National Health Professionals Competency Assessment and Licensure Directorate


The National Health Professionals Competency Assessment and Licensure Directorate (NHPCALD) is established in the Ministry of Health in response to one of the four transformation agendas ‘Quality & Equity in Health Care’ to introduce a standardized national licensing or qualifying examination for all first degree graduates of all public and private training institutions. Before it is organized to the current structure, it was organized as National Board of Examinations (NBE) under the Human Resources Development and Administration directorate in 2006 E.C. The established board of examination has given the examination for Medicine, Health Officer, Nursing, Midwifery and Anesthesia graduates as a pilot in 2007 and 2008 E.C.

Then at the end of 2009 E.C, it departed from human resources development and administration directorate and established as a directorate bearing a name ‘National health professionals Licensing Examination Directorate’ (NHPLED). Once again in 2010 E.C it incorporated registration and licensing case teams from Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority (FMHACA) and renamed as National Health Professionals Competency Assessment and Licensure Directorate (NHPCALD).

The National Licensing Examination is considered to be a critical step that should be undertaken before licensing first degree health graduates from all accredited higher education institutions to provide health care services in the country. The sole purpose of a licensing examination is to identify persons who possess the minimum basic knowledge and experience necessary to perform tasks on the job safely and competently, not to select the "top" candidates.


The licensing examination will be conducted by National Health Professionals Competency Assessment and Licensure Directorate in coordination with different stake holders and training institutions. The NHPCALD has the responsibility to ensure that the examination meets technical, professional, and legal standards, and protects the health, safety and welfare of the public by assessing candidates’ abilities to practice competently. The directorate uses standardized assessment process which includes written examination in the form of multiple choice questions (MCQ) and practical assessment in the form of objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). Once a candidate has passed a licensing examination, the directorate will grant a license, thus assuring the public that the licensee is minimally qualified to practice at the time of initial licensure and re- licensure.


The National Health Professionals Competency Assessment and Licensure Directorate constitute four case teams:

  • Exam development case team
  • Exam administration case team
  • Registrar case team
  • Registration & Licensure case team

Mission, Vision and core values NHPCALD


Mission: To protect the public through standardized assessment of all Health Professionals

Vision: To see that only competent, ethical, effective and safe health care workers join the health workforce of Ethiopia

Core Values:

Professionalism: To perform according to standards and professional conduct in executing the responsibilities of the directorate

Accountability: To be answerable and be responsible for every act done

Commitment: To be responsible and loyal to the organization so as to ensure productivity

Integrity: To show that the directorate is honest and can be relied upon by all its stakeholders

Confidentiality: To maintain secrecy in examination related matters

Collaboration: To build strong partnership with similar organizations both in-country and abroad

Team work: To build strong partnership among staff to improve the directorate’s performance

Efficiency: To act competently in carrying out the directorate’s duties and responsibilities



The objective of the competency assessment is to assess the clinical competence and performance of the candidate in terms of his or her knowledge, clinical skills and professional attitudes for the safe and effective clinical practice in the country.


Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Preparing a health professionals licensing examination plan based on the information collected from the educational institutions
  • Selecting and training exam developers for each cadres
  • Conducting task analysis to develop blueprint for each cadres 
  • Selecting and organizing assessment centers 
  • Storing the prepared exam items in item banks after checking the validity & reliability of the items
  • Preparing assessment tools in different versions
  • Disseminating an information concerning exam schedule, assessment centers and related issues to all stake holders
  • Assembling exam items for all cadres
  • Selecting and training assessors/invigilators and supervisors
  • Collecting back the exam papers from all assessment centers after exam administration
  • Supporting and monitoring the assessment process
  • Distributing exam materials to assessment centers
  • Scoring, analysis and compiling of exam results
  • Disseminating the result to all stake holders
  • Accepting registration and licensing applications of health professionals who are insufficient in market and working abroad who want to practice in the country.
  • Reviewing credentials and providing professional title, registering and offering  licensing and re-licensing certificate for qualified health professionals
  • Suspending or revoking professional’s license for unprofessional acts or misconduct
  • Providing authentication service concerning health professionals registration, licensure and ethics
  • Strengthening the capacity of the national health professionals’ information database and data processing system and provide central database at the national level.
  • Accepting complaints from the public concerning unethical behaviors of health professionals and forwarding to health professionals ethics committee
  • Coordinating activities  and working closely with the national health professional ethics committee
  • Determining the nature of the complaints of health professionals, make a decision, and monitor the implementation of the decision.
  • Providing technical assistance to regional health supervisors on the registration, licensing and supervision of health professionals