Program Testing

Program Testing, Certification, & Licensure


All students MUST take the Comprehensive Exam (CPCE). There is NO substituting the NCE for the CPCE. If you fail the CPCE, and if you have taken the NCE and successfully passed it, then the Department Chair will determine if the NCE score can be used.

Again, you must take the CPCE and pass. If you fail, and if you have taken and passed the NCE, then a decision will be made.

The purpose of the comprehensive examination process is to help students synthesize their learning about counseling and to ensure that students have a thorough understanding of professional attitudes, skills, and knowledge related to eight common-core areas as defined by CACREP’s Standards for Preparation. Evaluation of students’ examinations will provide students’ graduate committees’ opportunities to appraise students’ academic preparation.

Description of the CPCE

The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is an objective test based on 8 core curriculum areas.  The CPCE was developed by the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE), an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselor (NBCC). This is a knowledge-based examination that reflects the eight core curriculum areas approved by CACREP. The exam is a summative evaluation that measures pertinent and professional knowledge acquired by students during their counselor preparation programs. Preparation for the CPCE will also help students prepare for the National Counselor Exam (NCE). The NCE is required in most states for individuals seeking Licensed Professional Counseling (LPC) credentials.

The CPCE consists of 160 items with 20 items per CACREP area. The exam is administered in whole and not by sections. 

The 8 core curriculum areas of the CPCE are:

  • Human Growth and Development – studies that provide an understanding of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels.
  • Social and Cultural Foundations – studies that provide an understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society.
  • Helping Relationships – studies that provide an understanding of counseling and consultation processes.
  • Group Work – studies that provide an understanding of group development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group work approaches.
  • Career and Lifestyle Development - studies that provide an understanding  of career development and related life factors.
  • Appraisal – studies that provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation.
  • Research and Program Evaluation - studies that provide an understanding of types of research methods, basic statistics, and ethical and legal considerations in research.
  •  Professional Orientation and Ethics – studies that provide an understanding of all aspects of professional functioning including history, roles, organizational structures, ethics, standards, and credentialing.             

Detailed descriptions of the core areas are found at

Criterion for Passing

The scoring for the CPCE uses the Total Score (not a score for each section). The criteria for passing the exam will be one standard deviation lower than the mean score of all students taking the exam (e.g., if the mean score is 100 and the standard deviation is 10, a passing score would be 90). As we have done in the past, students will be able to re-take the exam if they do not pass it the first time. The retake will involve the entire exam.

Students should consult with their advisors regarding their readiness to take the exam. It is advisable that students complete the courses that cover the eight core areas listed below.

Cancellation and Rescheduling Policy

If you are unable to sit for your scheduled exam, you must cancel with Pearson VUE at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled testing session (SEA recipients must cancel appointments with a Pearson VUE representative by phone). You may reschedule your appointment at the time of your cancellation, or at a later date for a fee of $50. You are only permitted to reschedule for a date that falls within your authorization window. If you do not reschedule your appointment at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment or within your authorization window, you forfeit all examination fees. Exam fees will not be refunded under any circumstance.

Retest Policy

If you need to RETAKE THE EXAM, you will log into your Pearson VUE account at, check your eligibility, and register/pay for the exam. DO NOT PAY for the exam again if your eligibility has expired. Make sure the eligibility is still current.


Questions Contact: Director of Clinical Field Experience & Testing

Directions for Registration:

The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE)

The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is designed to measure a student’s level of mastery of the requisite knowledge and skills identified by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and other Educational Professions (CACREP) for the preparation of professional counselors. 

CPCE Registration Directions:


(Testing at a Pearson VUE site)

*If you will be requesting exam accommodations, refer to SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS.

NOTE: If you are also taking the NCE, this is a separate registration process that must be completed in order to take the CPCE. You must register and create an account for each exam. Do not use the same username for the two accounts.

