Clinical Psychology - Masters Degree

Professional Counselor Licensure Questions

Which national exams do we need to take as part of our application for licensure?

ANSWER: The two most widely used licensure exams are the National Counselor Exam (NCE) given by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and the Practice Exam of Psychological Knowledge (PEPK) given by the Northamerican Association of Master's in Psychology (NAMP). Both are briefly described below.

NBCC and the NCE

The NBCC has two transcript review processes: (1) to determine if applicants wishing to take a state licensure exam meet the degree requirements to sit for the exam and (2) to determine whether persons with an LPC meet the requirements for the NCC (National Certified Counselor) credential. The first review process applies to MU graduates seeking the LPC. LPC degree requirements are determined by the Pennsylvania Board of Professional Counselors and they are the standards one must meet when submitting a Pennsylvania Examination Registration Form (see weblink below).

NBCC's Examinations Department reviews transcripts from applicants to determine whether they meet the degree requirements to register for the Pennsylvania state licensing exam (NCE). The only requirement for the NCE is that the individual's master's degree is conferred. Below is a link to the NBCC website to register for the NCE exam:

At this link, enter “ Pennsylvania ” and get a list of dates for the NCE, usually July and October in Harrisburg.

NCC (National Certified Counselor) credential ( after licensure): The NBCC also reviews transcripts from persons with an LPC to determine whether they meet requirements for the NCC (National Certified Counselor). This is a voluntary credential held by over 40,000 counselors. Standards for the NCC are set by NBCC, not state licensing boards.

After getting licensed with the LPC, you can apply for the NCC designation by submitting an Option D application which does not have coursework requirements. The only educational requirement for the NCC designation under Option D is a master's degree in a mental health field from a regionally accredited university.

Questions about the NBCC's credentialing processes can be directed to the Credentialing Services Administrator, Ms. Pam Leary via e-mail at, or via phone at 336-547-0607.

NAMP and the PEPK

The PEPK (Practice Exam of Psychological Knowledge) given by the Northamerican Association of Master's in Psychology (NAMP) is another licensure exam described in the regulations. PEPK focuses on coursework typical of clinical, as opposed to counseling, programs and it may be more relevant than the NCE to graduates of clinical, as opposed to counseling, programs. Here is the PEPK link:

To summarize licensure exam information:

  1. If you wish to get licensed under the LPC statute, you can contact NBCC to take the NCE OR NAMP to take the PEPK. After the exam has been taken and your licensure application is complete, the PA state licensure board will review your credentials and transcripts to determine if coursework and credit requirements for licensure were met.
  2. After you have your license (LPC), you may apply to the NBCC for the NCC under Option D which does NOT have coursework requirements. Option D is useful for graduates from clinical, as opposed to counseling, programs. The NCC is not required and is NOT part of the licensure process described above.

Where can additional information be obtained?

Read the licensure regulations at: Click on "search" then click on "March 2, 2008" and scroll down the table of contents to read the regulations. OR

Call the State Board at (717) 783-1389

Get licensure applications at