At the beginning of this page, a button grants you complete access to the National Counselor Examination (NCE) practice exam. Just beneath that, you’ll find the chance to take a detailed practice test. These assessments are vital for showcasing your abilities, identifying improvement areas, and honing your study approach.

To further enhance your preparation, especially in sections needing extra focus, we have developed specialized quizzes. These quizzes are meticulously tailored to address specific elements of the NCE exam, providing a focused and effective way to prepare.

National Counselor Examination (NCE) Domain Exams

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is a comprehensive assessment for those seeking to become licensed professional counselors. It covers a broad spectrum of topics related to counseling theory, practice, and professional ethics. The NCE is structured around several key domains, each representing a specific area of knowledge and skills essential for effective counseling practice. 

Below, I will break down these domains:

Domain 1: Professional Practice and Ethics

  • Percentage of Exam: 12%
  • Key Areas: Topics include ethical standards of practice, legal responsibilities and liabilities, professional practice issues, and the counselor’s role in advocating for the profession and the client.

Welcome to your NCE Domain 1: Professional Practice and Ethics

Domain 2: Intake, Assessment, and Diagnosis

  • Percentage of Exam: 12%
  • Key Areas: Focuses on initial client assessment, diagnostic techniques, and the use of assessment instruments in counseling.

Welcome to your NCE Domain 2: Intake, Assessment, and Diagnosis

Domain 3: Areas of Clinical Focus

  • Percentage of Exam: 29%
  • Key Areas: Includes understanding of various client issues such as substance abuse, career development, marriage and family counseling, and mental health conditions.

Welcome to your NCE Domain 3: Areas of Clinical Focus

Domain 4: Treatment Planning

  • Percentage of Exam: 9%
  • Key Areas: Emphasizes the development of effective treatment plans, goal setting, and outcome evaluation.

Welcome to your NCE Domain 4: Treatment Planning

Domain 5: Counseling Skills and Interventions

  • Percentage of Exam: 30%
  • Key Areas: Focuses on the application of counseling theories, techniques, and the therapeutic process.

Welcome to your NCE Domain 5: Counseling Skills and Interventions

Domain 6: Core Counseling Attributes

  • Percentage of Exam: 8%
  • Key Areas: Covers foundational counseling skills such as empathy, rapport building, and effective communication.

Welcome to your NCE Domain 6: Core Counseling Attributes

Exam Domain% of ExamKey Areas
Professional Practice and Ethics12%Ethical standards, legal responsibilities, professional practice issues, advocacy
Intake, Assessment, and Diagnosis12%Client assessment, diagnostic techniques, use of assessment instruments
Areas of Clinical Focus29%Substance abuse, career development, marriage and family counseling, mental health conditions
Treatment Planning9%Treatment plans, goal setting, outcome evaluation
Counseling Skills and Interventions30%Application of theories, techniques, therapeutic process
Core Counseling Attributes8%Empathy, rapport building, effective communication

Other Important Aspects:

  • Format: The NCE is primarily a multiple-choice exam, designed to assess knowledge, understanding, and application of counseling principles and practices.
  • Passing Score: Varies by state, as each state board sets its own passing criteria.
  • Preparation Resources: Candidates are encouraged to review study guides, participate in study groups, and complete practice exams. Official resources, including study guides and practice tests, are available through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) website and other professional counseling organizations.

National Counselor Examination (NCE) Exam Breakdown

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is a comprehensive assessment designed to evaluate the knowledge, skills, and abilities essential for effective practice as a professional counselor. It is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), which is a leading certification organization for counselors in the United States. The NCE is often a requirement for licensure as a professional counselor in many states and for certification as a National Certified Counselor (NCC).

Breakdown of the NCE Exam

  • Content Areas: The NCE covers a broad range of topics essential for the practice of professional counseling. These areas include:
    • Human Growth and Development
    • Social and Cultural Foundations
    • Helping Relationships
    • Group Work
    • Career and Lifestyle Development
    • Appraisal
    • Research and Program Evaluation
    • Professional Orientation and Ethics
  • Format: The exam consists of multiple-choice questions that test both knowledge and application of counseling principles and practices.
  • Eligibility: Candidates typically need to have completed a graduate degree in counseling or a closely related field from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Scoring: The exam uses a scaled scoring system. Candidates need to achieve a passing score to meet the certification or licensure requirements.

