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National Counselor Examination

The National Counselor Examination is a requirement for counselor licensure in many states and for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) certification. The NCE is also used by the military health systems. Wheaton provides the unique opportunity for students to take this exam prior to graduation.

About the National Counselor Exam

Pursuing a career in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) often requires a state counseling license. To obtain this license, most states require individuals to meet certain qualifications such as holding a master’s degree, completing a specified number of supervised clinical training hours, and passing an examination for licensure. Many states (including Illinois) utilize the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) for their licensing exam.

NCE for Current Students

Wheaton College administers NCE and is available to students as part of the CMHC curriculum. The NCE will assess students on their knowledge, skills, and abilities as they pertain to the counseling profession. The NCE® is used by the state of Illinois and many states as the state licensure exam. Satisfactory scores on the National Counselor Examination is required if students wish to become a National Certified Counselor (NCC).

Students who are planning for the NCE should have at least 6 courses in the 8 NBCC (National Board of Certified Counselors) required content areas completed prior to taking the exam and be enrolled in the last two during their final semester of the program. Students planning to graduate during the spring or summer terms may take the exam during the last spring term of the program.

NCE Passing Rate for Wheaton College


Wheaton College Pass Rate
for CMHC Students

Mean NCE Score for Wheaton College
CMHC Students

Mean NCE Score for
CACREP Programs

Mean NCE Score for






2016 100% 129 113 94


In 2016, Wheaton College students had a passing rate of 100% on the NCE exam. Our students also scored higher at a statistically significant level (p<.05) than the mean at CACREP accredited schools and with professionals in the field. The biggest areas of strength that our students exhibited included categories such as Professional Practice, Counseling Process, Helping Relationships, and Fundamental Counseling Issues.

NCE Exam Details

Eligible students will receive an email from the NBCC indicating their eligibility. Students who are interested in taking the NCE in April must register by the preceding January. Please register following the link that was provided to you by the NBCC. Exam fees are $335.

You must use your Wheaton College email address. NBCC will contact you via email with further instructions and a website link to their online application.

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) will take place on Wheaton College campus. The exam is scheduled for 4 hours and begins at 9:00am. Special accommodations will be granted to students with specific learning or language needs, or students who cannot take the exam on a Saturday due to religious reasons.