Counseling Licensing Requirements in Kansas
Counselors can earn one of two counseling licenses in Kansas: licensed professional counselor (LPC) and licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC). Education serves as the foundation for both, but the LCPC license lists more stringent coursework requirements. License seekers also need supervised work experience to advance in their careers.
Counseling Careers in Kansas
Licensed counselors in Kansas can select from a variety of career options, allowing professionals in the state to pursue whichever area suits their interests, training, and personality. Some counselors work in schools serving children who demonstrate behavioral or learning disorders. Others work in clinics or rehabilitation centers helping clients who suffer from mental illness, substance abuse, or behavioral disorders. Still others work exclusively with families, counseling married couples or families with children. Counselors in Kansas, particularly those who pursue clinical-level counseling, earn a healthy annual salary. As of 2017, clinical counselors in Kansas earned a mean annual wage of $63,170, significantly more than the state's overall mean annual wage of $44,570.
- Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: Education, guidance, and school counselors provide guidance and counseling to students who exhibit behavioral, emotional, or academic issues. Vocational counselors help students and adults identify and pursue their career goals.
- Marriage and Family Therapists: Marriage therapists work with couples to negotiate relationship difficulties such as divorce, abuse, mental illness, and behavioral disorders. Family therapists work with families to overcome similar issues within the family system. They may also help families work through difficult transitions like death or divorce.
- Rehabilitation Counselors: Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals who suffer from a mental, physical, social, or emotional disorder that prevents them from achieving independence or earning a livable wage. They help clients access care, housing, and rehabilitation programs.
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: These counselors work with people who suffer from mental health, behavioral, or substance abuse disorders. They help their clients achieve emotional stability, physical health, and greater overall wellbeing.
- Counselors, All Other: Counselors who fall into a different category than those listed above include debt counselors, grief counselors, music counselors, and child development counselors. Some specialized counselors only treat clients who exhibit specific problems such as PTSD, eating disorders, or anxiety.
|Occupation||Average Salary in Kansas|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$49,080|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$44,020|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$40,380|
|Counselors, All Other||$41,110|
Education Requirements for Counselors
Students need to enroll in a graduate program to earn their counseling license. Kansas requires at least 60 hours of coursework in counseling. Those missing coursework need to make up the requisite hours. A total of at least 45 semester hours, or the equivalent, should cover the 10 core areas listed below. Students must earn at least two semester hours (or the equivalent) in each of these content areas:
- Counseling theory and practice
- Helping relationships
- Group dynamics, processes, approaches, and techniques
- Human growth and development
- Career and lifestyle foundations
- Individual appraisal
- Social and cultural foundations
- Research and evaluation
- Professional orientation
- Supervised practical experience
The board stipulates that those pursuing the LCPC license also need at least 15 total semester hours that support diagnosis and assessment. As part of this requirement, student need at least two semester hours of both ethics and psychopathology, training in the latest edition of the DSM, and coursework that teaches you to make referrals and work as part of an interdisciplinary team.
You may claim that certain courses in the core standards also meet the diagnosis and assessment requirement. The application form will allow you to circle "yes" by the courses that fit this requirement. Your 60 hours should include no more than four in research and writing and no more than six in independent study. You may not use independent study to fulfill core requirements.
Learn more about selecting a master's in counseling program here.
Online Counseling Programs in Kansas
Kansans interested in pursuing their degree in counseling should consider the benefits of online counseling programs. Online programs typically cost less than their on-campus equivalents. Not only do students save money on tuition, they also avoid costs related to transportation, parking, and on-campus housing. Online learning also benefits students who wish to keep working while they earn their degree. Some courses allow students to watch video lectures and complete their coursework at their own convenience, without any scheduled class meeting times. Most online programs also allow students to complete their internship or practicum requirements at location near them.
Kansas offers a few partially online hybrid options for those wanting to earn their counseling degree at a distance. For instance, students in Kansas State University's master of science in school counseling program can earn their degree through a combination of online and in-class coursework. The school offers courses on its Manhattan campus but also allows students in Olathe to attend virtual lectures through videoconferencing. 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; students complete the remaining face-to-face courses on the school's Emporia or Overland Park campus.
How Do You Become a Counselor in Kansas?
Third parties need to provide the following supporting documentation:
- Three professional reference forms in sealed, signed envelopes
- A graduate practicum review must also come in a sealed, signed envelope
- Your university should send your graduate transcripts directly to the board
- Licensing exams should also go directly to the board
Keep your academic records on hand to assist you during the application process. You need to list coursework that meets board requirements on the appropriate supplemental form. This hold true even for graduates of CACREP-accredited programs.
Students must include a fee with their application; make your check out to the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (or abbreviated BSRB). Click here to go to the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board applications and forms website for professional counselors in Kansas.
Those currently licensed as an LPC and applying for the higher status do not need to send additional references. However, their supervisors need to fill out forms to prove that they supervised you. Your supervisor will, however, need to attest to supervising you. Send materials to the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board, 712 S. Kansas Avenue, Topeka, KS 66603.