Preparation and Study Resources:

  • NBCC Official Website: The NBCC provides detailed information about the NCE, including eligibility requirements, registration procedures, and study resources.
  • Study Guides and Prep Books: There are several comprehensive study guides and preparation books available. These resources often include practice questions, study tips, and detailed content reviews.
  • Workshops and Online Courses: Many educational providers offer workshops and online courses designed to prepare candidates for the NCE. These can provide structured study and opportunities to engage with instructors and peers.
  • Practice Exams: Taking practice exams can help candidates familiarize themselves with the format of the NCE and identify areas where further study is needed.

Importance of the NCE Exam

Passing the NCE is a critical step for those seeking to become licensed or certified counselors. It demonstrates that the individual has the necessary knowledge and skills to provide high-quality counseling services. Moreover, being certified or licensed can enhance a counselor’s job prospects, professional credibility, and ability to practice independently.

The NCE Exam is a pivotal milestone in the career of professional counselors, underpinning the importance of a thorough and well-rounded education in counseling. Preparation for the NCE requires a comprehensive study plan, utilizing a variety of resources to ensure a well-rounded grasp of the material. While the path to taking and passing the NCE can be challenging, it is also a rewarding step towards a fulfilling career in counseling.

How to Become NCE Certified

To become certified through the National Counselor Examination (NCE), you need to follow a structured path which involves understanding the exam’s content, registering for the exam, and preparing adequately. The NCE is a crucial step for those seeking licensure in counseling across various states and territories in the U.S., including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The examination is managed by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and its affiliate, the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE).

Steps to Become NCE Certified:

  1. Understand the Exam Content: The NCE is a 200-item multiple-choice examination designed to assess knowledge, skills, and abilities crucial for effective counseling services. It covers a wide range of topics, including professional practice and ethics, intake, assessment and diagnosis, areas of clinical focus, treatment planning, counseling skills and interventions, and core counseling attributes. The exam also includes questions from the eight Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) content areas​​.
  2. Exam Registration: To register for the NCE for state licensure purposes, you must create or log in to your Credentialing Gateway account. After registration, you’ll receive an email from Pearson VUE, the exam site host, with information about scheduling your exam​​.
  3. Prepare for the Exam: NBCC offers study guides to help candidates prepare for the NCE. These guides are designed to cover the exam content thoroughly, offering sample questions and answers to help you understand the types of questions you might face​​.
  4. Special Accommodations: If you require special accommodations for the exam, NBCC provides forms for you to request these accommodations. Ensuring all candidates have the resources they need to succeed is part of NBCC’s commitment to accessibility​​.
  5. Review State-Specific Requirements: Since licensure requirements vary by state, it’s essential to review the specific requirements for the state in which you are seeking licensure. NBCC’s State Board Directory is a valuable resource for this information​​.

Our Experience Teaching NCE Candidates To Pass The Exam

At Career Employer, the creation of our National Counselor Examination (NCE) practice tests has been an incredible journey, marked by both triumphs and challenges. Inspired by the exam’s diverse subject matter, we aimed to cater to the unique needs of our learners.

Our strategy has been carefully crafted to ensure every student is well-prepared for success in the exam. Our dedication to providing a comprehensive educational experience is evident in the breadth and depth of our practice materials, highlighting our commitment to our students’ success.

Teaching for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) certification presents unique challenges and opportunities from a lecturer’s perspective. This exam is a crucial step for counselors seeking licensure and certification in the United States, testing knowledge in areas such as assessment and evaluation, counseling and helping relationships, and professional counseling orientation and ethical practice.

Understanding the NCE

The NCE is designed to assess the knowledge and skills necessary for effective counseling practices. It covers a broad range of topics that are essential for counselors in various settings. Lecturers must ensure that their curriculum not only covers these areas comprehensively but also integrates the latest research, theories, and ethical standards in the field.

Teaching Strategies

From a lecturer’s point of view, teaching for the NCE certification involves several key strategies:

  • Comprehensive Coverage: Ensuring the curriculum addresses all domains covered by the NCE. This requires a deep understanding of the exam’s content areas and structure.
  • Applied Learning: Incorporating case studies, role-plays, and other experiential learning techniques to help students apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations.
  • Ethical and Cultural Competence: Emphasizing the importance of ethics and cultural diversity in counseling practices, reflecting the exam’s focus on these areas.
  • Test-taking Strategies: Teaching students effective strategies for approaching multiple-choice questions and managing exam time efficiently.
  • Continuous Assessment and Feedback: Providing regular quizzes and practice exams to assess students’ understanding and readiness for the NCE, along with constructive feedback to guide their improvement.


