Addiction Counselor License Requirements in Kansas

Kansas substance abuse counselors are licensed by the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (KBSRB), the same governmental entity that licenses other mental health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, and professional counselors. The state’s substance abuse counselors meet high standards. They must hold degrees at the bachelor's or master's level. There are multiple levels of licensure, with the highest being Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor.

The licensing law was implemented in 2011. A number of changes have taken place in the time since. Kansas recently implemented a new license category, Licensed Master Addiction Counselor (LMAC); this is for addiction counselors who have graduated from master's programs but have not yet met all requirements for licensure at the clinical level. In the past, prospective LCACs were licensed as Licensed Addiction Counselors (LACs). Master’s level graduates may still hold licensure as LACs. Those that seek LMAC licensing and scope of practice can convert their licenses if they meet standards described by the Board.

Bachelor's level graduates are also licensed as LACs. LACs do not have the same level of autonomy that LCACs do; they work only for licensed facilities.

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Licensed Addiction Counselor: Educational Requirements

All applicants must demonstrate academic degrees. Degrees may be in addiction counseling or in fields considered related; nursing, healing arts, theology, and criminal justice are among the disciplines considered related.

Educational requirements vary somewhat, depending on when the individual completed his or her education.

A prospective LAC will need coursework in the following subjects (whether completed as part of the degree program or as supplemental coursework):

  • Introduction to addiction counseling
  • Individual counseling methods
  • Group counseling methods
  • Addiction pharmacology
  • Addiction services coordination
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Family and community studies
  • Legal and ethical issues

The student will need the equivalent of six semester hours of practicum.

Prospective LACs who enroll in programs today (or who graduated July of 2012 or later) will need coursework in research. Those graduating on or after July of 2013 will need to take at least two of the following courses in residence:

  • Practicum I
  • Practicum II
  • Individual counseling methods
  • Group counseling methods

Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor Education and Training Requirements

Clinical addiction counselors have much steeper requirements. They must not only earn higher degrees but also complete a period of post-graduate supervised practice.

A person may be licensed as a Licensed Master Addictions Counselor or Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor on the basis of a degree in substance abuse counseling or a related field. If the degree is in a related field, it must be housed in a college or university that holds regional accreditation. Additional requirements are listed in 102-7-3 of regulation (http://ksbsrb.ks.gov/professions/addiction-counselors/statutes-and-regulations).

The individual will need substantial coursework that is specifically related to his or her duties as a clinical addiction counselor.

A prospective LCAC who completes a program today (or who graduated July 1, 2013 or later) will be expected to complete half of his or her skills coursework in residency.

The following coursework is mandatory:

  • Addiction and recovery services
  • Advanced individual and group counseling methods
  • Integrative treatment of co-occurring disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders and advanced pharmacology
  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Professional practice and ethics
  • Applied research
  • Practicum

The student will have at least six semester hours of additional coursework that supports advanced knowledge and/ or skills in addiction counseling, research, or supervision.

The practicum experience must meet Board standards. It will include at least 300 hours of client contact, supervised at the rate of one hour per ten hours of client contact.

Students who complete master’s programs that are accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC) can expect to meet educational requirements.

A prospective clinical addiction counselor will work under supervision for a minimum of 24 months. During this time, he or she will work under a training plan and approved supervision. Generally speaking, supervision is to be provided by an LCAC. However, other experienced mental health professionals may provide supervision when there is no LCAC available.

A prospective LCAC who is educated at the master's level will need to accrue 4,000 hours of experience with at least 1,500 hours spent providing direct treatment and assessment. An addiction professional with education at the doctoral level will need to accrue at least 2,000 total hours with at least 750 hours spent providing direct services.

A substance abuse counselor who meets experience requirements while working in another state will not be under KSBSRB jurisdiction. The Kansas Board will accept the hours if, after review, they are found to be equivalent.

Kansas uses examinations administered by the Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) but can accept other examinations if they are determined to be equivalent. A prospective LAC who has passed the IC & RC examination is directed to have scores transferred.

The Master’s Addiction Counseling (MAC) exam must be passed before licensure can be granted at the LMAC or LCAC level. The Level II examination is adequate for licensure at the LAC level.

A candidate may apply to the Board before all requirements have been met. The Board will determine examination eligibility. A prospective LAC may be granted temporary licensure while waiting to pass the examination.

Applicants must procure three professional references.

The Board also requires official transcripts.

LCAC applicants who graduate from non-NASAC programs will submit graduate academic and practicum review forms.

The application fee is $100.

Out-of-State Substance Abuse Counselors

Out-of-state behavioral health licenses must be verified.

There are two pathways by which out-of-state substance abuse counselors can be licensed by reciprocity as LACs. They may demonstrate 1) that they hold qualifying degrees and have had all required coursework plus five years of continuous experience or 2) that they met substantially similar requirements in their state of licensure (http://ksbsrb.ks.gov/professions/addiction-counselors/faqs).

The Board notes that in cases where the applicant opts to demonstrate equivalency of requirements, individual coursework is not reviewed. Requirements, however, must be substantially equivalent to those that are in place at the time the counselor applies.

License Renewal

Licenses are renewed every 24 months. LACs and LCACs complete 30 hours of continuing education.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the Kansas State Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (http://ksbsrb.ks.gov/professions/addiction-counselors). The Board can be reached by telephone at (785) 296-3240.

The Kansas Association of Addiction Professionals is a state professional organization (http://www.ksaap.org/).

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