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What is the Special Purposes Exam for Chiropractic (SPEC)?

The Special Purposes Examination for Chiropractic (SPEC) is a post-licensure exam that is offered six times per year at Pearson Professional Centers throughout North America. SPEC is available only at the request of state or foreign licensing agencies. SPEC requires approximately three hours of test administration time, divided into two equal sessions of 90 minutes each. Each session includes 100 questions. Test appointments are scheduled for four hours to allow time for an optional, brief tutorial, an optional break between sessions and a post-examination survey. You must complete both sessions of SPEC in order to receive a score from the NBCE.

See the administration dates here: SPEC dates and deadlines

State authorization form – SPEC

Who can take SPEC?
  • You must hold or have held a license to practice chiropractic. The license may have lapsed, been suspended or revoked, etc.
  • You must provide written authorization from a state board or international licensing agency to take SPEC.

To apply for SPEC, create a MyNBCE account and go to the My Applications page.

What topics are included in SPEC?

The NBCE develops every exam based on a test plan. The detailed SPEC test plan includes topics and weightings (the percentage of the test devoted to each topic).

Does the NBCE publish a list of books to help me prepare?

The NBCE uses reference texts from the chiropractic colleges. See the SPEC reference text list.

Can I see sample questions?

The NBCE offers a sample test for SPEC. The sample test contains 50 questions and costs $15.

What can I expect at the test site?

You must present two forms of identification including one government-issued photo ID at the testing center. Testing aids of any kind will not be permitted in the testing center. You must store all personal items in a locker. You will be monitored at all times by audio and video recorders. You can read more about what to expect at  SPEC test sites.

What time is my test?

The NBCE will notify you once your application has been processed. It is then up to you to contact Pearson Professional Centers to schedule your testing appointment. Appointment times are dependent upon available space at testing centers

Where can I take SPEC?

The NBCE offers SPEC at Pearson Professional Centers throughout North America. To locate a testing center near you, go to and follow the “Find a test center” link.