For lecturers, a wealth of resources is available to support their teaching:

  • NBCC Official Guide: The National Board for Certified Counselors offers official guides and preparation materials for the NCE. Their website ( is the primary source for accurate and up-to-date information on the exam structure, content areas, and study resources.
  • Academic Textbooks: Textbooks covering counseling theories, techniques, ethics, and specialized areas (e.g., group counseling, multicultural counseling) are indispensable for building foundational knowledge.
  • Professional Journals: Journals such as the Journal of Counseling & Development provide insights into current research and emerging trends in counseling that can enrich the curriculum.
  • Online Courses and Workshops: There are numerous online platforms offering courses and workshops specifically designed to prepare students for the NCE. These can be excellent supplements to traditional classroom teaching.
  • Practice Exams and Study Groups: Encouraging students to engage with practice exams and participate in study groups can enhance their understanding and retention of the material.

Teaching for the NCE certification requires a balance of comprehensive content coverage, practical application, and exam-specific preparation. Lecturers play a pivotal role in guiding future counselors through this critical phase of their professional development, requiring a commitment to ongoing learning and adaptation to best serve their students’ needs. While direct links to resources are not provided here, searching for the recommended resources online and consulting the NBCC’s official website will yield valuable materials for both teaching and learning.

At Career Employer, our pride lies in our team of experienced professionals, each of whom brings a rich background and extensive experience to the forefront in preparing candidates for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) exam. Our NCE certification practice tests are the culmination of the hard work of this expert team, which has successfully guided over a thousand medical assistants to NCE certification.

Every team member boasts more than ten years of specialized experience in the counseling field, guaranteeing that our practice materials are not just created with precision but are also exceptionally effective in preparing candidates for success in their certification journey. Our unwavering dedication to excellence ensures that individuals utilizing our resources are thoroughly prepared to meet and exceed their certification objectives.

Effective Study Strategies and Methods

For effectively preparing for the National Counselor Examination (NCE), a combination of comprehensive study guides, practice tests, and strategic study techniques can significantly enhance your chances of success. Based on the information from reputable sources, here are some key strategies and resources:

  1. Comprehensive Study Guides and Practice Tests: A detailed study guide that covers all the essential topics and concepts for the NCE is crucial. Resources like Mometrix’s NCE Secrets study guide offer an in-depth review of critical areas, test-taking strategies, and practice questions. These guides focus not just on the content but also on how to effectively approach the exam questions, manage your time, and handle tough questions you might be unsure about​​.
  2. Adopt Effective Study Techniques: It’s vital to employ strategic study methods that go beyond mere memorization. Techniques such as creating a consistent study routine, utilizing practice exams to familiarize yourself with the exam format and types of questions, and studying in groups or with a study partner can be beneficial. Active learning methods, such as teaching the material to someone else or applying the concepts in practice scenarios, can also help solidify your knowledge.
  3. Utilize Online Forums and Blogs: Online forums and blogs dedicated to NCE preparation can provide valuable insights, tips, and encouragement from peers and educators. Websites like SBCounselingPrep offer a range of articles, tips, and strategies specifically tailored to the NCE exam preparation. They cover a broad spectrum of topics, from managing study time during holidays to overcoming exam day anxiety​​.
  4. Focus on Weak Areas: Use practice tests to identify areas where you need improvement. Spend extra time reviewing these topics, seeking additional resources or help if necessary. Understanding why certain answers are correct or incorrect on practice tests can also provide deeper insights into the exam’s content and logic.
  5. Mindset and Anxiety Management: Preparing for the NCE isn’t just about mastering the content; it’s also about managing your anxiety and maintaining a positive mindset. Techniques for overcoming test anxiety, such as relaxation exercises, positive visualization, and proper exam day preparation, can play a significant role in your performance.
  6. Schedule and Planning: Create a detailed study plan that allocates specific times for different study activities. Break down the study material into manageable sections, set realistic goals for each study session, and include breaks to avoid burnout.

Remember, preparation for the NCE is a marathon, not a sprint. Starting early, staying organized, and using a combination of study materials and techniques tailored to your learning style will enhance your chances of passing the exam on your first attempt. For more detailed strategies and study materials, you can explore resources from Mometrix and visit the SBCounselingPrep website for ongoing support and tips throughout your study journey.


