Counseling Degree Programs in Kentucky

Counseling Degree Programs in Kentucky

| Staff Writers

Counseling Degree Programs in Kentucky
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Licensed counselors enjoy a variety of employment opportunities, including careers as mental health, school, vocational, or substance abuse counselors. Professionals with counseling degrees can also work as counseling psychologists, rehabilitation counselors, and marriage and family counselors. 

Kentucky offers two licensure levels: licensed professional counselor associate (LPCA) and licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC). To obtain an LPCC, or full licensure, candidates must earn a master of counseling degree from an institution with accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Accreditation ensures that a school meets certain standards and grants worthwhile credentials that help graduates advance their careers.

License-seekers in Kentucky must also complete 4,000 hours of supervised experience, pass the National Counselor Examination, and submit an application to the Kentucky Office of Occupations and Professions. A counseling degree in Kentucky can position you for a lucrative career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marriage and family therapists in the state made an annual mean wage of $42,810 in 2019. The rankings below can help you locate the best counseling degrees in Kentucky.

Top 10 Counseling Degree Programs in Kentucky

Rank School Location
1 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
2 Lindsey Wilson College Columbia, KY
3 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY
4 University of Louisville Louisville, KY
5 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY
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Career Outlook for Counselors in Kentucky

Counselors work with individuals, families, children, young adults, and the elderly. They also practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, and private practices.

Professionals with a counseling degree in Kentucky enjoy a plethora of career options depending on their training and specialty area. Those with a background in school psychology, for example, work as high school, middle school, and elementary school counselors. Some individuals with Kentucky counseling degrees perform genetic and behavioral disorder counseling, or help patients with issues like domestic violence, eating disorders, relationship problems, and suicidal tendencies.

Professionals with a counseling degree in Kentucky who work in educational or vocational counseling can expect to make an annual mean wage of $57,520, or approximately $17,710 more than the annual mean wage for all other occupations in the country. According to Projections Central, jobs for educational and vocational counselors are projected to grow 10.8% between 2016 and 2026. 

Counseling Degree Programs in Kentucky


  • Eastern Kentucky University
    Location

    Richmond, KY

    Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology

    Serving the eastern region of the state in Appalachia with more of its more than 16,000 students being the first among their families to attend college, Eastern Kentucky University is a comprehensive public institution situated in the rural setting of Richmond. Well-known for its award-winning Honors Program recognized among the nation's best, the U.S. News and World Report currently ranks EKU as the 55th best college and 22nd top public school in the South. Within the College of Education that is known for having the 93rd best online graduate education programs in the nation, the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology endeavors to prepare effective professional counselors who will lead productive and responsible careers applying intervention techniques for under-served populations.

    Master of Arts (M.A.) in Mental Health Counseling

    Designed to prepare students to work as clinical mental health counselors within medical, community, and private practice settings, the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program provides an in-depth exposure to the three principle approaches to counseling: psychodynamics, experiential or humanistic, and cognitive-behavioral. Through the 60-credit program structured to meet the curriculum requirements of the Kentucky Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCP), students are required to complete a minimum of 900 clock hours of internship experience in varied settings with diverse populations. As a result, students learn to apply mental health approaches to contemporary practice, assessment, and treatment.

    Master of Arts in Education (MA.Ed.) in School Counseling

    With the mission of preparing school counselors to become leaders, advocates, and systems change agents for the diverse schools throughout rural Kentucky to be an integral part of the total educational program for student success, the Master of Arts in Education in School Counseling program consists of 54 credit hours that are designed for completion in two years of full-time graduate studies. Throughout the intensive curriculum and hands-on field learning in an internship experience, students are given the skills to design, develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs to guarantee that every student receives the appropriate competencies needed for their academic, career, and social development.

    See also:What Should I Know Before Interviewing for my First School Counseling Job After College?

    Accreditations

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

    Contact Information

    Combs Building Room 417
    521 Lancaster Avenue
    Richmond, KY 40475
    (859) 622-1124
    larry.sexton@eku.edu

  • Lindsey Wilson College
    Location

    Columbia, KY

    School of Professional Counseling

    As a four-year private liberal arts institution affiliated with the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church, Lindsey Wilson College is situated on a wooded 200-acre campus sitting on a hilltop in Columbia about 20 miles from Lake Cumberland. One of five Kentucky institutions to be classified as a baccalaureate college of liberal arts by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation, LWC is one of the fastest-growing independent colleges in the state now with over 2,500 students. The School of Professional Counseling aims to provide a practitioner-based, community-centered, and student-focused preparation program for mental health counselors.

    Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling and Human Development

    With a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the Master of Education in Counseling and Human Development (CHD) program provides the extensive knowledge and broad range of skills required to provide effective counseling to diverse client populations with the goal of addressing community needs of Appalachia. As an application-oriented experience for enhancing the skills of bachelor-level practitioners planning a professional career in counseling, the program requires a minimum of 60 semester hours, which includes nine semester hours of clinical instruction. Throughout the program, students actively address the areas of human growth, counseling theory, intervention practice, psychopathology, group dynamics, career development, appraisal, research methods, and professional ethics.

    Accreditations

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

    Contact Information

    210 Lindsey Wilson St.
    Columbia, KY 42728
    (270) 384-7305
    abela@lindsey.edu

  • Northern Kentucky University
    Location

    Highland Heights, KY

    College of Education and Human Services

    Founded in 1968 as part of the metropolitan area of greater Cincinnati in Highland Heights of the northeastern region of the state, Northern Kentucky University is a comprehensive public institution with more than 15,700 students. Fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, NKU is currently ranked as the 77th best college, 35th top public school, and 19th best university for veterans in the South by the U.S. News and World Report. Within the College of Education and Human Services, the Department of Counseling, Social Work, and Leadership is committed to providing in-depth knowledge based upon current research within the profession and plenty of experiential learning opportunities in practical environments.

