Maryland Counselor License Exam

To get licensed in Maryland, Professional Counselors are required to take an exam covering such subjects as human growth and development, psychopathology, group therapy and professional ethics. Whether you live in Baltimore, Columbia, Germantown 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 Maryland. Licenses are granted by the Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene .

To qualify to become a licensed professional counselor in Maryland, the following must be met:
  • Obtain a graduate degree in counseling from an accredited school meeting credit limits. Meet supervised clinical experience requirements. For applicants with Master’ degrees, three years with a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice, with at least three years post graduate experience is required. Applicants with doctorates need two years with a minimum of 2,000 hours. 1,000 hours must be completed after the doctorate degree has been awarded.
  • Pass the NCE (National Counselor Exam)  and the Maryland State Law test.
How to Apply for Licensure

An application for licensure and other documentation can be obtained online. All documents must be sent to:

Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors and Therapists
4201 Patterson Avenue, 3rd Floor
Baltimore, MD 21215

1-410-358-1610 (fax)

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 is 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 registration information is available online.

Test Content of the Maryland State Law Test:

The applicant will receive the state law content outline upon approval of their submitted Maryland licensure application. The state law exam is administered at the Board office on the third Wednesday and fourth Thursday of each month.

License or Certification 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 must be completed every two years.


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

And take's free NCE Practice Test.

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