Iowa Counselor License Exam

To get licensed in Iowa, Professional Counselors are required to take an exam covering such subjects as assessment and diagnosis, counseling and psychotherapy and professional ethics. Whether you live in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport or another city or county, 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 Iowa. Licenses are granted by the Board of Behavioral Science.

To qualify to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Iowa the following must be met:How to Apply for Licensure

An application for licensure and other documentation can be obtained and submitted online. Or you may contact:

Board of Behavioral Science
Lucas State Office Building, 5th Floor
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

1-515-281-4422
1-515-281-3121 (fax)
www.idph.state.ia.us/licensure/

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 and program 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.

Test content of the NCMHCE
 
The NCMHCE consists of ten hypothetical clinical mental health counseling cases.  The cases are clinical simulations that use a multiple select/correct format where there are multiple options as possible correct answers.  The questions are centered on the ten cases and explore the nuances of the particular case.  The NCMHCE assesses an applicant’s ability to engage in clinical problem solving, including the identification, analysis, diagnosis and treatment of clinical issues.

Each of the ten cases is divided into five to eight sections and classified either as information gathering or decision making activities. The sections on Information gathering evaluate a candidate’s ability to gather clinical data that is needed in the decision making process.  The sections on decision making evaluate a candidate’s ability to solve clinical problems using data.

The ten cases cover three content areas:

Assessment and Diagnosis

  • Integration of client assessment and observational date
  • Identification of precipitating problems/symptoms
  • Identification of level of individual or relationship functioning
  • Identification of pertinent familial issues
Counseling and Psychotherapy
  • Imparting information to the client about ethical standards and practice
  • Clarification of roles of the counselor and client
  • Apply individual counseling in accordance with the treatment plan
  • Evaluation of referral information
Administration, Consultation and Supervision
  • Maintenance of client records
  • Determine if counseling services being delivered are meeting client needs
  • Communicate orally with others to maintain professional communication
  • Assistance clients to connect with needed social services
Each of the ten cases in the NCMHCE is scored a +/- 3 which is based upon appropriate client/patient care. A passing score is above the minimum required for both the information gathering and decision making sections.

 How to Apply to Take the Exam

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

The National Board of Certified Counselors
3 Terrace Way
Greensboro, North Carolina 27403-3660
 
1-(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, which must be completed every two year license renewal period.

______________________________________________________

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.

Bookmark Page