Kansas Counseling License Requirements
As of May 2021, there are over 5,500 people employed in various counseling practice areas in Kansas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1-5 Those interested in entering the counseling field in Kansas will need to undergo a lengthy licensing process in order to become one, including pursuing a foundational education, gaining years of experience, taking an exam, and applying to the correct state licensure board. On this page, you can learn about the process to get your Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor license and other professional counseling license types available in Kansas.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Counselor in Kansas
- Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) Licensing Process
- Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Kansas
- Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist (LCMFT)
- School Counselor
- Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC)
- Other Professional Counseling Careers
- Kansas Counseling Career and Salary Information
- Counseling Associations in Kansas
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Become a Counselor in Kansas
Prospective professional counselors in Kansas of all types will need to meet specific educational requirements before they are able to become licensed. There are several schools in Kansas that offer counseling degrees. Schools in other states may also offer programs that meet Kansas requirements. You may also have to meet experience and testing requirements during the licensure process. If you already hold a license in another state and are looking to practice in Kansas, visit our Counseling License Reciprocity Guide.
1. Decide which area of counseling to pursue.
Professional counseling is a broad field and encompasses many practice areas, including school and guidance counseling, substance abuse counseling, marriage and family therapy, and mental health counseling. Because there are so many different types of counseling, you will most likely be required to get a specialized degree to qualify for a given practice area, so planning ahead of time which area you wish to target is crucial.
2. Earn the degree(s) required for your counseling practice area.
All Kansas counseling licenses discussed on this page require a degree and most require a master’s degree. The only exception is the Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC), which requires a bachelor’s degree to earn licensure.
3. Get licensed to practice counseling in Kansas.
Getting the appropriate degree is only the first step to becoming a Kansas counselor. Most counseling types require a lengthy licensing process involving gaining supervised experience and taking required exams. The Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (BSRB) regulates the licensure of licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and substance abuse counselors in Kansas. School counselors must be licensed through the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). Continue reading to learn more about each of these license types and the process for becoming each one.
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) Licensing Process
The Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (BSRB) licenses mental health counselors in the state, known as Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPCs). Kansas uses a tiered licensing structure, so aspiring LCPCs can become licensed as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and work under supervision until they attain their LCPC, if they so choose. LCPCs in Kansas are permitted to practice independently to diagnose and treat the mental disorders of their patients. For more information about a career in professional counseling, read our mental health counselor career guide. To become an LCPC in Kansas, you will need to first complete an approved, 60-hour master’s degree program in counseling or a related field with specific coursework requirements that includes a supervised practicum consisting of at least 280 hours of direct client contact. Then, you will complete the following steps:
1. Submit an application to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
Your application packet should include official transcripts, three letters of reference in sealed, signed envelopes, and the application fee of $50 (as of November 2022).
2. Pass the NCE Exam.
Once the BSRB has had your application on file for six weeks and has had the chance to review it, they will notify you that you can take the required exam to become an LPC. Kansas requires that LPC candidates take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) exam administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). You can find more information and content outlines on the NBCC website.
3. Receive your LPC license and accrue supervised experience.
As an LPC, you will be able to work under supervision to accumulate the post-graduate experience you will need to become clinically licensed. You will need to complete two years of at least 3,000 hours, including at least 1,500 hours of direct client contact and at least 100 hours of person-to-person individual supervision. You must submit the Clinical Supervision Training Plan before you begin to accrue the hours.
4. Apply for LCPC licensure and permission to test.
The next step will be to apply to the BSRB for LCPC licensure. You will submit the application packet along with the $50 fee and Post-Graduate Supervisor Attestation (included in the packet).
5. Pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE).
After the BSRB has reviewed your LCPC application, they will notify you that you can take the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE), also administered by the NBCC. Study materials can be found on the NBCC website.
6. Receive your LCPC license.
Once you have passed the clinical exam and the BSRB has reviewed your application, you will receive your LCPC license and be able to practice independently in Kansas.
