Subject Matter Experts

Engage with NBCC’s Examination Development

NBCC examinations are developed by counselors for counselors. As an experienced counselor, you can be a part of that process by serving as a subject matter expert, or SME.

Overall Minimum Requirements

National Counselor Examination (NCE)

  • Credential: National Certified Counselor (NCC)
  • Examination: Passing score on the NCE
  • Not involved in test prep or other educational and/or required training for the NCE or NCC credential

National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)

  • Credential: National Certified Counselor (NCC)
  • Examination: Passing score on the NCMHCE
  • Not involved in test prep or other educational and/or required training for the NCMHCE or CCMHC credential

Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE)

  • Credential: National Certified Counselor (NCC)
  • Examination: Passing score on the NCE or NCMHCE
  • Not involved in test prep or other educational and/or required training for the CPCE

Board Certified Coach Examination (BCCE)

  • Credential: Board Certified Coach (BCC)
    • If you do not currently hold the BCC but are interested in serving as an SME, a member of our team can talk to you about options. Please email sme@cce-global.org.
  • Examination: Passing score on the BCCE
  • Not involved in test prep or other educational and/or required training for the BCCE or BCC credential

Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner Examination (HS-BCPE)

  • Credential: Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP)
    • If you do not currently hold the HS-BCP but are interested in serving as an SME, a member of our team can talk to you about options. Please email sme@cce-global.org.
  • Examination: Passing score on the HS-BCPE
  • Not involved in test prep or other educational and/or required training for the HS-BCPE or HS-BCP credential

TeleMental Health Examination (TMHE)

  • Credential: Board Certified-Telemental Health Provider (BC-TMH)
    • If you do not currently hold the BC-TMH but are interested in serving as an SME, a member of our team can talk to you about options. Please email sme@cce-global.org.
  • Examination: Passing score on the TMHE
  • Not involved in test prep or other educational and/or required training for the TMHE or BC-TMH credential

Opportunities to Serve

Job Analysis Committee

  • Responsibilities: Work together to develop a job analysis tool to survey the field and gather important data that will be used to inform the development of the examination. SMEs will also participate in the development of the examination specifications.
  • Available Opportunities: BCCE, TMHE
  • Compensation: This is a volunteer position.
  • Time Commitment: This is typically a 2-day virtual meeting, but it may be held in person.
  • Travel: If meetings are held in person, NBCC will cover associated travel and accommodation expenses.

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Examination Form Reviewer

After items have been written, an examination form is developed. Experienced counselors review the form to make sure there are no duplicates, questions giving the answer to other questions, or other errors.

  • Responsibilities: Work together as a group to review one or more examination forms to conduct a holistic review of the examination and ensure the suitability of all items on the planned examination form. Make revisions to items as needed according to item writing guidelines.
  • Available Opportunities: NCMHCE, NCE, CPCE
  • Education: Minimum of master’s degree in counseling from a CACREP-accredited program or from an institutionally accredited university
  • Examination: Passed the examination which you are working on
  • Credentials: NCC and/or CCMHC certification or mental health counselor license
  • Experience: 2 or more years of active practice as a licensed professional counselor or associate licensed professional counselor
  • Compensation: This is a volunteer position
  • Time Commitment: This is typically a one- to two-day virtual meeting. Every examination has one or two review meetings each year.
  • Travel: None. Meetings are held virtually.
  • Additional Requirements:
    • Demonstrated excellence with English writing skills

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Examination Appeals Committee

When a test-taker believes a question is incorrect or unfair, they can submit an appeal. A group of experienced counselors review the appeal and the test question to determine whether the question is fair.

