National Counselor Exam Data

Periodically (it’s been about every ten years), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) conducts a survey of practicing NBCC certified counselors. This survey is designed to ascertain what functions, work behaviors, and in what specialty areas of counseling, the respondents are performing. This job analysis is designed to provide input to the National Counselor Examination (NCE) so that the exam items accurately represent the counseling world as reported by the survey respondents. The exam shows this by the content and work behavior areas represented on the exam and the number of items in each of these. The number in each of the areas is determined by the amount of involvement of survey respondents in each of these areas.

The eight content areas and five work behavior areas are listed in my Study Guide for the National Counselor Examination and CPCE. The NCE Practice Exam of 200 items in my Study Guide accurately apportions the number of items in each of the eight content areas. For example, on the National Counselor Exam only 11 items come from the Social and Cultural Diversity area while 36 items on the exam come from Helping Relationships which includes counseling theories, techniques and family counseling.  Remember, 40 of the items on the NCE are developmental/experimental and not scored for you.

If you are preparing for this exam, do note the differential number of items in the eight content areas. Don’t assume the eight areas are all represented equally. Also, the five Work Behavior areas are subsumed under the eight content areas. There is no need to try and parcel out the content area items into Work Behavior areas. By studying the broad range of content in the eight areas, you will automatically be studying the five Work Behavior domains.

Some additional information is presented by NBCC (www.nbcc.org) regarding the results of the October 13, 2012 (not 2013) national exam administration. A total of 2681 individuals took the exam. Of those, 2243 passed. Thus the percentage of test takers who passed the NCE was 83.6%.

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