Counselors in Kansas must pay a fee to apply for, receive, renew, reactivate, or duplicate their professional license. These fees apply regardless of the type or level of license a counselor needs. In Kansas, the cost of receiving an LPC license equals the cost of receiving an LCPC license; renewing an LCPC license costs only slightly more than renewing an LPC license. Counselors must renew their license every two years. Three months before the license expires, the state sends a notice for renewal. The table below lists the various fees associated with licensing in the state; not all fees apply to every circumstance.
|Application Fee||$100 (both levels)|
|Licensed Professional Counselor Original Issue||$150|
|Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Original Issue||$150|
|Licensed Professional Counselor Renewal||$150|
|Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Renewal||$175|
|Verification of Licensure/Registration Fee||$5 per credential|
|Duplicate or Replacement License||$20|
|LPC Temporary License (Six Months)||$150|
|License Reactivation||$300 for LPC and $350 for LCPC|
|Examination||$165 (both levels)|
|Duplication||$5 plus $.25 per page|
The Licensing Exam
Students take their licensing exams through the National Board for Certified Counselors. The exam you take depends on what level of licensing you seek. The National Counselor Examination caters to those seeking the LPC, and the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination caters to those seeking the LCPC. Whichever exam you take, you should seek board approval five weeks before your intended testing date.
License seekers receive their registration from the Kansas board. When you mail it to the NBCC, make sure to sign it and provide the $195 fee. You should allow four weeks from the time your fee goes through for them to process your registration. Once you receive confirmation from the NBCC of your eligibility, you may call the Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) or visit the website (www.goAMP.com) to schedule your exam. You may take your test at any site in the nation during the two-week testing period. Kansas harbors two testing sites: one in Olathe and one in Wichita.
You may direct registration questions to the NBCC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LPC Supervised Practice Requirement
You can move from LPC to LCPC status by working under supervision. Once you get your LPC license, you need to submit an approved supervision plan that requires approval. License seekers need to work under supervision for at least two years.
Generally, your supervisor should hold an LCPC. If not, a licensed psychologist, clinical social worker, clinical psychotherapist, or marriage and family therapist may serve as an alternative. If you hold a master's degree, you need 4,000 total hours of supervised experience. Of these, at least 1,500 must occur in direct client care. You need at least 150 total hours of clinical supervision and should boast at least one hour of clinical supervision for every 15 hours of contact.
At least 50 hours of individual supervision is required. The other 100 hours may occur either individually or in a group (with a maximum of five other supervisees in the group). You must complete at least two clinical supervision sessions each month, with at least one of the monthly sessions occurring individually. Individual supervision must occur face to face. Generally, group supervision also occurs face to face. During emergencies or extreme circumstances, video conferencing may meet the requirements.
A doctoral degree can cut the requirement for post-graduate supervised experience in half, though you still need two supervisory sessions a month. You also need to report changes in supervision to the board for approval within 45 days. Your supervisor will evaluate you before issuing you your LCPC license.
Out of State Candidates - LPC Requirements
Out of state clearance forms should go directly to the Kansas board. You may earn licensure through reciprocity if you meet one of the following requirements:
- Your state holds standards higher or equivalent to those of Kansas
- Your state does not boast similar requirements, but you can demonstrate that you currently hold a license in good standing from another jurisdiction
You can further demonstrate that hold have a master's degree and have been actively practicing under license for five years. (This method may require more supporting documentation.)
For those seeking licensure by reciprocity on the basis of active practice, the amount of documentation you need depends on the licensing status you seek. For LPC licensure by reciprocity, you need to demonstrate that you have been actively practicing for five years -- defined as at least 15 hours a week for nine months of the year. For LPCP license by reciprocity, you need to provide verification of your clinical competence in diagnosing and treating mental disorders. You need two of the following:
- A statement verifying active practice in diagnosing and treating mental disorders. (Those engaged in independent practice may provide an attestation supplemented by appropriate supporting documentation).
- Verification of the required 15 semester hours in diagnosis and treatment, plus passing scores on the clinical licensing exam.
- A statement of clinical competence by a mental health professional. Validation of clinical competence should cover a three year period. If you are licensed in another state and wish to practice in Kansas only temporarily, you can use a simplified application form. You can practice up to 15 days. With a written request, you may practice an additional 15 days during the same year.
License Maintenance and Renewal
You need to renew your license every two years. During this time, you need to complete 30 hours of continuing education. At least six hours must pertain to mental disorder diagnosis and treatment; at least three hours must focus on professional ethics.
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 treatments, case management, domestic violence, anger management, eating disorders, and a variety of other topics.
- Free State Social Work: An ASWB-approved program, Free State Social Work offers affordable online continuing education opportunities that fulfill all 30 hours of Kansas's continuing education requirements. Students can pay for courses on a credit-by-credit basis or purchase an annual package for $60 or a two-year package for $100.
- Resolve Counseling & 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 for Counselors
- 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 addition treatments, job trainings, and mental health support to residents of Wichita and surrounding areas.
Professional Organizations for Counselors
- 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, award-winning publications, ethics consultations, 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 CE 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.