NCE Exam CostUSD 275Fee to take the NCE exam
Practice Exams & FlashcardsUSD 49.95Includes practice exams, flashcards, exam review, 50-state guide, lifetime use
Dr. Arthur’s Study GuideVariesOver 1,100 questions, virtual flashcards, phone consultation
Dr. Rosenthal’s Exam PrepUnder USD  185Includes an encyclopedia, audio CDs, dictionary, exclusive membership

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is a crucial step for those aiming to become licensed counselors, and understanding the associated costs is essential for effective planning. 

Here is the cost breakdown for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and associated expenses in point format:

  • NCE Exam Cost: USD 275 as the fee to take the NCE exam​​.
  • Study Material and Preparation Costs:
    • Practice exams and flashcards: USD 49.95 for a package that includes practice exams, a flashcard study system, an exam review, and a 50-state guide. This package offers lifetime use, no renewal fees, no time limit, and free updates​​.
    • Dr. Arthur’s Study Guide for the NCE: Features over 1,100 questions, pre-assessment and practice exams with answers, virtual flashcards, and a phone consultation with Dr. Arthur. A money-back guarantee is offered, though the exact cost is not specified​​.
    • Dr. Rosenthal’s Exam Prep Materials: Under USD 185 for the Valedictorian Mastery Tool Kit, which includes an encyclopedia of counseling, audio CDs for learning, a human services dictionary, and exclusive membership in Dr. Rosenthal’s Inner Circle​​.
  • Additional Costs: It’s important to consider other potential costs such as additional study materials, courses, or workshops not listed here, travel expenses for taking the exam if necessary, and possibly fees for retaking the exam if needed (though the cost for retaking the exam is not specifically mentioned, there is a waiting period of at least three months before you can retake it)​​.

These are the primary costs associated with taking the NCE. However, costs can vary based on individual study preferences, the need for additional resources, or unforeseen circumstances. It’s a good idea to plan for a budget that covers the exam fee, essential study materials, and a buffer for any additional study aids or unforeseen expenses.

Reliable Study Materials and Resources

Preparing for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) certification exam requires access to a variety of high-quality resources. Here’s a compilation of some of the best online resources available to help you prepare effectively:

  • NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors) offers examination preparation materials, including study guides and practice exams that cover all CACREP content areas. Their resources also feature innovative learning tools such as narrative mapping, master classes, and video tutorials to help you grasp complex topics​​.
  • provides an extensive array of study materials, including practice quizzes and exams, case studies, and definitions. The site also offers special features for reducing exam anxiety and stress through videos and techniques​​.
  • Mometrix presents a comprehensive set of preparation tools, including flashcards, a study guide, and an online prep course featuring review lessons, practice questions, video tutorials, and electronic flashcards. This course is designed to cover every topic you might encounter on the exam, with a guarantee for quality preparation​​.
  • Pocket Prep offers a convenient mobile option for NCE exam preparation, with hundreds of study questions available to help you study on the go. This can be a great supplement to your study routine, providing easy access to practice questions wherever you are​​.
  • sells a detailed study guide that’s updated based on the latest exam content outline, focusing on areas of greater emphasis in clinical mental health issues and practices. This guide is structured around the CACREP content areas, offering a user-friendly approach to study material​​.
  • NCE Test Prep ( emphasizes the importance of a dedicated study plan, advising against overextending the preparation period to avoid burnout and test anxiety. This resource recommends a focused approach to studying, with access to their courses for 90 days, suggesting that more extended periods of preparation may be counterproductive​​.
  • Mometrix Online NCE Prep Course outlines a detailed course structure, including a pretest, subject material reviews, and test-taking strategies. It covers a broad range of topics essential for the NCE, aiming to provide a thorough preparation experience​​.
  • NCEExamPrep highlights the importance of confidence and understanding in passing the NCE, offering quality, reliable, and easy-to-use preparation material. Their offerings include a wide range of products from practice exams to video content, all designed to enhance your understanding and boost confidence​​.
  • AATBS (Association for Advanced Training in the Behavioral Sciences) provides a variety of study options, including self-study packages and live online classroom settings. They emphasize the freshness and quality of their questions, which are regularly reviewed by psychometricians​​.

These resources offer a comprehensive approach to preparing for the NCE exam, encompassing a variety of study formats and materials to suit different learning styles and needs. Be sure to explore each option to determine the best fit for your preparation strategy.

