Counseling Licensure Requirements in Kansas

Counselors help clients to work through challenging issues, including mental or behavioral disorders, relationship problems, and coping with major life changes. The counseling field spans several industries, such as private practice, education, and rehabilitation centers. Counselors in Kansas earn an average annual salary of $44,979, making this a fulfilling career to consider.

Working as a counselor in Kansas requires licensure. Professionals may choose either the licensed professional counselor (LPC) or the licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) license. Read on to discover more about becoming a counselor in Kansas, along with education requirements, steps for licensure and renewal, and the earning potential for professionals in the field.

Counseling Careers in Kansas

Counseling careers in Kansas span a variety of fields and industries. Some typical positions include guidance counselor, marriage and family therapist, rehabilitation counselors, behavioral disorder counselor, or mental health counselor. Read on for details on each of these career paths and how to become a licensed counselor in Kansas.

How Much Do Counselors Make in Kansas?

The earning potential for counselors in Kansas varies depending on the specific field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors in one category since their tasks and average wages are similar. The table below details how Kansas wages for counselors compare with the national average.

Education Requirements for Counselors in Kansas

Education and Coursework

Becoming a counselor in Kansas requires a master's degree and counseling licensure. To enroll in a master's program, an undergraduate degree is typically required of applicants. The subject may vary depending on specific program requirements, but it is common for applicants to hold an undergraduate degree in counseling or psychology-related field of study.

Career advancement opportunities in this field typically require a doctorate

Kansas requires counseling professionals to have a minimum of 60 hours of coursework in counseling. At least 45 hours must include coursework covering topics such as group dynamics, counseling theories and practice, human growth and development, and research. Career advancement opportunities in this field typically require a doctorate, so a student may consider pursuing further education to increase their career and earning potential. Once individuals complete their graduate programs, they may apply for licensure.

Kansas offers two levels of counseling licensure: an LPC and the more advanced LCPC. Candidates pursuing LCPC licensure must complete a minimum of 15 hours in diagnosis and assessments, in addition to client-facing and supervised clinical hours. LPC professionals may earn an LCPC if they submit a supervision plan to the Kansas counselor board and complete a professional supervision period for a minimum of two years.

Practicum and Internship

Most master's or doctorate counseling programs in Kansas require a practicum or internship to graduate. For licensure, Kansas requires candidates to complete a minimum of 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, including 1,500 hours of working directly with clients. The hours must be completed under the supervision of a licensed professional.

Online Counseling Programs in Kansas

Kansans interested in pursuing degrees in counseling should consider the benefits of online counseling programs. Some online programs may cost less than their on-campus equivalents. Distance students can save money on tuition and avoid costs related to transportation, parking, and on-campus housing.

Online learning also benefits students who wish to keep working while earning their degrees. Some courses allow students to watch video lectures and complete their coursework at their convenience, without any scheduled class meeting times. Most online programs also allow students to complete their internships or practicum requirements at nearby locations.

Distance students can save money on tuition and avoid costs related to transportation, parking, and on-campus housing

Kansas offers a few partially online hybrid options for students looking to earn their counseling degrees at a distance. For instance, students in Kansas State University's master of science in school counseling program can earn their degrees through a combination of online and in-class coursework. The school offers courses on its Manhattan campus, but it also allows students in Olathe to attend virtual lectures through video conferencing.

The clinical counseling program at Emporia State offers a mix of online and in-person classes. Emporia state also offers a school counseling program with half of its courses online. Its students can complete the remaining face-to-face courses on the school's Emporia or Overland Park campuses.

How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Kansas

The Kansas counseling board is known as the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board. This group maintains regulatory standards and ensures that counselors in the state remain compliant with all policies and regulations. The first step towards licensure is earning a master's degree or doctorate, completing clinical hours, and submitting an application to the board.

The next steps to becoming a counselor in Kansas include passing a criminal background check and the National Counselor Exam. Then, each candidate must provide documentation to the board to receive their LPC. If individuals want to earn their LCPC, they must also pass the National Mental Health Counselor Examination. Anyone wishing to pursue a counseling career in Kansas should visit the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board's website for the latest information.

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Out of State Counselor Candidates

Kansas allows out-of-state counselors to transfer their practice through a reciprocity agreement if they meet certain requirements. Candidates may qualify if their previous state of employment possesses equal or higher standards of licensure requirements. Candidates must also submit proof of their current license, and their record must be in good standing. Kansas also requires out-of-state candidates to meet with the board and answer questions regarding their professional status or criminal background.

Out-of-state candidates may also earn state licensure if they meet the educational requirements and submit proof of at least five years of professional practice. Professionals must provide a statement of clinical competence and verify clinical hours diagnosing and treating mental health disorders.

Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Kansas

Counseling licensure in Kansas must be renewed every two years. Each professional renewing their license must complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education courses. At least six hours must consist of mental disorder diagnosis and treatment education, and three must cover topics in professional ethics. Educational hours must be completed within the two-year licensure period.

Professionals applying for license renewal may submit their applications beginning 90 days before the expiration date and pay an application fee. The Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board recommends counseling professionals use its website to stay up to date on current regulatory standards, laws, and industry trends.

Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Kansas

  • Athealth.com LPCs and LCPCs practicing in Kansas can earn all 30 of their continuing-education requirements online at atheath.com. The website offers an extensive catalog of distance courses in professional ethics, substance abuse treatment, case management, domestic violence, anger management, eating disorders, and a variety of other topics.
  • Free State Social Work As an Association of Social Work Boards-approved program, Free State Social Work offers affordable online continuing education opportunities that fulfill all 30 hours of Kansas' continuing education requirements. Students can purchase courses on a credit-by-credit basis, an annual package, or a two-year package.
  • Resolve Counseling and Wellness In addition to providing private therapy and counseling services to the Prairie Village community, Resolve also hosts a selection of continuing education courses that fulfill the state's licensing renewal requirements. Their website also offers a calendar of other continuing education courses and opportunities in the Kansas City area.

Resources and Professional Organizations for Counselors in Kansas

  • Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board The Kansas Behavioral Science Regulatory Board regulates and issues licenses to counselors, psychologists, and social workers in Kansas -- protecting both practitioners and consumers.
  • Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services As the state's second-largest agency, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services provides services to aging adults and Kansas citizens suffering from addiction and behavioral health disorders.
  • Kansas Counseling Association KCA brings together professional counselors from across the state. Members can access a job board and attend workshops for continuing education credits. Each year, KCA hosts an annual counseling conference.
  • Kansas School Counselor Association A division of the Kansas Counseling Association and a chapter of the American School Counselor Association, the Kansas School Counselor Association unites school counselors across the state. Members enjoy professional development, publications, advocacy, and member-based awards.
  • Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas MHA of South Central Kansas provides a variety of services, such as addiction treatment, job training, and mental health support to residents of Wichita and surrounding areas.
  • American Counseling Association Founded in 1952, ACA serves as the largest professional organization for counselors in the world. Members enjoy access to a digital job center, career development tools, free and discounted continuing education opportunities, members-only awards, and an annual conference and expo.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA unites and advocates for mental health counselors across the country. Members enjoy access to career help, job boards, webinars, publications, and networking events. They also receive discounts on professional liability insurance, FedEx services, health and wellness programs, and continuing education courses.
  • American School Counselor Association ASCA supports, unites, and educates professional school counselors across the world. It offers educational resources, free webinars that count toward continuing education hours, and career help. Members can also join the association's professional networking platform, SCENE, which allows members to discuss issues, give advice, post job ads, and share resources.
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