How to Become a School Counselor in Kentucky

The current job landscape for guidance counselors in the Bluegrass State is lucrative. According to a May 2018 data set from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 3,150 school counselor jobs existed in all of Kentucky. These counselors brought home an annual mean wage of nearly $60,000, which eclipsed the national average of around $56,000.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Kentucky

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Kentucky here

Education and Experience Requirements

The following section provides additional information about how to become a school counselor in Kentucky, including coursework requirements and supervised hour requirements. Read on to learn more about practicum experiences, internships, and typical course topics in school counselor programs.

Education and Coursework

The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) requires each candidate for professional school counselor licensure in Kentucky to hold a master's degree in school counseling. The board will not approve licensure unless applicants earn these degrees from regionally accredited universities.

The EPSB does not list any particular credit requirements for each approved school counseling master's program. However, before earning their licensure, prospective school counselors in Kentucky must complete an additional 3-6 credits of graduate-level counseling coursework. Many school counseling master's programs require 36-54 credits, with some of the more prominent online options requiring 48. The board does not list any specific coursework topics or requirements for licensure.

To learn more, please visit this website's hub page about counseling degrees.


Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:


Practicum and Internship

To earn professional licensure in Kentucky, candidates must complete one year of teaching or two years of school counseling in addition to six graduate-level credits beyond a master's degree in school counseling. These requirements do not apply to those pursuing provisional licensure.

Application and Exam Requirements for Kentucky School Counselors

The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) oversees all matters related to Kentucky counseling, including application and exam requirements for school counselors. Fortunately for students who do not like taking standardized tests, the EPSB does not require prospective school counselors to complete any examinations. Nevertheless, before they officially start their jobs within a school district, each counselor must pass a background check at the local level. This requirement usually comes with a small, variable fee to pay for the background check.

Kentucky does not have any significant requirements for school counselor licensure

Each candidate must submit their master's transcripts to the EPSB to prove they have completed a graduate degree in school counseling from a regionally accredited school. Beyond transcripts, a master's degree, and a background check, Kentucky does not have any significant requirements for school counselor licensure. As such, it is easier and less time consuming to become a school counselor in Kentucky than in many other states.

Out-of-State School Counselor Candidates

Out-of-state school counselor candidates in Kentucky can earn their licensure through reciprocity by demonstrating they have completed equivalent criteria as the EPSB's initial licensure requirements. As such, a student who holds a master's in school counseling from a regionally accredited university and has already passed a relevant PRAXIS test can earn reciprocity for their school counseling licensure in Kentucky. Out-of-state students can satisfy the experience requirements by completing a one-year practicum in a school and working for three years as a guidance counselor.

School Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

In Kentucky, all school counselors must renew their professional licenses every five years, no matter how much experience they have. Before renewing their licenses, each counselor must complete 12 hours of Effective Instructional Leadership Act continuing education courses during the five-year renewal period. Each candidate submits evidence of their continuing education to the district superintendent, who approves or denies each renewal request. A provisional license holder may renew with any nine hours of relevant graduate credit. The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board manages licensure renewals in the Bluegrass State.

In Kentucky, all school counselors must renew their professional licenses every five years

Resources and Organizations for School Counselors in Kentucky

The following list of resources and organizations can provide current and future school counselors in Kentucky with jobs boards, along with opportunities for professional development and networking.

  • American Counseling Association As the main professional association for all types of counselors in the U.S., the ACA provides professional development, networking, and continuing education opportunities to its members.
  • American School Counselor Association This association caters exclusively to elementary, middle, and high school counselors, providing access to publications and professional development.
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs The CACREP provides accreditation to counseling-specific college undergraduate and graduate programs. Prospective students should visit the CACREP website to check the accreditation status of their chosen programs.
  • DrugRehab.com DrugRehab.com provides comprehensive resources regarding drug addiction, including treatment strategies and causes. High school counselors may come across drug issues in their work and should familiarize themselves with the information on this website.
  • Kentucky Counseling Association The Kentucky Counseling Association serves as a state branch of the American Counseling Association, providing a hub for Kentucky counseling. The KCA offers advocacy and an annual conference for professional development and networking.
  • Kentucky School Counselor Association This association provides an annual conference for networking and continued learning, in addition to granting awards to standout members.
  • KentuckyTeacher.org As a publication written by the Kentucky Department of Education, KentuckyTeacher.org publishes articles that can help school counselors learn more about their craft.
  • National Association for College Admission Counseling The National Association for College Admission Counseling can help high school counselors learn more about how to best guide their students through the college admissions process.
  • National Board for Certified Counselors The National Board for Certified Counselors provides credentialing courses that help counselors earn professional certification to advance their careers.

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