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Counseling Degrees and Programs in Kentucky

Kentucky colleges and universities offer prospective counselors numerous degree options, including undergraduate, graduate, and online programs in the five major counseling categories: marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. To start your counseling career, choosing a degree program will likely be one of your first steps as nearly all types of counseling licensure in Kentucky require a degree. While a master’s degree in counseling is the most commonly offered type of program, Kentucky colleges and universities also offer undergraduate counseling degrees that give new students the chance to learn about the profession. Many schools also offer online or hybrid degree options that provide the same coursework as on-campus degrees in a more flexible format.

Quick Facts

  • There are 13 not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities that offer a program in marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, school counseling, substance abuse counseling, and/or vocational rehabilitation counseling in Kentucky.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in Kentucky, 0 offer an associate’s degree, 3 offer a bachelor’s degree, 3 offer a certificates, and 12 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
  • 2 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 8 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
  • 1 school offers a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
  • 9 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 4 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
  • No counseling schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019.3
  • No schools ranked in US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019.4
  • 1 school ranked in US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019.5
  • Across 9 schools, 16 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2

Comparison of Kentucky Counseling Schools and Programs

We have compiled a table below to help you compare public and not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities in Kentucky that offer at least one counseling program in the five major practice areas: mental health counseling (MH), marriage and family therapy (MFT), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). The table indicates the schools that offer programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); CACREP-accredited programs are denoted with an asterisk (*). You can also compare schools by program type offered, graduation rate, and net price per year. Learn more about professional counseling licensure in Kentucky by reading our license requirements page.

School NameCACREP-
Accred
Program2
MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Asbury Theological SeminaryYesYes*N.Av.N.Av.
Campbellsville UniversityYes40%$17,843
Eastern Kentucky UniversityYesYes*Yes*47%$14,273
Lindsey Wilson CollegeYesYes*37%$15,405
Morehead State UniversityYes45%$12,528
Murray State UniversityYesYes*Yes*55%$12,270
Northern Kentucky UniversityYesYes*Yes*Yes42%$9,753
Spalding UniversityYes39%$23,552
Union CollegeYes27%$17,445
University of KentuckyYesYes*66%$19,762
University of LouisvilleYesYes*YesYes*57%$17,098
University of the CumberlandsYesYes*YesYes*33%$17,588
Western Kentucky UniversityYesYes*Yes*Yes*Yes45%$12,486

Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Kentucky

US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019

  • University of Kentucky (#9 tie)

Schools in Kentucky with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

Lindsey Wilson College

Lindsey Wilson College is a United Methodist college with numerous campuses in Kentucky and the surrounding states. The college offers a 120-credit Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Human Services and Counseling degree with an interdisciplinary curriculum combining courses in psychology, counseling techniques, and mental health. Students must successfully complete at least one semester of coursework before applying to the Human Services and Counseling major. In Kentucky, the degree is available at the Ashland, Cumberland, Hazard, London, Louisville, Maysville, Prestonsburg, Scottsville, and Somerset campuses as well as online. Lindsey Wilson College also offers a 60-credit, CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling & Human Development with a specialization in Mental Health Counseling at the numerous Kentucky campuses and online. The degree meets the coursework requirements in Kentucky for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) credential. Students who already have a master’s degree in counseling can apply to the CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision.

Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University (NKU) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Services and Addictions that introduces students to counseling theories and helps them develop important counseling skills, such as case management and cultural competence. Courses are offered in online and hybrid formats for maximum flexibility. The degree requires 120 credits and 360 hours of supervised field experience in a related setting. Students may apply coursework from the BS program towards the educational requirements for the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) credential. NKU also offers a 60-credit Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a 60-credit Master of Arts (MA) in School Counseling. Both degrees are accredited by CACREP and fulfill the coursework requirements for counseling licensure in their respective areas of practice.