  • Responsibilities: Review inquiries from candidates who are appealing examination content and provide subject matter expertise to evaluate the validity of the appeal and draft the appropriate response.
  • Available Opportunities: NCMHCE, NCE, CPCE
  • Education: Minimum of master’s degree in counseling from a CACREP-accredited program or from an institutionally accredited university
  • Examination: Passed the examination which you are working on
  • Credentials: NCC and/or CCMHC certification or mental health counselor license
  • Experience: 2 or more years of active practice as a licensed professional counselor or associate licensed professional counselor
  • Compensation: This is a volunteer position
  • Time Commitment: Appeals meetings occur every 1-2 months and last about 2 hours. Committee members are expected to review materials related to the appeals prior to the meeting.
  • Travel: None. Meetings are held virtually.
  • Responsibilities: Review test-taker appeals and recommend whether an appeal should be granted.

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Examination Sensitivity and Bias Review Committee

By sharing their time and talents, members of the Examination Sensitivity and Bias Review (ESBR) Committee advocate for fairness and representation in our credentialing examination materials and help to transform the counseling profession.

  • Responsibilities: Review examination content (i.e., items and narratives) to evaluate the potential for issues of bias and sensitivity and provide guidance for how to reconcile any concerns. Evaluate items that show differential item functioning to determine if revisions are needed.
  • Term: Committee members will serve the committee for a term of 5 years with a possibility of renewal for one more term.
  • Attendance: Attendance is expected at three to five committee meetings of varying length annually. Most meetings are held in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the NBCC conference center or virtually.
  • Nature of Work: The committee is expected to set guidelines for item writers and examination reviewers to address bias at item and test development stages. The committee reviews test items on an ongoing basis and also makes recommendations to the TAC, as appropriate, regarding examination processes to reduce potential method bias.
  • Confidentiality and Security Requirements: All committee members must agree to adhere to confidentiality and security compliance requirements.

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Examination Item Writer

Experienced counselors write examination questions.

  • Responsibilities: Utilize knowledge on best practices in item writing to create items as needed for various examinations. Item writers may sign up for item writing bids based on their interest and availability and will have a limited time for contract completion.
  • Available Opportunities: NCMHCE, NCE, CPCE
  • Compensation: This is a paid position. Item writers will be compensated for each item/narrative as outlined in the agreement with NBCC.
  • Time Commitment: After completing training and being accepted as an item writer, individuals are contracted to write 10-20 items over approximately 6-weeks. Time commitments can vary.
  • Travel: Most of the training and work on items/narratives will be done virtually. Some of the training and work may take place at the NBCC office in Greensboro, North Carolina, and NBCC will cover associated travel and accommodation expenses.
  • Additional Requirements:
    • Demonstrated excellence with English writing skills
    • Ability to accept constructive criticism when working with others
    • Previously taken and passed the examination in which you will be writing for
    • Selected participants complete a complimentary one hour item writing training prior to beginning a writing assignment

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Examination Narrative Writer

Experienced counselors write clinical case studies about fictional clients with presenting concerns or diagnoses frequently encountered by practicing mental health counselors.

  • Responsibilities: Follow narrative writing guidelines to create high-quality usable vignettes that are utilized on examination forms. Review narratives drafted by other SMEs in small-group settings and make revisions as needed.
  • Available Opportunities: NCMHCE
  • Compensation: This is a paid position. Narrative writers will be compensated for each item/narrative as outlined in the agreement with NBCC.
  • Time Commitment: After completing training and being accepted as an narrative writer, individuals are contracted to write a specified number of narratives items over approximately 6-weeks. Time commitments can vary.
  • Travel: Most of the training and work on items/narratives will be done virtually. Some of the training and work may take place at the NBCC office in Greensboro, North Carolina, and NBCC will cover associated travel and accommodation expenses.
  • Additional Requirements:
    • Demonstrated excellence with English writing skills
    • Ability to accept constructive criticism when working with others
    • Previously taken and passed the examination in which you will be writing for

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Frequently Asked Questions

Being an SME is a professional service opportunity. SME participation provides a unique experience where you get to work with a diverse group of passionate professionals and contribute to continued excellence in the counseling profession. You will have an opportunity to network on a national level with other experts in counseling and build new professional skills. Engaging in the development of counseling assessments allows you to have an immediate impact on the standards required to be a professional counselor. Because NBCC examinations are made for counselors, by counselors, we need counselors like you to provide expertise. 