LCPC by Reciprocity in Kansas
While Kansas does not have any formal reciprocity agreements with any other states, it does offer licensure by reciprocity to candidates licensed in another state. To be eligible for licensure by reciprocity, you must have been practicing clinical mental health counseling for at least five consecutive years in your state, your license must be in good standing, and your license must be determined to have substantially equivalent requirements as the Kansas license. You must also have at least three years in clinical practice diagnosing and treating mental health disorders and hold a master’s degree in counseling. If you meet these requirements, you can use the reciprocity application to apply for LPCC licensure in Kansas.
Counselor License Renewal and Continuing Education Information
Both LPCs and LCPCs in Kansas must meet continuing education requirements for renewal. Professional counseling licenses must be renewed every two years. During this time, 30 hours of documented, approved continuing education must be completed. More information about continuing education unit (CEU) requirements can be found on the BSRB website. You can renew with a paper application or online.
Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Kansas
LPCs and LCPCs are not the only professional counseling licenses in Kansas. The state also has licensed marriage and family therapists, school counselors, and substance abuse counselors, each of which has its own unique license pathway.
Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist (LCMFT)
In Kansas, the licensure of marriage and family therapists is overseen by the Behavioral Services Regulatory Board (BSRB). After receiving a master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field with certain coursework and a supervised practicum, candidates can apply to become an LMFT while they gain the necessary supervised experience to become an LCMFT in Kansas’s tiered licensing process. LMFTs in Kansas must practice under the supervision of an LCMFT. Both LMFTs and LCMFTs are permitted to treat, evaluate, and diagnose mental disorders within marriage and family systems, but only LCMFTs practice marriage and family therapy independently. To become fully licensed as an LCMFT in Kansas, you will:
- Apply as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).
- Take and pass the National Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Examination from the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board’s (AMFTRB).
- Submit a Clinical Supervision Training Plan and accrue 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience (including at least 1,500 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of clinical supervision).
- Apply for your full LCMFT license.
If you would like to learn more about becoming an LMFT, read our LMFT career guide.
If you are interested in becoming a school counselor in Kansas, you will need to apply for an Initial School Specialist License as a school counselor with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). School counselors in Kansas support and enhance student learning and achievement and collaborate with parents and other educators to ensure students’ preparedness for the future. Both licensed educators and those with no teaching background can become licensed as school counselors with the completion of an approved school counseling preparation program and graduate degree. While you are enrolled in your program, you can work under a provisional license (under the supervision of a professional school counselor) once you have completed 50% of the program. Beyond the educational requirements, the basic steps for becoming a school counselor in Kansas are:
- Take the Praxis school counseling exam.
- Request an Initial School Specialist License online and seek employment.
- Gain one year of supervised experience (internship or mentoring program).
- Complete a performance assessment while employed with an initial license.
- Apply for and receive a five-year Professional School Specialist License in school counseling.
For more information about the school counseling profession, see our school counselor career guide.
Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC)
The Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (BSRB) also handles the licensing of substance abuse counselors in the state, called Licensed Addiction Counselors (LACs), Licensed Masters Addiction Counselors (LMACs), and Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselors (LCACs). Substance abuse counselors in Kansas use their skills to assist people struggling with addictions by exploring the consequences of their disease, examining their attitudes and feelings, and considering alternatives to using. Substance abuse counselors evaluate and assess, assign treatment plans, and facilitate crisis intervention. While LACs and LMACs must work under the supervision of an LCAC at all times, LCACs can diagnose and treat disorders independently.
LACs can become licensed with a bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling or a related field. The program must include required coursework as well as a supervised practicum that consists of 400 clock hours. The LMAC credential requires a master’s degree in addiction counseling or a related field that includes a practicum consisting of 300 hours of direct client contact. If you hold licensure from the BSRB as an LPC, LMFT, Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), or Master’s Level Psychologist (LMLP), you may become licensed as an LMAC through one of these pathways as well. The most advanced substance abuse license in Kansas, and the only one able to practice independently, is the LCAC, which requires a National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC)-accredited master’s degree in addiction counseling or a related master’s degree that meets specific coursework. To gain the LCAC title, you should:
- Apply to become an LMAC.
- Take the Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) exam given by the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC).
- Submit a Clinical Supervision Training Plan and accrue 3,000 hours of supervised postgraduate experience including at least 1,500 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of clinical supervision.