Traditional Graduate Programs

Eastern Kentucky University

At Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), students can complete a CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or a CACREP-accredited Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) in School Counseling. The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-66 credit program that meets the academic requirements to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in Kentucky. The MAEd in School Counseling can be completed as a 48-credit degree leading to a Provisional Certificate in School Counselor or as a Rank I Certification requiring 60 credits. A Doctor of Education (EdD) in Counselor Education and Supervision is also available and is open to students with a master’s degree in counseling and at least three years of experience. This degree is designed for students who wish to pursue advanced clinical, teaching, or research opportunities in a specific area of counseling.

Murray State University

Murray State University is home to three CACREP-accredited counseling programs: a Master of Arts (MA) in School Counseling; a Specialist in Education (EdS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; and an EdS in School Counseling. The MA and EdS in School Counseling both include 48 credits of counseling coursework; however, the EdS also requires 12 additional credits in advanced counseling techniques, addictions counseling, and family counseling. The EdS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires 60 credits. The MA in School Counseling meets state coursework requirements for the Provisional School Counseling Certification, while the EdS in School Counseling meets the coursework requirements for the Rank I in School Counseling in Kentucky. Students in the EdS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling will meet state academic requirements for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) license.

University of Louisville

The University of Louisville offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) with two tracks in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. The M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is comprised of 60 credits and fulfills the coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) credential. The M.Ed. in School Counseling is a 48-credit degree that meets the educational requirements for the Rank I Certificate in School Counseling in Kentucky. Individuals interested in marriage and family therapy may apply to the Master of Science in Couple and Family Therapy (MSCFT), which is a 59-credit, two-year program that meets Kentucky’s academic requirements to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). The school also offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling and Personnel Services with a specialization in Counselor Education and Supervision. This degree provides experienced counselors with opportunities to develop leadership, teaching, and research skills.

Online and Hybrid Programs

Morehead State University

Morehead State University (MSU) offers prospective school counselors two online degree choices. The Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling prepares students to become certified as school counselors in elementary, middle, and secondary school settings. The degree is comprised of 36 credits including a counseling core and a professional education core. Individuals who would like to study school counseling in more depth can apply to the Rank I credential in School Counseling, which builds on the MA curriculum and requires students to complete 60 credits. MSU also offers an online Specialist in Education (EdS) that is open to students who are already certified as school counselors in Kentucky and have a master’s degree in counseling. The EdS is designed to deepen the students’ understanding of school counseling theories, clinical skills, and research to provide greater career advancement opportunities. All coursework for the MSU school counseling programs is completed online.

Union College

Union College offers online and on-campus counseling programs. The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Substance Abuse Counseling is a 120-credit degree including a liberal education core, electives, and 39 credits in the Substance Abuse Counseling major area. Students also complete a substance abuse counseling internship. At the graduate level, an online 21-credit Chemical Dependency Counselor Certificate is offered, which prepares students to work in the substance abuse counseling field and may be completed concurrently with the BS degree. Graduates of the BS or Certificate programs may continue their studies in the 60-credit online Master of Science (MS) in Substance Abuse Counseling. Coursework completed in the certificate and MS degree program can be used to meet the academic requirements for the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) credential in Kentucky.

University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky (UK) offers online and on-campus versions of the CACREP-accredited Master of Rehabilitation Counseling (MRC) degree with a specialization in either Rehabilitation Counseling or Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health. Both tracks prepare students to work as rehabilitation counselors upon graduation, but the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health track also meets Kentucky’s academic requirements to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). The online MRC degree offers two start dates each year with courses delivered in eight-week blocks. All coursework is delivered via asynchronous formats with the exception of field supervision. Both the online and on-campus versions of the degree require 60 credits and can be completed in 16 months. UK also offers an on-campus, CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Rehabilitation Counselor Education, Research, and Policy and a 21-credit Graduate Certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling designed for individuals with a counseling-related master’s degree.

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), Accredited Programs: https://www.cacrep.org/directory/
3. Kiplinger’s Best College Values, 2019: https://www.kiplinger.com/fronts/special-report/college-rankings/index.html
4. US News & World Report Best Student Counseling Programs, 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/student-counseling-rankings
5. US News & World Report Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs, 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/rehabilitation-counseling-rankings