Exam windows are offered year around. Exams are computer-based and provide instant results.

Once you choose an exam window, it takes about a week for your name and designated window to be transferred to Pearson Vue. At that time, you can schedule the day and location of the exam through Pearson Vue Testing Centers.

Before you are approved to sit for the exam, your application will be reviewed. The review process will take about 4-6 weeks. You will then receive an email indicating that your application has been approved or that you need to make revisions before your application can be approved and you can select your exam date.

You must submit an application to DBT-LBC™ to be granted admission to a Pearson Vue testing center.  They require the admission number we provide for admission.  Please do not contact them directly to schedule your exam without that approval number.  It will be sent to you via email.

The fee for using the Pearson Vue testing center will be paid directly to Pearson Vue ($150).

There are 242 Pearson Vue testing centers in all 50 states, 4 in US territories, 1 in DC and 13 in Canada for a total of 260.

Exam Development

The DBT-LBC™ used established measure development procedures to develop the knowledge exam. An expert psychometrician consulted with the Item Writing Committee regarding standard setting for test items and best practices developed by American National Standards Institute (ANSI), National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), The Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR), etc. The DBT-LBC™ also set a criterion-referenced standard for testing foundational knowledge in DBT.

All knowledge exam questions are based on material in the following sources:

(1) Linehan (1993a), Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: The Guilford Press

(2) Linehan (1993b), Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: The Guilford Press

(3) Linehan (2015), DBT Skills Training Manual, 2nd Edition. New York: The Guilford Press

(4) Linehan (1997), Validation and Psychotherapy, In Bohart & Greenberg, (Eds.), Empathy Reconsidered: New Directions in Psychotherapy, pp. 333-392. For your convenience, here is a link for the Linehan (1997) chapter: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232561580.

Over the years, people have adapted DBT in many ways for specific populations and settings. The exam, however, is based on the materials listed above and not on those adaptations.

The committee of content experts working on the new certification in DBT developed six domains of content for the knowledge exam along with determining the relative percentages of each domain.  The six areas and related percentages are:

     10% related to Structuring the Treatment;

     15% about Problem Assessment strategies;

     30% around Problem Solving strategies;

     20% on Validation concepts and application;

     15% on the use of Dialectical Strategies; and

     10% on Protocols of treatment.


Actual scores from the first 100 exams administered were used to set the cut score and the Board of Directors made the final determination.  The exam was developed to be unambiguous in a multiple choice format.  There is only one correct answer to each question.

Re-taking an exam

If you do not pass your first attempt at the exam, you are allowed to re-take the exam within four to twelve months after you have been unsuccessful.  You will be eligible for the next available exam window that falls after four months have elapsed but not sooner.  The only fee involved will be for the use of the Pearson Vue testing centers.  There is no additional charge from DBT-LBC™ for the first retake within the 12 month period.  If you do not pass your second attempt, we recommend you take at least 12 months for additional study and possible consultation with a DBT expert/certified clinician to help clarify any misunderstandings you may have of the materials.  Due to the administrative tasks that will need to be provided for the third exam opportunity (or one taken after 12 months has elapsed), there will be an additional exam fee ($270) from DBT-LBC™ also.  Your application will need to be updated before indicating an interest in re-taking the exam after 12 months.  It will be reviewed and verified once more to assure the most recent professional status in good standing.

Important reminder

Please remember that when you participate in this Certification process, one of the agreements you will make is to preserve and honor the security of any tests and measurements you participate in.  This is part of a code of ethical conduct and any violation of the confidential nature of the exam, its content, questions, Work Product materials, etc. will immediately result in the revocation of your certification.  We are committed to the highest standards in our processes and fairness to all is an important component of our efforts.

Sample exam questions

While we are not providing any sample exams, we have had many requests to see what the questions would look like.  Here are three questions that reflect the form the questions will take.  None of these will be on the exam itself.  There are no multiple correct answers; only one correct response to each question.  All questions are based on the published texts by Dr. Marsha Linehan.

Sample questions:

1.  Which of the following statements about skills training in standard DBT is true?

         A.  Leaders may decide how and when Interpersonal skills are covered and may shorten the module as necessary to make room for the other skills and topics as needed.

         B.  Emotion Regulation skills are repeatedly discussed and practiced throughout skills training.  They are the first skills taught and are reviewed between each of the other modules.

         C.  Leaders may decide how and when Mindfulness skills are covered and may shorten the module as necessary to make room for the other skills and topics as needed.

         D.  Mindfulness skills are repeatedly discussed and practiced throughout skills training.  They are the first skills taught and are reviewed between each of the other modules.

2.   High sensitivity to emotions as seen in individuals with BPD:

         A.  is probably caused by previous therapists not believing them;

         B.  is probably caused by abusive caregivers;

         C.  results in intense reactions to even slight frustrations or disapproval;

         D.  results in therapists needing to handle them with “kid gloves”.

3.  When pharmacotherapy is an ancillary treatment, the primary therapist’s role is to:

         A.  Coach the patient on how to be effective with his/her pharmacotherapies.

         B.  Suggest to the client the best medications for his/her symptoms.

         C.  Ignore any medication-related issues the client brings up.

         D.  Contact the pharmacotherapies if the client isn’t taking his/her medications as prescribed.