School Counselor Certificate in Kentucky

Kentucky’s school guidance counselors are certified by the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB). Guidance counseling is considered an administrative certificate. The current credential is P-12; this signifies it is valid from the primary level through grade 12.

Provisional certification is based on education. Standard certification requires experience; there are also additional coursework requirements. While Kentucky does not mandate that school guidance counselors have teaching certification or experience, those that do can earn their standard certification more quickly.

All applicants must submit to criminal background checks.

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Educational Requirements for Provisional School Counselor Certification

In order to achieve the provisional certificate, an individual must complete an approved School Counseling program at the master’s level.

Approved programs meet the standards laid out in Kentucky Administrative Regulation 5:010 ( They are housed in state-accredited schools. While Kentucky does not require that in-state programs hold accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), standards are based on those of NCATE. Among the standards are having qualified faculty and field experience requirements.

In order to be admitted to a Kentucky educator preparation program, a student must meet GPA requirements set by the state ( Regulations specify a minimum of 2.75 or 3.0 on the last 30 hours attempted (undergraduate or graduate)

The university certification officer (or other official) will fill out a form at the time of application. Forms will be accepted from in-state and out-of-state certification officers. On the application form, the official will note which of the following apply to the institution and program: state approval, regional accreditation, NCATE accreditation.

Online programs that have a presence in Kentucky are subject to state regulation (

Background Check Requirement

Kentucky requires state and federal criminal background checks. Some applicants may have completed background checks within the prior 12 months for the purpose of obtaining employment in a Kentucky public school or fulfilling field experience requirements in a school setting within the state. These can be accepted for certification purposes.

Applicants who have not completed recent background checks will follow the directions found on the “certification forms” page of the ESPB website ( There are separate steps for the FBI and Kentucky State Police background checks.

The FBI background check is fingerprint-based. After filling out the request form, the applicant may have fingerprints rolled on a standard FD-258 fingerprinting card. Livescan fingerprints can also be accepted. Applicants should be aware that there have been some changes in federal fingerprinting policies in 2015 (

The applicant may submit the federal background check fee (currently $18) using the credit card payment form linked to on the instruction page. The fingerprint card, information form, and fee will be sent to the address listed below:

FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

The applicant will also mail a request for records release to the Kentucky State Police. The individual requesting the background check will need to include a $20 fee made out to the Kentucky State Treasurer. Applicants should also include two stamped envelopes: one with the address of the requesting agency, the other with the applicant’s own address.

The Application Process

Application forms are available on the ESPB website ( The correct form is CA-1: Application for Certification or Rank Change. Applicants should make should make sure they have the most current version of the application; there were revisions in January of 2015.

Before applying, candidates must read the Professional Code of Ethics for Kentucky Certified School Personnel; they must sign that they understand it and will follow it.

The application fee is $50 ( Application fees are to be paid by money order, certified check, or cashier’s check. Applicants also have the option of paying online.

Application packets are to be sent to the following address:

Division of Certification Education Professional Standards Board 100 Airport Road, 3rd Floor Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

The Education Professional Standards Board notes that processing times are typically longer at the end of a semester. Applicants can monitor status online. This is preferable to contacting the Board directly.

Progression from Provisional to Standard Certification

The provisional certificate is issued for five years ( The school counselor will need experience to move to the next level. A professional who is also certified as a teacher and has a year of teaching experience will need one year of experience as a guidance counselor. Without the teaching credential, the requirement is two years as a guidance counselor.

The provisional school counselor must complete three to six semester hours of additional coursework before the higher certification can be issued. The Board will require an official transcript documenting the course(s) taken.

Out-of-State School Counselors

Kentucky administration regulations state that out-of-state candidates are subject to the same educational standards.

Educators who are certified in other states are directed to include a copy of the out-of-state credential. They will also need to request that official transcripts be sent.

Additional Information

The Education Professional Standards Board can be reached by telephone at (888) 598-7667 or by email at ‘dcert at’.

The Kentucky School Counselor Association is an additional professional resource, but is not involved with the certification process (

Kentucky Professional Counselor license requirements

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