Registering with CCE:

1. Go to the CPCE registration link and fill out the required information .

DO NOT complete the CCE registration more than one time.

2. Once you complete the registration above, you will receive an “Authorization to Test” email from Pearson within 7 business days (not calendar). Be sure to check your spam and junk

folders. The email will contain your candidate ID number. Please allow 7 business days to receive your email before contacting CCE. Registrations cannot be expedited.

Registering with Pearson VUE:

(Note: The CPCE does not use private access codes.)

1. AFTER you receive the email from Pearson VUE, go to their website to create an account. (

**IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE AN EMAIL FROM PEARSON VUE after waiting 7 business days, please contact CCE at cpce@cce‐ DO NOT CREATE AN ACCOUNT with Pearson VUE until you have your Candidate ID number.

2. Once on the Pearson VUE web page, click on Create Account on the right side.

3. Create a Web Account page: Enter your first name and last name that was used with your CCE registration. Then, put in your Candidate ID number from your “Authorization to Test” email and click Next.

4. Enter your contact information. When putting in your email address, BE SURE to put the same email you used when you completed the CCE registration.

5. You will need to create a username, password, and answer security questions. YOUR USERNAME should be the email address used for the CCE registration.

6. Your pre‐approved exam will be presented. Click on the underlined exam “CPCE‐CBT Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE).”

7. ***If you will be receiving special exam accommodations, you can now click on “Sign out”.

You will need to contact the Pearson VUE Accommodations team at 800‐466‐0450 to schedule a

test date and pay via credit card or voucher number, if applicable. DO NOT PAY for your exam

online if you will be receiving accommodations.

8. “Exam Details” screen: Click on Schedule this Exam.

9. “Confirm Exam Selection” screen: Click on Proceed to Scheduling.

10. “Test Center Search” screen: Select a test center and click Next.

11. “Choose Appointment” screen: Click on a date and it will show you the times available. Click on an available time.

12. “My Order” screen: This shows the details of your appointment and price of the exam. Click on Proceed to Checkout. Keep in mind that ALL FEES ARE NON‐REFUNDABLE. DO NOT PAY for the exam unless you are ready to test.

13. “Checkout‐Step 1: Confirm Personal Information”: Your name must exactly match the identification that is presented at the test center (first and last name). Click on Next.

14. “Checkout‐Step 2: Agree to Policies”: Read over the CCE policies, check the box at the bottom right and click Next.

15. “Checkout‐Step 3: Enter Payment”: Enter credit card information and then you will see your Order Total. Click on Next.

 (If your school has provided you with a voucher number, click on “Add Voucher or Promo Code and enter the voucher number.)

16. “Checkout‐Step 4: Submit Order”: Review everything and then click on Submit Order.

17. REMEMBER YOUR USERNAME AND PASSWORD. You will need this on the day of the exam.

               *Registrations cannot be expedited for any reason.

  • You can test up to 3 times within the 6 month eligibility period as long as your eligibility has not expired. You must pay for the exam each time you test.
  • If you need to make any EDITS/CHANGES to your demographic information that was exported to Pearson VUE, send an email to cpce@cce‐ with the corrections and it will be updated.
  • If your ELIGIBILITY EXPIRES and you have not paid for the exam, ask your school to email the CPCE Program Coordinator (Laura Hall) at CCE to extend your eligibility. DO NOT       COMPLETE THE CCE REGISTRATION AGAIN.
  • Once you pay for the exam, you must test on the scheduled date or your money will be forfeited. If you want to reschedule your test date and your eligibility has not expired, you will need to pay a $50 fee and contact Pearson’s customer service at least 24 hours before your test date to do.         
  • If you need to RETAKE THE EXAM, you will log into your Pearson VUE account at, check your eligibility, and register/pay for the exam. DO     NOT PAY for the exam again if your eligibility has expired. Make sure the eligibility is still current.
  • After you complete the exam, the test center will provide you with a score report. It will show your score in each content area and a total score. If you need a copy of the score report at a later time, you will need to contact customer service at Pearson VUE.

