Kentucky State Licensing Requirements

psychology-degree-kentuckyFabulous hats, mint juleps, millions of dollars at stake and the finest horses in the world: the Kentucky Derby is all about the juxtaposition of Southern charm and serious business.

The same can be said for living and working in Kentucky.

If you are serious about earning your psychology degree in Kentucky and starting a career in psychology, make the leap in a state that maintains a laid-back Southern atmosphere while providing you with the resources you need to succeed.

Going to Psychology School in Kentucky

For students who want to pursue a psychology degree, Kentucky has excellent state colleges, such as the University of Kentucky. Located in Lexington, its psychology department includes a community outreach program that studies at-risk behaviors and an on-site clinic through which graduate students gain practical training.

With several laboratories and research facilities on campus, the University of Kentucky’s psychology department is also known for the emphasis it places on research. Undergraduate students who are in the honors program have the option of conducting independent research projects their last two years of school; in fact, they are highly encouraged to do so.

Where to Pursue a Psychology Degree Online

Perhaps you want to pursue a psychology degree in Kentucky, but you do not want to be restricted to the rigid schedules of traditional universities. Online schools offer the best of both worlds: an education to develop your psychology career and the flexibility you need for your busy lifestyle. There are several schools you might consider, such as Argosy University, Purdue University Global or Walden University.

Working in the Bluegrass State

What kind of salary can you expect to earn with a psychology degree in Kentucky? Here’s a list of the mean annual salaries of psychology professionals in the state:

Psychology Career Average Annual Salary*
Psychologist $86,740
Mental Health Counselor $44,320
Social Worker (MSW) $54,940

Sources:U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook,Psychologists, Mental Health Counselors, Social Workers

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

How to Obtain Licensure in Kentucky

Once you have attained your psychology degree in Kentucky, the next step is becoming licensed to practice. While you do not need to pass a state exam for licensure, you will need to pass the national exam in your field of study. Here are the specific requirements for each psychology-related license:


  • A doctoral degree in psychology
  • Within two years, completion of supervised work experiences that total 3,600 hours, half of which can be completed during the doctoral program

Professional Counselor

  • A master’s degree in counseling
  • A total of 4,000 hours of supervised practical experience, which must include 1,600 hours of direct counseling experience

Marriage and Family Therapist

  • A master’s degree in marriage and family therapy
  • Completion of two years of supervised professional experience with a minimum of 1,000 client contact hours

Social Worker

The state of Kentucky offers three different types of licenses for social workers: licensed social worker (LSW), certified social worker (CSW) or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

  • A bachelor’s degree (for LSW) or master’s degree (for CSW or LCSW) in social work
  • Completion of supervised work experience, either for three years at twenty hours per week or for two years at thirty hours per week (for LCSW only)

How to Make the Most of Your Psychology Career

One of the best ways to ensure success in your psychology career is to join a professional association. Doing so will provide you with networking opportunities and keep you up to date on vital information in your field. Don’t wait until after you’ve earned your degree. Kentucky has plenty of psychology-related associations that are open to students, such as these:

  • Kentucky Division of the Council for Exceptional Children
  • Kentucky Psychological Association
  • Kentucky Mental Health Counselors Association
  • Kentucky Association for School Social Work
  • National Association of Social Workers, Kentucky Chapter


Tell us a little about yourself and we’ll connect you with schools that offer psychology degree programs.