District of Columbia Counselor License Exam

To get licensed in Washington, D.C., Professional Counselors are required to take an exam covering such subjects as human growth and development, psychopathology, group therapy and professional ethics. The resources below will help you get started on the path to receive your Professional Counselor’s license.

Need of a License: A license is needed to work as a counselor in the District of Columbia. Licenses are granted by the Department of Health, Board of Professional Counseling.

To qualify to become a licensed professional counselor in the District of Columbia, the following must be met:
  • Obtain a graduate degree in counseling from an accredited school meeting credit limits.
  • Meet supervised clinical experience requirements of 3,500 hours of post-graduate professional counseling, to be completed in not less than two years, but not more than five years. 200 hours of supervision are required, at the rate of at least 1hour of supervision for every 35 hours of practice.
  • An applicant must earn a passing score on the NCE (National Counselor Exam)
How to Apply for Licensure

An application for licensure and other documentation can be obtained online. All documents must be submitted on–line, or sent to:

Board of Professional Counseling
717 14th Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
 
1-877-672-2174
1-202-727-8471 (fax)
http://hpla.doh.dc.gov/hpla/site/default.asp

Test Content of the NCE

The NCE measures the applicants’ knowledge of the following eight content areas:
  1. The psychology of human growth and development
  2. Socio-cultural diversity
  3. Establishing helping relationships
  4. Group dynamics and group therapy
  5. Career goals and development
  6. Assessment  of psychopathology and treatment needs
  7. Research methods andprogram evaluation
  8. Professional orientation and ethical practice.
The applicant’s knowledge of the following five work areas are also measured by the NCE:
  1. Fundamental issues in counseling
  2. The process of counseling
  3. Diagnostic and assessment services
  4. Professional practice issues
  5. Ongoing professional development and the need for clinical supervision and consultation.
The exam consists of 200 questions, 40 of which are not scored, but are included for purpose of research.  The actual score is based on 160 questions.  The number of questions the applicant must get correct to pass varies between test versions. Four hours are given to complete the exam.
 
For more information, see the NCE Candidate Handbook.

How to Apply to Take the Exam

A PDF of the NCE application is available online, along with test dates.

How to Apply to Take the Exam

You can find the registration information and the NCMHCE application online, or write:

The National Board of Certified Counselors
3 Terrace Way
Greensboro, North Carolina 27403-3660

(336) 547-0607
 
The exam is administered by Pearson VUE.
 
License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

To renew a license, regulations require 40 clock hours of continuing education in acceptable courses and programs offered by approved Continuing Education providers. This includes six hours in ethics, and four hours in trauma counseling.

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For more information on licensing and exam prep, go to Tests.com's NCE Guide.

And take Tests.com's free NCE Practice Test.

For counseling exam preparation products and services, such as study guides, practice tests, flashcards and courses, go to Tests.com's 
NCE listings.

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