Becoming a Counselor in Kansas

Kansas licenses counselors in several disciplines, in most cases, at the master’s level. School counselors are credentialed by the Kansas State Board of Education. Professional counselors and clinical professional counselors are licensed by the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board.

Addiction counselors are also licensed by the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board, but there are two levels of licensure, one requiring a baccalaureate, the other a master's degree.

CACREP Accredited Online Master's in Counseling Programs:

counseling student

If you are a High School Student or have a diploma/GED in Kansas:

Step 1:

Select an undergraduate major and strive for a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Is there any particular field you should select? This depends on the branch of counseling you plan to pursue. In Kansas, you earn a teaching certificate before you earn a school counseling license. If you have some interest in the teaching profession, you can enroll in a preparation program at the undergraduate level.

If your interests lie outside the classroom, you can enroll in any undergraduate program that will give you the foundation you need. Learn about your counseling and related undergraduate degree options here.

A bachelor's degree in Psychology is common preparation for graduate school in the field of counseling.

If you currently hold a Bachelor’s degree:

Step 1:

Begin researching graduate programs early. You may be required to take the MAT or GRE. You will need to get references. Learn about master's in counseling program options here.

Step 2:

Decide if your resume and academic background will clearly show an aptitude for the counseling profession or if your application would be strengthened by volunteer or paid experience.

Step 3:

If you are interested in becoming a school counselor, enroll in a graduate program that is approved by the Kansas Department of Education. If you haven't completed a teaching degree, you will have extra coursework beyond what's usually included in the program. (You will not necessarily be required to have teaching experience, but you may be at an disadvantage if you don't.)

If you are working toward licensure as a professional counselor, you should enroll in a graduate program that is at least 60 semester hours. At least 45 semester hours must be in classes that meet the specific content area objectives identified by the Board.

Licensure as a clinical addictions counselor requires a master's, but there are fewer specific coursework requirements. You must have 27 graduate semester hours in addictions counseling (three in each of the nine areas identified by the Board). If your program is not accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission, you will need to document coursework in specific content areas.

Step 4:

Complete required coursework. If you are in the school counseling track, you will be required to earn a 3.25.

Step 5:

Familiarize yourself with the Board site in advance. As your program winds down, you’ll take your first steps toward licensure. As a prospective school counselor, you will take the Praxis II School Guidance Counselor Exam. As a prospective Licensed Professional Counselor, you will take the National Counselor Examination. You can apply to the Board without actually having taken the exam yet; if it’s determined that you meet eligibility requirements, you’ll receive testing information. As a prospective addiction counselor, you can register for the licensing exam when you're in the final four months of the program.

Step 6:

Licensure as a Clinical Professional Counselor or clinical addiction counselor requires two years of post-master's practice or one year of post-doctoral practice.

Step 7:

Before you can achieve licensing at the LCPC level, you will need to take another licensing exam, the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination.

If you have a Master’s in a Related Field:

If you have a master’s in a related field, you may have the option of taking the coursework you’re lacking post-master and applying it toward addictions counselor licensing. Related field is defined fairly broadly and includes criminal justice, healing arts, and theology.

*Find more detailed information on counseling licensure requirements in Kansas here.

Counselor Credentialing / Certification Agencies in Kansas:

Kansas State Department of Education - School Specialist

Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board

A Sample of Schools Offering Bachelor's and Master's Programs

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