The National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCC AP) not only establishes the standards for national credentials but also provides testing for national credentialing and for state licensure on behalf of many state licensing/certification boards.

NCC AP is proud to announce that it has undergone a rigorous revision, beta testing, and psychometric analysis to update its exams for the NCAC I, NCAC II, and MAC credentials. The new exams are available as of September 1, 2020. Read the full press release for more information.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many testing centers are closed. In the case of a closure, you will receive an email from Kryterion.

Please check your email to make sure that your testing center is not closed before appearing at the testing center. If your test center is closed, please contact Kryterion directly at 602-659-4660 to reschedule your test or to be set up for the online proctored exam.

NCC AP offers distance proctoring for its national credentials and on behalf of many state licensing/certification boards!

Credential-Specific Examination Information

NCC AP Examination FAQs

Below are answers to many of the frequently asked questions we receive regarding testing. If you still have questions, please contact our Testing Department at [email protected] or 703.741.7686 x123.

How do I register to take an examination?

Examination registration is done online through our testing partner, Kryterion. If you are testing for your state license, your state board will give you the information for registering after you have been approved for testing. The list of state licensing/certification boards can be found here. You have to be approved through your state board before you can register for testing. Your state will give you a code which will allow you to register. If you register without being approved through your state board you will not be allowed to take the test and your fee will not be refunded.

If you are testing for an NCC AP national credential, your application will need to be approved by the NCC AP first. Click here for applications. Once NCC AP approves your application, you will receive an email with the code and link to register for that credential’s examination.

On what dates is testing available?

Testing is available on demand. You are able to sign up for the date and time that is most convenient for you, depending on the testing center’s availability. You will be able to see availability at testing centers in your area online when you register for your examination.

You can select your date and time if you choose to use distance proctoring.

Where can I take an NCC AP examination?

NCC AP examinations are offered through our testing partner, Kryterion, at any of their testing locations. You can see a full list of testing locations here.

You can also take an NCC AP examination at home using distance proctoring.

How much does it cost to take an examination?

The base cost of our examinations is $150. However, some states charge an additional administrative fee as part of testing, so the price of the examination may vary depending on the kind and level of the license or certification for which you are applying and the state in which you are applying

I am testing for [x] license/certification with my state. Which examination should I take?

The level of examination is determined by your state board. You should confirm with your board that you are registering for the correct examination.

I can’t make it to my testing appointment. Can I reschedule?

Yes, you can reschedule via the testing website at any time before your examination. If you attempt to reschedule within 72 hours of your test appointment, you will need to pay a $90 reseating fee. This fee is charged by the testing center itself, and NCC AP is unable to waive it.

What should I do if I experience technical issues during the exam?

If you are taking the exam onsite, please ask your proctor for assistance. If you are taking the exam online, please go to and click “Chat with an Expert” for support. This service is open 24/7.

Can I cancel my examination?

Yes, you can cancel your examination up to 72 hours before the testing appointment. In general, you can receive a refund of the testing fee. However, some state boards may have a different policy regarding refunds. Please check with your state board for its specific refund policy.

If you miss your appointment time, you will still be charged the full fee and you cannot apply for a refund.

I failed my examination. How do I retake it?

If you failed an examination required by your state board, you will need to contact your state board to register again for the examination. If you failed an examination for a NCC AP national credential, you will need to contact the NCC AP to re-register for the examination. The cost for re-testing is the same.

How many times can I re-take the examination?

You can take an examination up to three times in a calendar year. If you do fail the examination three times, NCC AP requires that you wait until the next year to try again. During that time, you should study again and look for new resources to help you with the examination, such as the Basics of Addiction Counseling Study Guides.

I have a special testing need. Can NCC AP meet my special accommodations?

NCC AP is happy to accommodate any special needs you may have for taking your certification examination. Please download this form and return it to us via mail, e-mail or fax. You must also include a physician’s note or other documentation explaining why you need special accommodations. The form must be received 35 calendar days before the requested testing date. A representative from NCC AP will contact you to register you for the exam. You cannot register online for a special accommodations examination.

Will my scores be sent to my state board?

Yes, NCC AP will send an official score notice to the board that you indicated when you signed up online to take the test. We send the reports by e-mail every two weeks.

Will I receive a score report?

Yes, you will receive an e-mail with your unofficial scores when you finish the examination. If necessary, you may request an official score report by emailing [email protected]. There is no charge for requesting the score report within two months of your testing date.

How should I prepare for my examination?

