NBCE Examinations Section

SPEC Transcript Request Form (PDF)

The NBCE Special Purposes Examination for Chiropractic (SPEC) is not for initial licensing purposes and does not replace NBCE Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV. State licensing agencies have discretion of the use of SPEC scores in their jurisdictions. SPEC is offered six times per year at computerized testing centers throughout North America.

The SPEC is available only at the request of state or foreign licensing agencies that are considering cases of reciprocity/endorsement, reinstatement following licensure lapse, disciplinary action, suspension, revocation, etc.

The SPEC assesses the clinical competency of licensed or previously licensed practitioners in areas reflecting clinical conditions generally encountered in chiropractic practice. It addresses various components of clinical competency, including patient evaluation and case management.

The SPEC test plan, the blueprint around which the examination is constructed, was derived from information gathered from a chiropractic practice analysis survey conducted by the NBCE in 2009. Responses were received from approximately 2,300 full-time U.S. chiropractic practitioners.


  • SPEC consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, selected by a committee of state licensing board members.
  • SPEC includes clinical case presentations requiring that the examinee demonstrate the appropriate clinical understanding and judgments required in unsupervised general chiropractic practice.
  • SPEC requires approximately four hours of test administration time, divided into two equal sessions. Test appointments are scheduled for five hours to allow time for an optional, brief tutorial, an optional break between sessions and post-examination survey.
  • The NBCE recommends a passing score of 375 for the SPEC. This recommended passing score is based on input from a test committee of state licensing agency members; however, individual licensing authorities may recognize either a higher or lower passing score than the NBCE recommended passing score. Therefore, examinees are referred to the licensing agency in the state in which they intend to practice for SPEC score requirements and utilization.
  • Examinees must complete both sessions of SPEC in order to receive a score from the NBCE.