- Apply to be an LCAC and receive your license.
Optional Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Kansas
In addition to the above credentials offered by the BSRB, the Oklahoma Drug & Alcohol Professional Counselor Association (ODAPCA) offers several optional credentials for Kansas substance abuse professionals (who may or may not be counselors) who wish to further specialize their knowledge and improve their skillsets. Adding on one or more of these credentials may boost your resume and improve your hiring potential.
- Certified Prevention Professional (CPP)
- Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS)
- Certified Prevention Technician (CPT)
If you would like to learn more about becoming a substance abuse counselor, you should check out our substance abuse counselor career guide.
Other Professional Counseling Careers
In addition to the four counseling types described above, there are many other subfields that fall under the counseling umbrella. Some of these include:
- Rehabilitation Counselor
- Gambling Counselor
- Genetic Counselor
- Youth Counselor
- Guidance Counselor
- Pastoral Counselor
- Recreational Therapist
Kansas Counseling Career and Salary Information
According to the data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) most counseling areas in Kansas earn average annual salaries above $40,000 per year.1-5 Educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors have the highest average salaries, earning an average of $56,670 each year.3 This is also the field with the most counselors in the state, with 2,650 employed, and Kansas’s nonmetropolitan area ranks number one for the highest employment in this subfield.3 The subfield with the second-highest number of counselors in Kansas is substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling.1 This area includes 1,780 counselors, who earn an average salary of $49,210.1
There is expected to be positive job growth in many counseling areas in Kansas in the coming years, according to long-term estimates by Projections Central.6 By the year 2030, Kansas is projected to add a total of 530 new counseling jobs in the four major areas with available data.6 The largest increase in job openings may be seen in the subfield of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling, which is expected to add 300 new job openings (15.5% growth) over the 10-year period ending in 2030.6 Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counseling is projected to see the second fastest growth (8.5%), adding 220 new jobs to the field through 2030.6
|Occupation||Number Employed1-5||Average Annual Salary1-5|
|Counselors, All Other||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors||2,650||$56,670|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||220||$47,470|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||1,780||$49,210|
Counseling Associations in Kansas
- Kansas Counseling Association (KCA): Dedicated to professional counseling advocacy and advancement of the profession in Kansas by supporting the association’s many divisions.
- Kansas School Counselor Association (KSCA): Collaborates with school counselors throughout the state to support the emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students.
- Kansas Association of Marriage & Family Counselors (KAMFC): This division of the Kansas Counseling Association concentrates on the area of family and marriage counseling, bringing together professionals in the field.
- Kansas Association of Addiction Professionals (KAAP): The largest addiction services trade association in Kansas that provides advocacy and support to promote success in addiction treatment and prevention.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there counseling careers without a degree in Kansas?
All of the primary counseling types in Kansas discussed on this page do require a degree, the lowest being the LAC substance abuse counseling license, which requires a bachelor’s degree. LCPCs, LCMFTs, school counselors, and LCACs all require a master’s degree or higher to practice. There may be other types of counseling not detailed on this page that do not require a degree. Check out our Careers page for more information on various counseling careers.
Do I need a degree to be a substance abuse counselor in Kansas?
Yes. To become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC), you will need a bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling or a related field; to become a Licensed Masters Addiction Counselor (LMAC) or Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor (LCAC), you will need a master’s degree in addiction counseling or a closely related field.
How many counseling jobs in Kansas will be available in the coming years?
According to Projections Central, the state can expect some growth in all major practice areas with data with the exception of rehabilitation counseling.6 The highest number of average annual openings is expected in the substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling field, with an average of 220 job openings expected each year through 2030, including replacement jobs.6 Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counseling jobs follow close behind, with an average of 270 job openings expected each year through 2030.6
Can Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists practice independently in Kansas?
Kansas offers a tiered licensing system by which counselors are first licensed as LMFTs in order to accrue the required supervised experience necessary to become an LCMFT. Full licensure as a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist (LCMFT) is necessary to practice independently in Kansas.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211018.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Marriage and Family Therapists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211012.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Rehabilitation Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211015.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Counselors, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211019.htm
6. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm