National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)

The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) is an examination managed by NBCC. The examination consists of 10 simulated clinical mental health counseling cases that are designed to sample a broad area of competencies, not merely the recall of isolated facts. The cases assess clinical problem-solving ability, including identifying, analyzing, diagnosing and treating clinical issues. Each case is divided into approximately five to eight sections that are classified as either information gathering or decision-making. The areas covered by the exam are listed here.

NCMHCE Change Announcement

The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) has completed its most recent job analysis of the work performed by professional counselors. The purpose of NBCC's recurring job analyses is to ensure that the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) is based on an accurate understanding of the practice of professional counseling. The NCMHCE has been revised to incorporate the practice changes identified by the job analysis, ensuring that the NCMHCE continues to perform effectively as the standard for professional counselor licensure and certification.

The job analysis data will be used to construct the September and October 2012 version of the NCMHCE. The job analysis domains are:

  1. Assessment and Diagnosis;
  2. Counseling and Psychotherapy; and
  3. Administration, Consultation and Supervision.

Current NCMHCE items will be reclassified to match these job analysis domains. New items will be developed and utilized after thorough psychometric validation. The structure and content of the NCMHCE will continue to fully reflect the practice of professional counseling as identified by job analysis and professional education requirements.

NCMHCE for National Certification and State Counselor Licensure

The NCMHCE is primarily used for two purposes: national certification as a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC) and state counselor licensure. For information about taking the examination for national certification as a CCMHC, please click here. To determine if your state board uses the NCMHCE for licensure purposes, click here.

NCMHCE for Counselors Interested in employment within the Army Substance Abuse Program

Some individuals may be interested in this examination for the purpose of potential employment within the military, such as with the Army Substance Abuse Program, or for individuals who seek to be credentialed as a TRICARE Certified Mental Health Counselor. Eligibility for a particular position is not guaranteed.

Army Substance Abuse Program: For more information, please visit or Please direct employment qualification questions to the contact person listed in the job announcement. To download the NCMHCE Registration form, please click here.

NCMHCE for Tricare's Certified Mental Health Counselor

TRICARE Certified Mental Health Counselor: For more information, please visit Please direct TRICARE certification qualification questions to the TRICARE Management Activities Office. To download the NCMHCE Military Registration Form, please click here.