Kentucky Psychology, Social Work & Counseling Licensure Requirements

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From the Kentucky Derby to Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Bluegrass State has gained a certain level of name recognition. While you may not gain the same level of fame working as a psychologist, counselor, or social worker, your role may have the ability to positively impact people across this great state.

But before you can start, you’ll need to earn licensure by completing a series of requirements. From the level of degree you need to how much licensing will cost, read on to learn all the information you need to get started.

Psychology Licensure in Kentucky

The Board of Examiners of Psychology is the governing body that issues all psychology licensing in Kentucky. Typically, candidates aim to earn the standard psychologist license There are 2 additional credentials—psychological associate and psychological practitioner—however, you’ll need the official psychologist license if you wish to work without supervision.

Education requirements

A doctoral-level degree in psychology is required to gain licensure in Kentucky. This degree can be either a PhD, PsyD, or EdD.

While you do have flexibility with the degree you choose, you must ensure that it’s earned from a regionally accredited institute with a recognized psychology program. The program must address the following coursework and topics:

In addition to your coursework, you must complete an 1,800-hour internship over the span of a year, with at least 25% of your time spent working directly with clients.

Psychology licensing requirements

With your coursework and internship complete, you’ll be ready to tackle the next steps in the licensing process. This includes postdoc work experience totaling at least another 1,800 hours under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.

Once you’ve completed these requirements, you can then sit for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). This exam is given at the national level and consists of 225 multiple-choice questions. You must earn a score of at least 500 out of 800 to pass.

You’ll also need to earn at least 80% on a structured test specific to Kentucky’s mental health laws, and a 100% on an oral exam on ethical principles and professional practice.

With work experience met and passing scores of your tests, you can finally apply for your official Kentucky psychology license. To do so, you’ll need to submit:

  • A $100 application fee (additional fees are required for taking the tests)
  • 3 letters of recommendation, with at least 2 from people who have earned their doctorate in psychology
  • Official transcripts from your doctoral program

After 5 full-time years of practicing as a licensed psychologist, you then have the option to earn the designation of health service provider. This grants you authority to supervise psychological associates, temporarily licensed psychologists, or graduate-level psychology students. To earn this credential, you need to have the 5 years of work experience and at least 1 of the following:

  • A certificate of professional qualification from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards
  • Board certification by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)
  • A certificate from the National Register of Health Service Psychologists

Renewal and continuing education requirements

You’ll be required to renew your Kentucky psychology license every 3 years. You’ll need to pay a $100 fee and present documentation that you’ve completed at least 39 continuing education (CE) hours within each renewal period. At least 3 of these hours must be in ethical practice or risk management, with another 3 in supervision theory or techniques.

Within the first year of holding your license, you’ll also need to complete 6 CEs in suicide assessment, treatment, and management. These hours must be completed every 6 years for renewal.

License reciprocity

License reciprocity for psychologists is granted in Kentucky if you have at least 5 years of full-time work experience, passing scores on the EPPP, and a certificate from either the ASPPB or the National Register. You’ll still need to earn at least 80% on Kentucky’s structured test and 100% on the oral exam.

Clinical psychologist salary in Kentucky

Clinical and Counseling Psychologists
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Median Hourly Wage$37

Job growth9.9%

Total Employment470

Metro area Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN $94,050 $35,820 $161,630
Bowling Green, KY $79,380 $38,010 $148,670
Lexington-Fayette, KY $60,260 $35,350 $159,540

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2031. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Counseling Licensure in Kentucky

The Board of Professional Counselors oversees 2 types of counseling licenses in Kentucky:

  • Licensed professional counselor associate (LPCA)
  • Licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC)

The LPCC is required to practice independently, however you must earn your LPCA before you can earn this credential.

Education requirements

At a minimum, you’ll be expected to hold a master’s degree in the field of counseling or a related field in order to earn your license. The educational institute you attend should be regionally accredited, and your program itself should also be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Your program must also include a 400-hour internship, as this is a requirement for earning your LPCC.

Counseling licensing requirements

Once you’ve earned your master’s degree, the next requirement is to complete 4,000 hours of supervised experience. At least 1,600 of these hours must be in direct counseling with 100 hours completed under direct clinical supervision. While not required, 10 hours of practice performed within a correctional facility is looked upon favorably. You must earn your associate license before becoming eligible to complete these hours.

Next is the examination. Kentucky offers 2 options for accepted licensure exams:

With the education, supervised experience, and exam requirements met, you’ll be eligible to complete the LPCC application. You’ll need to submit your official transcripts and pay a $150 application fee.

Renewal and continuing education requirements

Your license will need to be renewed every year by completing continuing education hours. The CEs must include 3 hours in domestic violence, 3 hours on law, and 6 hours on suicide assessment, treatment, and management.

License reciprocity

Out-of-state applicants do have the opportunity to gain licensure through reciprocity in Kentucky. You’ll need to submit your employment history, official transcripts, a letter of good standing from your current jurisdiction, and a fee of $150. You’ll also undergo a background check with both the state and the FBI.

