Counseling and Student Affairs
Counseling State Licensure
What is a state license for professional counselors?
A state license in counseling is the permission from a particular state for a person to practice counseling and /or use the title licensed counselor. Some states have a single license and others have a two-tiered system. In a two-tier system, there is an entry level and an advanced level. This signifies the state has endorsed the license holder for independent practice. The names of state licenses vary from state to state. They include: LPC, LCPC, LPCC, LMHC, LPCMH, LCMHC, LPC-MH. Please note that they all begin with “L” for Licensure. The information below is focused on Kentucky requirements, but you can visit the ACA Licensure Requirements page for a list of resources covering a variety of state credentialing requirements.
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)
The Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) credential is required by the state of Kentucky in order to function as a clinical counselor. Kentucky law regarding the practice of professional clinical counseling can be found in KRS 335. The minimum requirements for this credential include a master’s degree in counseling or a closely related field that includes nine specified curricular areas.
To become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), the following requirements must be met:
- Pay the required licensing fee.
- Is of good moral character.
- Received a master's, specialist, or doctorate degree in counseling or related field from a CACREP-accredited institution;
- Completed a minimum of sixty (60) graduate semester hours in the following areas:
- The helping relationship, including counseling theory and practice
- Human growth and development
- Lifestyle and career development
- Group dynamics, process, counseling, and consulting
- Assessment, appraisal, and testing of individuals
- Social and cultural foundations, including multicultural issues
- Principles of etiology, diagnosis, treatment, planning, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders and dysfunctional behavior
- Research and evaluation
- Professional orientation and ethics
- An organized practicum or internship consisting of at least 400 hours.
- Completion a minimum of 4,000 hours of experience in the practice of counseling (post-graduation) under approved supervision and shall include but not be limited to a minimum of one thousand six hundred (1,600) hours of direct counseling with individuals, couples, families, or groups and a minimum of one hundred (100) hours of individual, face-to-face clinical supervision with an approved supervisor.
- Achieved passing scores on all portions of the National Counselor Exam (NCE)
An individual can become a Licensed Professional Counselor Association (LPCA) after meeting the items 1-4 and working on completing items 5-6 above. View a Sample LPCA Application for help in completing your application. To learn more about the LPCA and LPCC, visit http://lpc.ky.gov/.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
Graduates of the WKU Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program qualify to become a LPCA/LPCC as well as a Marriage and Family Therapy Associate (MFTA) / Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). To learn more about the MFTA and LMFT, visit http://mft.ky.gov.