The following provides an overview of important program and credentialing exams, but please review to the Student Handbook for more detailed information.
Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE)
As part of their degree completion, graduation, and program exit requirements, all students must sit for and pass the written Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). The CPCE is a standardized national exam used by hundreds of counselor preparation programs to assess graduation candidates’ counseling competency to ensure their adequate preparation to clinically practice. Students will typically sit for the CPCE in the last or second-to-last semester of the program, but at a minimum, they should have completed [or be enrolled in] all eight subject areas assessed by the CPCE and be in enrolled in practicum or internship.
The CPCE is offered every semester, and students should discuss and plan with their advisors when they will take this exam. Information is emailed at the start of every semester regarding registration and sitting for the exam in that semester.
The program’s curriculum and materials should adequately prepare all students to sit for and pass the CPCE. It is recommended, however, that students consider the purchase of additional study materials. The Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE) provides a list of recommended texts, and the program has identified comprehensive study guides that are designed for and aligned with the exam, which can be found listed in the Student Handbook under the section pertaining to the CPCE.
Passing scores for the exam are determined by the program and based on the exam’s national average score bi-annually provided by the CCE, which means they will fluctuate every semester. A clear pass on the exam is generally one standard deviation below the current national average or higher.
National Counselor Examination (NCE)
The National Counselor Exam (NCE) is only required of Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the 60-credit School Counseling degree students as part of their application for clinical licensure. It is therefore not a requirement of the program or for graduation, and students may then choose to take the exam either while enrolled in the program or following graduation. For those students who choose to take it while enrolled, they must meet the same criteria above to sit for the CPCE and are therefore advised to take it concurrent with the CPCE.
The NCE is only offered during the fall and spring semesters, and students should discuss and plan with their advisors when they will take this exam. Information is emailed at the start of the fall semester for the spring exam and during the spring semester for the fall exam.
The program’s curriculum and materials should also adequately prepare all students to sit for and pass the NCE. It is recommended, however, that students consider the purchase of additional study materials, and the same resources listed above for the CPCE will suffice for NCE preparation.
Passing scores for the exam are determined by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), and students may learn more about NBCC and the NCE on the NBCC website.
Licensure and Certification
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Licensure
Kentucky has two levels of clinical counselor licensure: The initial level, which is Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA), and the advanced level, which is Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC).
All graduates – upon their degree conferral – of EKU’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree track and its 60-credit School Counseling degree track are eligible to immediately apply for their LPCA. Graduates will independently do so by visiting the state’s Licensure Board website. The LPCA application includes an online application; an application fee; and verification of the individual’s degree, education, training, clinical hours, supervision, and criminal background check. All questions or technical assistance required with the LPCA application should be directed to the Board, and their contact information can be found on their home webpage. Students should begin reviewing and preparing their licensure application during their final semester in the program to avoid delays in their licensure application process and approval.
Once graduates have obtained their LPCA, they may begin work toward their LPCC. The LPCC requires a minimum of 4,000 post-master’s hours of clinical counseling experience under board-approved supervision (i.e., an LPCC-S). Of these 4,000 hours, at least 1,600 hours must be in direct counseling practice and 100 hours must be of individual, face-to-face supervision. LPCAs must also, again, sit/have sat for the NCE and pass/have passed it as part of their LPCC application. Once LPCAs have completed these requirements, they may apply for their LPCC to the Board through their website.
School Counseling Certification
In Kentucky, the entity who certifies school counselors is the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB). EPSB establishes the criteria for professionals working in the PK-12 educational setting to hold their respective roles and work with students. They further bestow and monitor these professionals’ certifications for their respective roles. EPSB has two levels of school counseling certification: The initial level, which is the Provisional Certificate in School Counseling, and the advanced level, which is the Standard Certificate in School Counseling.
All graduates – upon their degree conferral – of either of EKU’s School Counseling degree tracks (i.e., 36 or 60 credits) are eligible to immediately apply for their Provisional Certificate. EKU helps – through the office of Professional Education Services (PES) – with the Provisional Certificate and other certification-related (e.g., Rank change) processes to all enrolled students. School counseling students should begin/complete their certification application process during their final semester of the program. Students can visit PES’ website to learn more about the certification application or other certification changes processes. Brandy Blackburn is the person in PES who can specifically help with this process, and her information is as follows:
Brandy Blackburn, MPA
Combs Building, Rm. 425
(859) 622 – 1544 | firstname.lastname@example.org