Counselor salary

With the title of counselor covering a broad range of potential career paths, here are the annual salaries, as cited by the 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics, for a few key roles.

CareerMedian Salary
Mental health counselors$48,520
Educational, school, and vocational counselors$60,510
Rehabilitation counselors$38,560

Marriage and Family Therapy in Kentucky

The Board of Licensure for Marriage and Family Therapists oversees everything related to the licensure and practice of MFTs.

Education requirements

A master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, or a very closely related field, is required.

Your program should be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education and your studies should include coursework in:

  • Marriage and family studies
  • Marriage and family therapy
  • Human development
  • Psychopathology
  • Professional studies
  • Research

The program should also offer either a practicum or internship experience. Through these, you’ll be required to complete at least 300 hours of practical experience.

MFT licensing requirements

Once you’ve earned your master’s, you’ll be eligible to apply for a Marriage and Family Therapist Associate permit. An MFTA is required to earn a full MFT license. You’ll need to submit your official transcripts and pay a $50 application fee.

Holding an AMFT allows you to complete both the required 1,000 hours of client contact over a 2-year period and the minimum 200 hours of clinical supervision under an approved supervisor.

You’ll also want to complete 6 hours of training related to suicide assessment, treatment, and management and 3 hours of domestic violence.

Becoming an AMFT also provides you with the opportunity to take the required MFT exam offered by the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards The required exam is offered nationally and is designed to test your general MFT knowledge through 200 multiple-choice questions.

When you’ve completed the exam and required hours, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for an MFT license. While your employment history related to marriage and family therapy is required, your official transcripts are not. You’ll need to pay an initial, nonrefundable $50 application fee and another $175 licensing fee if your application is approved.

Renewal and continuing education requirements

Once you hold your LMFT, you’re expected to renew it each year by completing 15 CE hours. While all hours must pertain to the general field of MFT, 3 must relate specifically to professional ethics.

MFT salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports LMFTs report earning a median annual salary of $49,880. And with a projected job growth of 13.9%, through 2031, LMFTs should be seeing plenty of opportunities throughout the field.

Social Work Licensure in Kentucky

All social work licensure is overseen by Kentucky’s Board of Social Work. They offer 3 distinct license types:

  • Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
  • Certified Social Worker (CSW)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

LSW, CSW, and LCSW: what’s the difference?

The main distinction between the 3 license types is that only LCSWs can practice in clinical settings without supervision. LSWs can only practice in nonclinical settings, while CSWs can work in clinical settings but only under supervision with a board-approved social worker. Those holding CSW licenses are typically working on necessary supervised hours they need to become a fully licensed LCSW.

Education requirements

graduation cap and mortarboard icon

An LSW is the entry-level licensing in Kentucky and can be earned with just a Bachelor of Social Work.

However, if you seek to earn either a CSW or an LCSW, you must hold either a master’s or doctoral degree in social work.

Social work licensing requirements

For all license levels, you’ll need to submit your official transcripts, employment history, and a $25 fee. Following receipt of the application, the board will notify you of your eligibility to take the required exam. All exams are given through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), however the exact exam you’ll take will vary depending on the license you want to earn. LSWs will take the bachelor’s-level exam, CSWs will take the master’s-level exam, and LCSWs will take the clinical-level exam. Each test requires a score of around 100 out of 170 to pass.

LCSWs must meet another important requirement—completion of a supervised experience. They can either have 2 years of postgraduate experience, working at least 30 hours per week, or 3 years of postgrad experience at 20 hours per week. You’ll earn this experience as a CSW, demonstrating that you have the prerequisite skills to practice as a social worker outside of the clinical realm.

Renewal and continuing education requirements

As an LSW, CSW, or LCSW, you must renew your license every 3 years. LSWs are expected to complete 15 CE hours to renew, while CSWs and LCSWs must complete 30.

At each license level, 3 of these hours must cover ethics in every renewal period. For your first renewal, you must complete 3 hours in domestic and elder abuse training. And finally, every 6 years you’ll need to complete 1 1/2 hours in pediatric abusive head trauma and at least 6 hours of suicide prevention training.

License reciprocity

Kentucky doesn’t offer reciprocity to other states for social work licensure, however as an out-of-state applicant, you’re free to apply through the normal route using your official transcripts and ASWB scores. You’ll need to verify that you do currently hold an out-of-state license and report your employment history.

LCSWs should verify that they’ve held a license for at least 5 years to be eligible for exemption from some of the requirements mentioned in the previous sections.

Social worker salary

The profession of social work is very broad and can include many different subfields. Because of this, you can find not only the general salary for social workers below, but also the salary for a few of the more concentrated areas as well.

CareerMedian Salary
Child, family, and school social worker$49,150
Healthcare social worker$60,840
Mental health and substance abuse social worker$49,130