There are continuing education opportunities available for SMEs who complete certain trainings. In addition, serving on these committees may qualify as leadership hours that can be used toward the continuing education requirement for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential.
SMEs are enlisted by NBCC to provide their expertise in examination content development. SMEs can serve on several different committees pertaining to different parts of the examination development process: job analysis, standard setting, examination form and item review, and appeals. SMEs serving on committees are typically asked to participate in examination development meetings two to four times a year. These are typically 2- to 3-day meetings that can be virtual or in person. If meetings are held in person, NBCC will cover associated travel and accommodation expenses.

After participating in examination form and/or item review meetings, those interested in serving as item or narrative writers can apply for this position, complete the necessary trainings, and become eligible for item writing contracts as needs arise.
Most SME responsibilities are specific to their assigned examination role. Overall, SMEs are responsible for attending committee meetings, actively participating during the meetings to provide their expertise, and ensuring test security protocols are followed at all times, including, but not limited to, maintaining confidentiality and not participating in the development of test preparation content.
The general requirements of being an SME include having earned the credential related to the examination you are interested in working on. In addition, your credential must be in good standing with NBCC. Before becoming an SME, you are required to attend an SME orientation session.
We ask applicants to complete an application to provide us with specific information about their credentials, qualifications, experience, and expertise. Once your application materials have been reviewed, you will be notified whether you met the requirements. If accepted, you will be contacted with information about attending our SME orientation. Depending on the current examination development needs, you will be contacted when SMEs are needed for our different examinations. Examination development is an ongoing process, and participation times vary throughout the year. We ask that you be patient as we work with our SMEs in accordance with our regular assessment calendar.
No prior experience is needed. We will provide any training you will need.
After we have reviewed your application materials, we will notify you that you have met the qualifications.
All new SMEs attend an orientation to introduce them to NBCC, the examination development process, and various opportunities for SME involvement. Training is provided for specific tasks on an ongoing basis. Some trainings may be eligible for NBCC continuing education credit.
SMEs are evaluated and asked to join at the committee level. If serving on a committee, you would typically be expected to attend two to four meetings per year for a given examination. Most meetings are 2- to 3-day meetings, requiring attendance for all days; however, we do have some meetings that are 2 to 3 hours.
Yes! Although many of our committee meetings are full-day meetings, we have some opportunities that are as short as 2 to 3 hours. Just let us know about your availability when we reach out to you about upcoming opportunities.
The commitment time depends on the committee on which you work. We are in the process of updating the SME terms. The new terms will range from 1 to 2 years, with the option to renew.
No! We have several opportunities that are virtual, requiring no travel, and other opportunities that require travel to our headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina. If you prefer not to travel, just let us know about your preference not to travel when we reach out to you about upcoming opportunities. There also may be opportunities to gather at national conferences or other scheduled professional development events should the need arise.
Most SME participation is voluntary. Being an SME is a professional service opportunity. SME participation provides a unique experience where you get to work with a diverse group of passionate professionals and contribute to continued excellence in the counseling profession. You will have an opportunity to network on a national level with other experts in counseling and build new professional skills. Engaging in the development of counseling assessments allows you to have an immediate impact on the standards required to be a professional counselor. Because NBCC examinations are made for counselors, by counselors, we need counselors like you to provide expertise. We value our SMEs for their dedication to the profession and willingness to serve in these professional service committees.

For in-person meetings, NBCC covers necessary costs associated with travel, hotel, and food.

There are a limited number of paid item writer opportunities available exclusively to previously established SMEs. To be selected as an item writer, you must first complete the application. Then, you must attend an SME orientation, then an item writer training/evaluation, and then examination form and/or item review meetings. These meetings are an opportunity to get oriented with our examinations and understand more about the item writing and review process before beginning item writing tasks.

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