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February 24, 2014

Students in Counseling Master's Program Post High Scores on National Exam

topstory4-lgDanica Hays

All of the students in Old Dominion's master's program in counseling who took the fall National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) not only passed the test, but collectively posted a mean score higher than the national averages.

The 14 ODU students' mean score of 117.79 was higher than the national means of 109.22 for Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs students, 107.76 for non-CACREP students and 96.75 for all other examinees. ODU student scores on the NCE, in fact, have been above the national averages over that past three to five years.

"We encourage interested students to obtain the NCC and LPC (licensed professional counselor, a licensure for mental health professionals) credentials, beginning with a well-planned curriculum," said Danica G. Hays, chair of the counseling and human services department and an associate professor.

"One of the benefits of our CACREP-accredited counseling program is that students are well equipped with the specific courses that maximize success on the NCE exam. In addition, being a graduate of our program sets students up with appropriate coursework and training required by most state licensure boards, including Virginia," Hays added.

In recognizing the ODU students' high scores on the exam, Jane Bray, dean of the Darden College of Education, said, "Our nationally recognized counseling programs are taught by exceptional professors. Both faculty and graduate students engage in research and grant work that addresses the major issues challenging our communities, schools, clinics and businesses, preparing our students for success."

The NCE, which is offered by the National Board of Certified Counselors, is an examination used in Virginia for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential.

The NCE is used for two purposes: national counselor certification and state counselor licensure. It assesses knowledge, skills and abilities deemed important for providing effective counseling services.

Students in the ODU counseling program also are required to take the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination, on which they also consistently exceed national averages. This exam offers a highly valid and reliable way to make judgments about a student's progress toward mastery of the subject matter of professional counseling.