The Best CFA Exam Study Materials

For the National Counselor Examination (NCE), a strategic and well-prepared approach is essential for success on exam day. Here are some comprehensive tips and resources that can help you pass the exam:

  1. Understand the Importance and Structure of the NCE: Recognizing the significance of the NCE is crucial. It’s a recognition of your expertise, commitment to ethical practice, and a key to professional development and employment opportunities in the mental health field​​.
  2. Prepare Thoroughly with the Right Materials: Engaging with comprehensive study materials, such as Dr. Arthur’s and Dr. Howard Rosenthal’s exam prep resources, can significantly boost your preparation. These resources include a vast array of practice questions, simulations, and detailed content reviews covering all the necessary topics outlined in the NCE syllabus. Phone consultations and money-back guarantees are also available, adding extra value to these study aids​​.
  3. Utilize a Structured Study Guide and Schedule: A well-structured study guide and a consistent study schedule are pivotal. It’s important to break down the syllabus into smaller sections and use various resources such as textbooks, online courses, and study groups to supplement your learning. Practice tests under timed conditions are highly recommended to simulate exam conditions and build confidence​​.
  4. Exam Day Strategies: Prioritize sleep and nutrition to ensure you are in the best condition physically and mentally. Read all instructions carefully, manage your time wisely during the exam, and stay calm. If you encounter a challenging question, it’s better to move on and return to it later, rather than getting stuck​​.
  5. Select the Right Preparation Path for You: Whether it’s through self-paced courses, practice exams, or interactive study materials, choosing the right study tools that cater to your learning style is crucial. Resources like the ones offered by provide different options for tutoring and courses, ensuring you can prepare with purpose and determination​​.
  6. Acknowledge the Test’s Significance: Accepting the importance of this exam and dedicating yourself to a focused preparation plan can make a difference. Custom study plans and courses designed to cover the NCE Outline comprehensively, including the new domains and DSM 5-TR changes, can help you navigate through the material more effectively​​.

Remember, the journey to becoming a National Certified Counselor is significant, and using these tips and resources effectively can greatly enhance your chances of passing the NCE. Consistency, proper planning, and the right study materials are the keys to success.

Post-Exam: Next Steps

After completing the National Counselor Examination (NCE), there are several strategies and steps you can take to continue your professional development and ensure readiness for your career in counseling.

After taking the National Counselor Examination (NCE), consider the following strategies and next steps:

  • Reflect on Your Exam Performance: Use self-reflection tools to understand your performance on the NCE. Consider what areas you excelled in and what areas need improvement. Tools like the Exam Reflection Self-Assessment can help identify your strengths and weaknesses​​.
  • Review and Correct Mistakes: Go through each question you had difficulty with and understand why. Correcting your mistakes will help reinforce learning and prepare you better for future exams or professional scenarios​​.
  • Engage in Post-Exam Review Sessions: If possible, participate in exam debrief sessions, either organized by your institution or study groups. This can provide insights into question types, the source of questions, and effective study strategies for similar future assessments​​.
  • Utilize Online Resources and Forums: Explore forums and websites that offer post-exam resources. These platforms can offer insights into the exam format, share experiences, and provide guidance for after the exam​​​​.
  • Continue Education and Professional Development: Look into further education opportunities and professional development workshops to enhance your counseling skills. Continuous learning is key to staying updated with best practices in the counseling field.
  • Seek Feedback and Guidance: If you have access to your exam results or can receive feedback, use this information to guide your studies or professional development. Feedback from educators or peers can provide valuable insights into how you can improve.
  • Plan for Certification or Licensure: If the NCE was a step towards licensure or certification, research the next steps you need to take. This may include submitting paperwork, completing additional training, or gaining supervised experience.
  • Join Professional Counseling Organizations: Becoming a member of professional organizations can provide networking opportunities, resources, and continued education credits that are beneficial for your career development.
  • Set Career Goals: Based on your NCE experience and where you see yourself in the counseling profession, set short-term and long-term career goals. This will help guide your professional journey and development.
  • Maintain a Positive Outlook: Regardless of your exam outcome, maintain a positive outlook and recognize the experience as a valuable step in your professional development. Every experience offers an opportunity to learn and grow.

Each of these steps can play a crucial role in your post-exam process, helping you to not only reflect on and learn from your exam experience but also to prepare for your future career in counseling.


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