             A score roster will be sent to your school with confirmation of testing the following month after you test. They should receive it by the middle of the month. (i.e. A score roster of students who tested during the month of August will be sent to the school around September 15th.)

  • SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS: If you are approved for exam accommodations, the Disabilities Office or Student Affairs at your school should email a letter on school letterhead with your name and the accommodations you are approved to receive to Laura Hall at The letter will need to be signed and dated by the school representative. DO NOT PAY for the exam until the accommodations have been applied to your account. You will then call the Pearson VUE Accommodations team and schedule/pay over the phone.


Pearson VUE customer service is open Monday‐Friday 7:00am‐7:00pm CST. (866‐904‐4432)

National Counselor Examination For Licensure and Certification

The National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) is a 200-item multiple-choice examination designed to assess knowledge, skills and abilities determined to be important for providing effective counseling services. The NCE is a requirement for counselor licensure in many states. It is also one of two examination options for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) certification. It may also be accepted by military health systems to become a recognized provider.

The NCE was first used in 1983 as part of the NCC application process, and continues to undergo regular review and development to ensure it represents the current reality of practice and research in the counseling profession.

Test takers are required to review the examination handbook prior to sitting for an examination. and must adhere to the policies within it. Handbooks for the NCE and NCMHCE are located on the NBCC website at

To register for the NCE:

Make sure you complete the UNCC Department of Counseling Application through a link in SurveyShare sent by the Director of Clinical Field Experience & Testing. The test will occur at an approved Pearson Test Center off-campus.  Once you complete the department's application, we will send the roster to NBCC. Next they will contact you via email with additional NCE registration details.

The NCE is typically taken during the student’s final semester of graduate study. ______________________________________________________________________________

Questions about the CPCE or NCE:

Contact: Director of Clinical Field Experience & Testing

Dr. John C. Nance


PRAXIS (for School Counseling Licensure)
Students seeking licensure as school counselors (K-12) in North Carolina must take the Counseling specialty section of the PRAXIS II (#5421) exam. The passing score for certification is 156. Students must register to take the PRAXIS. The Registration Bulletin is in the Office of TEAL located on the 1st floor in the College of Education (see Students may also get the registration bulletin on the web ( Plan to take the PRAXIS exam approximately six (6) months before certification is needed.

NOTE: The Counseling section of the PRAXIS is not offered on every examination date. You may contact ETS at to learn when the counseling section will be offered and to obtain a study guides for the test.

All school counseling students who successfully complete their program and pass PRAXIS, can apply for their NC k-12 License through the Office of Teacher Education Advising & Licensure  TEAL is located on the first floor of the Cato College of Education.

Cato College of Education, Suite 119
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28223
P: 704-687-8725
F: 704-687-1635

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday 8:00am-6:00pm

Questions about PRAXIS and k-12 Licensure:

Contact: Director of the School Counseling Program

Licensure & Certification

Upon graduating from UNC Charlotte’s CACREP Master’s program, there are two distinct licenses and certifications for which students are eligible.

Students who graduate from the School Counseling concentration are eligible, upon passing the PRAXIS exam required by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI), to be recommended for school counseling licensure (k-12) from the North Carolina DPI. All graduates are eligible to apply for the credential of Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPC-A) through the NCBLPC.

NOTE: When applying for your LPC-A, please go to the NCBLPC web site and fill out the reference to be sent to your clinical instructor which will be forwarded to them by the Board.

NOTE: We no longer fill out a hard copy (paper) forms to verify clinical hours.

LPC-A: Licensed Professional Counselor Associate: visit the board website for requirements and application information.

NCC: National Certified Counselor
The National Certified Counselor credential is achieved upon completion of the following criteria:

  1. Hold a master’s degree in Counseling from an accredited university program (CACREP)
  2. Pass the National Counselor’s Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)