Illinois Mental Health Counselors

Illinois Counselor Licensure

Illinois has two levels of licensure.  This is an overall guide to Illinois counselor licensure.
For specifics please refer to the licensure law and rules.


(LPC) Licensed Professional Counselor -No Experience required

(LCPC) Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

1,680 hours of work per year x 2 years = 3,360 hours

960 hours of face to face counseling = 1,920 hours


Supervision Log Blank Template

Supervision Log Example

(LPC) Licensed Professional Counselor -requires no experience or supervision

(LCPC) Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

c)         A qualified supervisor means any person who is a licensed clinical professional counselor, licensed clinical social worker, licensed clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist as defined in Section 1-121 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code.  If supervision took place outside Illinois, the supervisor shall be a master's level or doctoral level counselor engaged in clinical professional counseling, clinical social work, clinical psychology or psychiatry.  The supervisor shall hold an active license if the jurisdiction in which the supervisor practices requires licensure.


1)         The supervisor shall have met with the applicant at least one hour each week.  The supervision means the review of counseling and case management.

g)         Acceptable modes for supervision of direct client contact are as follows:

1)         Individual supervision: the supervisory session is conducted by an approved supervisor with one or two counselors  present.

2)         Group supervision: the supervisory session is conducted by an approved supervisor with no more than 5 counselors present.





The exams for Illinois licensure are:
NCE Exam to become a LPC
NCE Exam AND NCMHCE Exam to become a LCPC
     If you have already taken and passed the NCE exam you do not need to retake it to become a LCPC.
     You do not need to become a LPC to become a LCPC but you still need to pass both exams.
     Licensure Examination Rules.


The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is an examination managed by NBCC.

The exam is offered in different ways.
Some universities offer the exam through their university for their current graduate students prior to graduation.

It is also offered as part of the Illinois licensure process.  In this situation the exam is available after being approved for counselor licensure by IDFPR.

The NCE is comprised of 200 multiple choice questions and is scheduled for a four-hour period.

Content Areas for the NCE

  1. Content Areas & Work Behaviors
    • Human Growth and Development
    • Social and Cultural Foundations
    • Helping Relationships
    • Group Work
    • Career and Lifestyle Development
    • Appraisal
    • Research and Program Evaluation
    • Professional Orientation & Ethics
  2. In addition, the NCE is based on the following five work behaviors:
    • Fundamentals of Counseling
    • Assessment and Career Counseling
    • Group Counseling
    • Programmatic and Clinical Intervention
    • Professional Practice Issues

Sample Test Questions


The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) is an examination managed by NBCC. The examination consists of 10 simulated clinical mental health counseling cases that are designed to sample a broad area of competencies, not merely the recall of isolated facts. The cases assess clinical problem-solving ability, including identifying, analyzing, diagnosing and treating clinical issues. Each case is divided into approximately five to eight sections that are classified as either information gathering or decision-making.

Content Areas for the NCMHCE

  1. Assessment and Diagnosis (including but not limited to):
    • Integrate client assessment and observational data
    • Identify precipitating problems or symptoms
    • Identify individual and/or relationship functioning
    • Identify relevant family issues
  2. Counseling and Psychotherapy: (including but not limited to):
    • Inform client about ethical standards and practice
    • Clarify counselor/client roles
    • Implement individual counseling in relation to a plan of treatment
    • Evaluate referral information
  3. Administration, Consultation and Supervision: (including but not limited to):
    • Maintain case notes, records, and/or files
    • Determine if services meet client’s needs
    • Correspond orally with others to maintain professional communications
    • Assist clients with obtaining social services

Scoring Procedures

  • There are ten clinical simulations on the NCMHCE.
  • Each section of each simulation problem has been classified according to the examination content outline. Each content area is further divided into two sections: Information Gathering (IG) and Decision-Making (DM).
  • IG sections assess the candidate's ability to gather appropriate clinical data required to evaluate a situation or to make a decision. DM sections assess the candidate's ability to solve clinical problems by utilizing data in rendering judgments and decisions.
  • Each option on the NCMHCE is assigned a weight ranging from +3 to -3 based on the level of appropriateness for effective client care.
  • A total score is calculated for each of the IG sections and DM sections on the examination. A candidate must obtain a total score equal to or greater than the passing total score for both the IG and DM sections in order to pass the exam.
Sample Test Questions

IMHCA offers Test Prep Review Courses.

These will prepare you for the exams.
IMHCA has offered these several times a year for 15 years with very strong positive reviews.

(LPC) The LPC requires the NCE exam.
(LCPC) Advancing to the LCPC requires the NCMHCE exam. 


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