Illinois Counselor License Exam

NCE - LPC Practice Test To get licensed in Illinois, Professional Counselors are required to take an exam covering such subjects as assessment and diagnosis, counseling and psychotherapy and professional ethics. Whether you live in Chicago, Aurora, Rockford 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 Illinois.  Licenses are granted by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

To qualify to become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois, the following must be met:How to Apply for Licensure

An application for licensure and other documentation can be obtained online. All documents must be sent to:

Professional Counselor Licensing and Disciplinary Board
320 W. Washington Street, 3rd Floor
Springfield, IL 62786

1-217-524-6735 (TDD)
1-217-782-7645 (fax)

Test Content of the NCE

The NCE measures the applicants’ knowledge of the following eight content areas:
  1. The psychology of human growth and development
  2. Socio-cultural diversity
  3. Establishing helping relationships
  4. Group dynamics and group therapy
  5. Career goals and development
  6. Assessment  of psychopathology and treatment needs
  7. Research methods and program evaluation
  8. Professional orientation and ethical practice.
The applicant’s knowledge of the following five work areas are also measured by the NCE:
  1. Fundamental issues in counseling
  2. The process of counseling
  3. Diagnostic and assessment services
  4. Professional practice issues
  5. Ongoing professional development and the need for clinical supervision and consultation.
The exam consists of 200 questions, 40 of which are not scored, but are included for purpose of research.  The actual score is based on 160 questions.  The number of questions the applicant must get correct to pass varies between test versions. Four hours are given to complete the exam.
For more information, see the NCE Candidate Handbook.

How to Apply to Take the Exam

Apply online to take the NCE.

Test content of the NCMHCE

The NCMHCE consists of ten hypothetical clinical mental health counseling cases.  The cases are clinical simulations that use a multiple select/correct format where there are multiple options as possible correct answers.  The questions are centered on the ten cases and explore the nuances of the particular case.  The NCMHCE assesses an applicant’s ability to engage in clinical problem solving, including the identification, analysis, diagnosis and treatment of clinical issues.

Each of the ten cases is divided into five to eight sections and classified either as information gathering or decision making activities. The sections on Information gathering evaluate a candidate’s ability to gather clinical data that is needed in the decision making process.  The sections on decision making evaluate a candidate’s ability to solve clinical problems using data.

The ten cases cover three content areas:

Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Integration of client assessment and observational date
  • Identification of precipitating problems/symptoms
  • Identification of level of individual or relationship functioning
  • Identification of pertinent familial issues 
Counseling and Psychotherapy
  • Imparting information to the client about ethical standards and practice
  • Clarification of roles of the counselor and client
  • Apply individual counseling in accordance with the treatment plan
  • Evaluation of referral information
Administration, Consultation and Supervision
  • Maintenance of client records
  • Determine if counseling services being delivered are meeting client needs
  • Communicate orally with others to maintain professional communication
  • Assistance clients to connect with needed social services
Each of the ten cases in the NCMHCE is scored a +/- 3 which is based upon appropriate client/patient care. A passing score is above the minimum required for both the information gathering and decision making sections.

 How to Apply to Take the Exam

You can find the registration information for NCMHCE  online, or write:

The National Board of Certified Counselors
3 Terrace Way
Greensboro, North Carolina 27403-3660

(336) 547-0607
The exam is administered by Pearson VUE.
The state of Illinois will also accept a passing score on the CRC exam. for the LPC.

Test content of the CRC:

The test content of the CRC exam is composed of questions measuring 10 knowledge domains of rehabilitation counseling, each of which is subdivided into subdomains.
  1. Assessment, Appraisal, and Vocational Evaluation
  2. Job Development, Job Placement, and Career/Lifestyle Development
  3. Vocational Consultation and Services for Employers
  4. Case Management, Professional Roles and Practices, and Utilizing Community Resources
  5. Fundamental Counseling principles, Professional Orientation and ethics, counseling theories, Social and Cultural Issues, and Human Growth and Development
  6. Principles of Group and Family Counseling
  7. Principles of Mental Health Counseling
  8. Medical/ Functional/Psychosocial Aspects of Disability
  9. Management of Disability
  10. Research, Program Evaluation, and Evidence-Based Practice
CRC Exam Structure

The CRC Exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions. The applicant is allowed three hours and 30 minutes to complete the exam, within an eight day testing window. It is recommended that applicants reserve four hours for time to check in, review test instructions, and a tutorial to become familiar with using the computer test system,

CRC Exam Scoring

The CRC Exam is scored based on two components: the applicant’s knowledge of counseling, and rehabilitation and disability. Both parts must earn a passing score,

How to Apply to Take the Exam

You can find the registration information and the CRC application and other documents  online, or write:

Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
1699 E. Woodfield Road
Suite 300
Schaumburg, IL 60173

Phone: 847-944-1325
Fax: 847-944-1346
License 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 every two year renewal period, for either the LPC, or LCPC.


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.
Quality starts with who wrote the material.
Our practice exam writer
Diane Dean, LPC, RN-BC, MA,
is a licensed professional counselor and educator with 20 years experience in healthcare. She has taught at many colleges and universities, including the University of Pittsburgh.

Stacy Fruhling, LCPC, LCADC, NCC, MAC,
is an adjunct professor in psychology and counseling at the Ann Arundel Community College and the Community College of Baltimore.

Lisa Slade, MS, LPC, NCC,
is an adjunct professor in psychology, counseling, sociology and human services at Caldwell University in the Graduate School of Psychology, at the University of Bridgeport and at the Housatonic Community College.


The NCE contains 200 multiple-choice, non-sectioned questions. There are different versions of the test. Test questions come from a pool of questions that have been extensively reviewed and researched for content accuracy and clarity.

Below are the six domains tested by the NBCC on the NCE:
• Professional Practice & Ethics
• Intake Assessment and Diagnosis
• Areas of Clinical Focus
• Treatment Planning
• Counseling Skills and Interventions
• Core Counseling Attributes
Covering the eight CACREP Common Core Areas::
• Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice
• Social and Cultural Diversity
• Human Growth and Development
• Career Development
• Counseling and Helping Relationships
• Group Counseling and Group Work
• Assessment and Testing
• Research and Program Evaluation