NCE / CPCE Counselor

Maintained and Updated as of 2024

Select how would you like to study presents its dedicated National Counselor Exam / Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam prep module, perfect for those preparing for national or state-level counselor licensure exams.

This module features 400+ original practice questions for the NCE and CPCE written exclusively for Each question is paired with a clear and useful explanation to ensure understanding of the correct answer for every question.

The questions cover all categories on the NCE and CPCE exams, including:

  • 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

This module also covers all five of the basic work behaviors identified by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC):

  • Fundamentals of Counseling
  • Assessment and Career Counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Programmatic and Clinical Intervention
  • Professional Practice Issues is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by the NBCC, the Center for Credentialing and Education, or any other organization.


The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is a standardized exam used to assess the knowledge and skills of individuals seeking to become licensed professional counselors. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is a professional organization that sets standards for the counseling profession and provides certification to individuals who meet those standards. The NCE covers various topics relevant to the counseling profession, including human development, social and cultural diversity, counseling theories and techniques, and assessment and diagnosis. It is typically taken by individuals seeking to become licensed as a professional counselor in their state, and passing the exam is often a requirement for licensure.

The NCE exam contains 200 questions (160 scored, 40 unscored) divided across the following six categories: Professional Practice and Ethics (19 questions, 12%), Intake, Assessment, and Diagnosis (19 questions, 12%), Areas of Clinical Focus (47 questions, 29%), Treatment Planning (14 questions, 9%), Counseling Skills and Interventions (48 questions, 30%),and Core Counseling Attributes (13 questions, 8%). The CPCE exam contains 160 questions (136 scored, 24 unscored) divided across the following eight categories: Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice (17 questions, 12.5%), Social and Cultural Diversity (17 questions, 12.5%), Human Growth and Development (17 questions, 12.5%), Career Development (17 questions, 12.5%), Counseling and Helping Relationships (17 questions, 12.5%), Group Counseling and Group Work (17 questions, 12.5%), Assessment and Testing (17 questions, 12.5%), Research and Program Evaluation (17 questions, 12.5%).

Each part of the NCE Counselor exam is 3 hours and 45 minutes long. The CPCE exam is also 3 hours and 45 minutes long.

Passing the NCE Counselor exam is required in most states in order to pursue counselor licensure. The CPCE Counselor exam is intended to evaluate test takers’ knowledge of core concepts taught in counselor education programs.

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Ted Chan

Ted Chan

Managing Editor

Ted Chan is the Managing Editor of Ted has experience as a journalist and a writer, including editorial or content production roles at ESPN, Better Business Bureau, The Boston Globe, and Forbes. Ted holds a BA from Swarthmore College with High Honors, and a MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Ted also studied at the Harvard Business School, earning a Certificate in Value-based Health Care Delivery.

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