What are the Professional Counselor License Requirements in Kentucky?

You’ll need a license to practice professional counseling in Kentucky. You can become a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate by completing educational requirements and then submitting the necessary paperwork and fees. In order to achieve the higher status of Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, you will need to fulfill state requirements for supervised practice. You will also need to take a licensing exam.

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Education Requirements

In order to be licensed at either level, you will need graduate level education (a master's, doctoral, or specialist degree) comprised of at least 60 semester hours. The degree may be in counseling or another related field. Your coursework should be drawn from the following content areas:

  • Lifestyle and career development
  • The helping relationship (including theory and practice)
  • Human growth and development
  • Group dynamics, process, counseling, and consulting
  • Individual assessment, appraisal, and testing
  • Social and cultural foundations (including multiculturalism)
  • Emotional disorders and dysfunctional behavior: etiology, diagnosis, treatment planning, and prevention
  • Professional orientation
  • Research and program evaluation

You will also need to have a practicum or internship of at least 400 clock hours.

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Applying for and Maintaining Associate Status

You must have your associate license to begin practice. Click Here to access the application forms.

In order to fill out the application, you will need to have transcripts or other documents handy. You will need to have basic information about the courses that you have taken. There is room on the form to list multiple courses under each content area. The board suggests that you call your university if you are having difficulty filling out the forms.

You will need to include a $50 check or money order with your associate application. You must have your official transcripts sent directly from your school to the Kentucky board.

You must also have your supervisory contract approved before you begin work. The contract will specify what type of experience you plan to obtain and how many hours a week you will put in in different types of settings. Generally, the board meets the 3rd Friday of each month. If you want to have your application reviewed that month, you should have it in the board office ten business days before the meeting. Otherwise, the review will be delayed until the following meeting.

You must renew your associate license each year.

You will pay the required fee and report your client contact and supervision hours. You will also report how many hours of continuing education you have done. If you have disciplinary actions or felony convictions, you will provide details to the board. Your approved supervisor will need to verify your contact and supervision hours.

Supervised Practice

You must complete at least 4,000 hours of post-degree supervised practice before you can attain full professional licensure. At least 1,600 hours must be direct counseling work. The board encourages you to put in at least ten hours of direct counseling work at a correctional institution during your time as an associate.

You will need 100 hours of individual, face to face supervision. Your supervisor may be a licensed professional counselor, clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, or a master's level nurse with psychiatric credentialing.


You will need to take and pass the licensing exam at some point before you apply for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor credential.

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. Click here to download a registration form from the NBCC site. You will send it to the NBCC accompanied by a $185 fee and an official transcript in an original sealed envelope. You should send all materials to “NBCC Assessment Dept., PO Box 7407, Greensboro, NC 27417-0407”. The NBCC will process your fee first, and then your application. You should allow four weeks from the time your fee clears to get your approval. One you receive it, you may call the testing professionals at AMP (888-519-9901) or visit the website at www.goAMP.com to schedule your examination.

Kentucky uses the computer-based version of the test. The exam takes four hours and is generally administered on weekdays during the first two weeks of the month. Some testing centers also have Saturday hours. You may test in Lexington or Louisville or at any of the other testing centers in the country. You may reschedule once without having to pay additional fees. You have a six month window in which to schedule your exam.

Applying for LPCC Status

You will again fill out paperwork and pay a licensing fee. This time you will need to have your experience verified. If you had more than one supervisor, each one will need to fill out Section 4.

The application will ask whether you hold national certification and/ or licensing in any state. It will also ask about your educational and work history. You will answer some professional fitness questions. Click here to download the application for licensure.

Out of State Applicants

You are eligible for licensing reciprocity if you have a current license that's in good standing in another state, have met Kentucky's educational requirements, and have been practicing for at least five years as a certified or professional counselor. If you meet the criteria, you will not need to demonstrate that you have met Kentucky's requirements for supervised practice or examination.

Other Professionals who may be Licensed as Counselors

If you’re in a related field, and you choose to be licensed as a counselor, you’ll need to meet the same standards. The NBCC recognizes dance/ movement therapy as a counseling specialty. The Kentucky application form lists “certified professional art therapist” among possible clinical supervisors. Those who work as pastoral counselors, and receive compensation for counseling services, have a separate application process.

License Maintenance

You must renew your professional license each year. You will need to include a licensing fee with your renewal.

You will attest that you have completed the required ten hours of continuing education. You will retain documentation in case you are audited.

Additional Information

If you are still in High School, hold a High School Diploma/GED, or hold a bachelor's degree, check out suggested steps to take along the path to becoming a counselor in Kentucky.

The NBCC reports that regular mail is delivered to the Board of Licensed Professional Counselors at P.O. Box 1360, Frankfort, KY 40602-1360. Overnight mail is sent to 911 Leawood Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601.

The Kentucky Counseling Association (Website) is another professional resource.

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