
  • November 22: Second email reminder sent to applicants by NBCC.
  • December 1: Final e-mail reminder to applicants by NBCC.
  • December 5: Application submission deadline at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.
  • April 6: Approved applicants receive exam admissions communication.
  • April 21: Applicants sit for the on-campus NCE.
  • Month of April: Applicants sit for the NCE or the NCMHCE through Pearson VUE.



  • The NCE will be offered in a paper-and-pencil format
  • The NCMHCE will be a computer-based test (CBT) and will be administered over a two-week period in preapproved testing locations across the country

How Students Access the Online Application

  • Watch for e-mail invitation. (Be sure to check spam and junk folders.) - NOTE: these emails will be sent to the students' Liberty University e-mail address.
  • Follow invitation instructions carefully to avoid errors and benefit from student pricing.
  • Click on "request a password" link. (Make sure to use the same e-mail address to which the invitation was sent.) Note: Do not log in as a "new visitor".
  • Go to "My Open Applications" after logging in for the first time.
  • Please review the Student Tip Sheet for further information.

NCC Credentialing Sequence: For Graduate Students

Application Phase

  • Receive a nomination to participate from your university’s campus coordinator.
    • In order to be nominated, students must have completed the following courses:
  • Receive email instructions on the application process from NBCC.
    • Sometimes these emails go directly to spam or junk folders so you will need to check those folders.
  • Electronically submit your application and pay application fee ($335/$425) online. (Students not testing on Liberty's campus will also pay a $25 site switch fee.)
    • Students in programs not accredited by CACREP will need to submit an unofficial transcript and enter their coursework.
    • Students in CACREP-accredited programs will not be required to submit coursework information.
  • Receive notice from your campus coordinator or from NBCC of any problems or issues with application.

Exam Phase

  • Read the pre-exam newsletter in StudentWorks on the NBCC website. The newsletter will look similar to the Example Newsletter.
  • Receive your examination admission letter with NBCC ID #.
  • Take National Counselor Exam.
  • Receive your score report and instructions for next steps in the certification process.
    • If failed, reregister for exam (NBCC will provide instructions with score report).
    • If passed, complete remaining credentialing requirements (NBCC will provide instructions). CACREP and regionally- accredited applicants will have different requirements and different instructions.

Post-Graduate Phase

  • Upon graduation, provide NBCC with a sealed, official transcript documenting your degree conferral and completion of all NBCC required coursework areas.
  • (Regionally-accredited applicants only) Submit documentation for completing post-graduate experience and supervision requirements.
  • Receive full certification and NCC certificate in the US mail.
  • Receive your NBCC Continuing Education File folder for tracking required continuing education hours.
  • Pay annual maintenance fee ($80) to maintain your good standing.
  • Consider pursuing one or more of NBCC’s specialty credentials: NCSC, MAC, CCMHC.

Roles & Responsibilities

NBCC’s role

  • Provide campus coordinators with participation and roster documents for each cycle.
  • Perform professional review of candidates’ applications according to NBCC eligibility requirements.
  • Communicate with campus coordinator and/or students as needed to resolve application issues.
  • Provide testing materials and instructions to the designated campus exam administrator.
  • Release confidential score reports to individual participants and aggregate results to participating counselor preparation programs.
  • Pay exam administrators and proctors.

Campus Coordinator’s role

  • Submit the participation and roster documents.
  • Encourage eligible students to apply.
  • Ensure that students understand they are applying for national certification (the NCC credential, not state licensure and not just an exam).
  • Remind students of the proper application procedures and assist them with any questions they may have. 
  • Identify an exam administrator who is not involved in awarding academic credit or grades to counseling students and who is familiar with the administration of standardized examinations. Coordinate with that person as needed to arrange for an exam site and appropriate conditions for testing, including accommodations for examinees with special needs or those who are non-Saturday examinees.

Student’s role

  • Familiarize yourself with the certification process by reading material posted on the website.
  • Apply, using the link provided by NBCC and carefully follow application instructions.
  • Identify any need for special examination accommodations and/or whether a “site switch” is needed for the exam location.