Tennessee Counselor License Exam

To get licensed in Tennessee, 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 Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, 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 Tennessee.  Licenses are granted by the Tennessee Department of health, Board of Licensed Professional Counselors.

To qualify to become a licensed professional counselor in Tennessee the following must be met:
  • Obtain a graduate degree in counseling from an accredited school meeting credit limits.
  • Obtain a minimum of two years of supervised post-graduate experience not less than ten hours per week and fifty hours of supervision per year. For a total of 1,000 clinical hours and one hundred total hours of supervision.
  • An applicant must earn a passing score on the NCE (National Counselor Exam)
    and the Tennessee Jurisprudence exam
How to Apply for Licensure

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

Board for Professional Counselors and Therapists
227 French Landing, Suite 300
Nashville, TN 37243

1-615-532-3202, Ext. 25138
1-800-778-4123, Ext. 25138
1-615-532-5369 (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 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.

The exam is administered by Pearson VUE.
Test content of the Tennessee Jurisprudence exam is not available until the candidate’s application is approved.
License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

To renew a license, regulations require  20 clock hours of continuing education in acceptable courses and programs offered by approved Continuing Education providers 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.