All the NCC AP Tests are based on the foundational and fundamental areas of addiction practice including:  Treatment Orientation, Screening & Assessment, Evaluation, Treatment Planning, Referral, Case Management & Documentation, Ethics, Counseling Theory and Practice/Methods including suicide and intervention, Pharmacology of addiction, and Professional Development.  

These foundational and fundamental areas are tested by questions distributed throughout five domains: (1) Orientation to the Treatment Process; (2) Assessment; (3) Ongoing Treament Planning & Implementation; (4) Addiction Counseling Practices & Skills; and (5) Professional Practices.

The chart belows shows the percentage of test questions in each domain according to the different test levels: 





Orientation to the Treatment Process








Ongoing Treatment Planning & Implementation




Addiction Counseling Practices & Skills




Professional Practices




There is not one source that will cover all these areas. NAADAC’s three-part Basics of Addiction series comes the closest but it does not guarantee all topics are covered completely. Counselors are required to read many books and articles and attend webinars and other trainings in order to build their knowledge and competencies.

To help prepare for a test such as NAADAC’s MAC, NCAC I or NCAC II, we suggest:

  • Take NAADAC’s free webinar Strategies for Successful Test Taking
  • Take NAADAC On Demand Webinars on pharmacology or webinars from other sources.  Study NIDA and NIAAA webinars and articles.
  • Take NAADAC’s free and paid webinars on ethics.
  • Read through NAADAC’s Basics of Addiction manuals, take notes or highlight areas to go back to for a final review before taking the test, and study with a friend or colleague – by Zoom meeting if necessary.  Each manual covers different subjects (Module I: Pharmacology of Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders, Module II: Addiction Counseling Theories, Practices and Skills, Module III: Ethical and Professional Issues). These and other manuals and a Practice Test are found in our online bookstore.
  • Read NAADAC’s manual Integrating Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders: An Introduction to What Every Addiction Counselor Needs to Know.
  • Take the NAADAC Practice Test, which covers topics from the MAC, NCAC I and NCAC II.
  • Be as centered and calm as possible before taking the test.
  • Take the test and trust your first thought or intuition, but also go back over the test again at least once more to review answers in case you later recall more information that applies to a question.
  • Use the full three hours – don’t rush.

Is there a study guide available?

There is no study guide specifically designed for NCC AP examinations. However, NAADAC offers many resources to help you prepare for your exam. The NAADAC Basics of Addiction Counseling Modules have aided many addiction professionals in attaining their state and national credentials and are availble in NAADAC bookstore here. The manuals are available as an independent study course, as well. The independent study course contains the same manuals, but they come with CE credit, which is why they are more expensive.

For MAC test takers, the NAADAC Desk Reference Integrating Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders is also helpful as a study course and can be found on the NAADAC bookstore. Like the books mentioned above, the manual is available on its own or as part of an independent study course.

NAADAC's webinar, “Strategies for Successful Test Taking”, produced in partnership with Orion Healthcare Technology, is designed for any individual who expects to take a certification or licensure in the future and would like some assistance preparing for it.  Topics will include: the expectations of certification/licensure testing, the mechanics of multiple-choice questioning and research regarding successful examination completion and options available for test preparation, including formal education and manualized study. Like all NAADAC webinars, “Strategies for Successful Test Taking” is free for everyone to view. NAADAC members can also get CE credit for free, while non-members can pay $20 for the CE Certificate.

Kryterion, our testing partner, also offers test-taking information:

Is there a practice test available?

Yes, NCC AP provides an online practice test. If you have already registered for your exam, you can purchase the practice test through the testing website and have immediate access. If not, please go to to create an account on the testing website and purchase the practice test for $25.

The examination includes 70 questions that have previously been used on NCAC I, NCAC II, or MAC examinations. The practice test can give you a good sense of the types of questions you will see, and what the examinations will look like. When you submit the practice test, you will see test results of "pass" or "fail" immediately. However, the results will not show you which questions you got wrong. The practice test is designed to give you an overview of the type of questions and the way they are worded, and NCC AP believes that focusing on the few questions you got wrong is counterproductive.

Do the examinations use the DSM IV or DSM 5?

We have updated our examination questions. Currently, the examination questions reflect the DSM 5.

Do the examinations use ASAM criteria?

Yes, the examinations use ASAM criteria.

Can I take my exam from my own computer? What about online proctoring?

NCC AP offers test takers the opportunity to test using distance proctoring. You will take the exam on a computer in your own home or office while being proctored over your webcam by an online proctor in a different location.  Your system needs to meet all of the technology requirements, and you would need access to a quiet, empty testing space. You can find more information here.