    Master of Arts (M.A.) in School Counseling

    Home to the national Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference in partnership with the Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, the Master of Arts in School Counseling program has been recognized for best practices by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). With the goal of preparing P-12 school counselors to serve in the Northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati, and Indiana tri-state area, the program equips counselors with the skills to contribute to student success by implementing transformative school counseling practices and establishing data-driven comprehensive counseling programs. With one of the only evidence-based curricula in the nation, students are required to complete a minimum of 48 semester hours and a full-time internship in an approved school setting.

    Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    Designed to prepare graduates to be counselors in hospitals, private practices, community agencies, rehabilitation clinics, substance abuse facilities, and more, the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program focuses on one-on-one and group counseling settings from a developmental perspective. Strongly committed to prevention and advocacy for under-served populations of the surrounding communities, the coursework and field experience prepares students to assist clients overcoming obstacles, such as divorce, bereavement, disabilities, mental or emotional disorders, phobias, and career issues. After completing the 60-hour program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, graduates are eligible for licensure as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and many of the other states.

    Accreditations

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

    Contact Information

    Nunn Drive
    Highland Heights, KY 41099
    (859) 572-5100
    seberak1@nku.edu

  • University of Louisville
    Location

    Louisville, KY

    College of Education and Human Development

    Located on the banks of the Ohio River in the largest city of Kentucky within just 100 miles from both Indianapolis and Cincinnati, the University of Louisville is a premier metropolitan public research institution with more than 16,000 students. Recognized among America's top 12 "good neighbors" by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities survey, the U.S. News and World Report currently ranks U of L as the 161st best college, 88th top public school, and 35th best university for military veterans in the nation. Furthermore, the College of Education and Human Development is nationally acclaimed for being the 74th best graduate education school in the United States.

    Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    Designed for graduate students who wish to engage in the practice of professional counseling in community-based agencies, the Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program provides students with the knowledge base and clinical skills needed to provide high-quality mental health services through counseling and consultation. Focused on the roles of community educator, advocate, social justice leader, mental health preventionist, and program consultant, the program combines classroom and internship experiences to prepare students for various positions as mental health professionals. After completing the required 60 credit hours, graduates have filled the educational requirements needed to be licensed in most states as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) to begin providing the community with counseling and psychotherapy services.

    Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling and Guidance

    Intended to prepare counselors who have the necessary knowledge and skills to promote achievement, personal/social development, and career planning, the Master of Education in School Counseling and Guidance program is ideal for students who wish to serve as school counselors in elementary and secondary school settings. Consistent with a focus on social justice, the program is committed to training counselors to provide a culturally-responsive educational environment for diverse student bodies. Requiring students to complete a minimum of 51 semester hours for completion of the degree, the program engages students on topics in human development, group processes, diversity issues, career counseling, learning and cognition, consultation, assessment methods, and prevention of substance abuse as well as internship experience in approved P-12 school environments for licensure.

    Accreditations

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

    Contact Information

    Woodford and Harriet Porter Building Room 320A
    1905 South First St.
    Louisville, KY 40292
    (502) 852-5716
    jwosbo04@louisville.edu

  • Western Kentucky University
    Location

    Bowling Green, KY

    Department of Counseling and Student Affairs

    Home of the "Hilltoppers" on a beautiful 235-acre urban campus nestled among the impressive hills of downtown Bowling Green with satellite campuses in Glasgow, Owensboro, and Elizabethtown, Western Kentucky University is a comprehensive public applied research institution of more than 21,000 students. Known for being a leading American university with an international outreach, WKU is currently ranked as the 30th best college, 11th top public school, and 7th best up-and-coming university in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. Within the 170th best education school with the 166th best online graduate education programs in the United States, the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs is committed to social action and advocacy by preparing graduates to give highly competent and culturally aware services.

    Master of Arts in Education (MA.Ed.) in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

    As a specialized clinical training program that provides the educational qualifications for licensure as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Kentucky, the Master of Arts in Education in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program focuses on preparing professional counselors for delivering high-quality counseling services to help couples and/or families repair relationships. Throughout the 60-credit program, students learn to counsel couples and families from a holistic approach, collaborate with other professionals, apply evidence-based practices, advocate for clients, and develop a professional counseling identity. Offered with a blend of evening and online classes, the program can be completed in two years full-time or three to four years part-time.

    Master of Arts in Education (MA.Ed.) in School Counseling

    With the mission of training counselors to help elementary and secondary students increase their academic achievement and explore career plans, the Master of Arts in Education in School Counseling program is focused on preparing graduates with the necessary tools to facilitate social, personal, and emotional development in P-12 students. Since the program aims to provide the practical skills to initiate change in entire school systems in order to make broad changes in the lives of students and the community, all graduate members of the program are required to complete a minimum of 100 clock hours of practicum and 600 clock hours of internship in various diverse school settings for valuable experience.

    Accreditations

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

    Contact Information

    Gary Ransdell Hall Room 2014
    1906 College Heights Blvd.
    Bowling Green, KY 42101
    (270) 745-4953
    bill.kline@wku.edu

While employment opportunities in counseling continue to grow steadily, it is an advantageous time for students aspiring to start a career in the helping profession to enroll in a training program that has been given the gold standard of approval by the CACREP for high standards of excellence. Therefore, it is recommended that students in the “Blue Grass State” further investigate these top-notch accredited counseling degree programs in Kentucky to get on the right track to a rewarding career as a professional counselor.

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