Pennsylvania Counselor License Exam

NCE - LPC Practice Test

To get licensed in Pennsylvania, 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 Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, 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 Pennsylvania. Licenses are granted by the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage, and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors

To qualify to become a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania, the following must be met:

  • Obtain a graduate degree in counseling from an accredited school meeting credit limits.
  • Meet supervised clinical experience requirements, 50% of which must be in:
    • Assessment.
    • Counseling.
    • Therapy.
    • Psychotherapy.
    • Other therapeutic interventions.
    • Consultation.
    • Family therapy.
    • Group therapy
  • Pass the NCE (National Counselor Exam)

How to Apply for Licensure

An application for licensure must be submitted on forms provided by the PA Board. of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors. The application licensure fee must be submitted by check or money order, payable to the ‘‘Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.’’   Two certificates of recommendation on forms furnished by the Board are needed, and an affirmation signed by the applicant verifying the information on the application. is true and correct.  The application for licensure can be obtained by contacting the Board as follows:

State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors 
Post Office Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649

(717) 783-1389

Test Content of the NCE

The NCE consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and is administered over a four-hour period. The NCE covers the following six knowledge, skill and task domains:

  • Professional Practice and Ethics
  • Intake, Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Areas of Clinical Focus
  • Treatment Planning
  • Counseling Skills and Interventions
  • Core Counseling Attributes

The questions are aligned to the following CACREP Common Core Areas:

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Social and Cultural Diversity
  • Counseling and Helping Relationships
  • Group Counseling and Group Work
  • Career Development
  • Assessment and Testing
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice

For more information, see the NCE Candidate Handbook.

How to Apply to Take the Exam

Apply online to take the NCE.

License or Certification Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

To renew a license, regulations require 30 clock hours of continuing education in acceptable courses and programs offered by approved Continuing Education providers must be completed, including at least three hours on professional ethics. Up to 20 hours may be acquired from home study e.g., on- line webinars, reading and testing. Hours over 30 may not be carried over into the next licensure renewal period.

For more information on licensing and exam prep, go to's NCE Guide.

And take's free NCE Practice Test.

For counseling exam preparation products and services, such as study guides, practice tests, flashcards and courses, go to's NCE listings.