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: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, 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.
- There are 13 not-for-profit 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 degree, 3 offer a bachelor’s degree, 0 offer a certificate, and 12 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 10 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 3 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 1 school offers a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 9 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 3 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022.3
- 3 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
- Across 8 schools, 14 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
- Across 4 schools, 4 counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of Kentucky Counseling Schools and Programs
We have compiled a table below to help you compare public and not-for-profit 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 (MF), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). Use the table to compare each school by program type offered, Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation status, graduation rate, and net price per year. Learn more about professional counseling licensure in Kentucky by reading our license requirements page.
|School Name||CACREP-Accred Program2||MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Asbury Theological Seminary||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Eastern Kentucky University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||48%||$14,271|
|Lindsey Wilson College||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||—||40%||$16,316|
|Morehead State University||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||45%||$10,471|
|Murray State University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||56%||$11,237|
|Northern Kentucky University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||48%||$7,443|
|University of Kentucky||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||—||68%||$20,043|
|University of Louisville||—||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||62%||$18,582|
|University of the Cumberlands||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||48%||$13,631|
|Western Kentucky University||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||Yes||54%||$12,395|
US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022
- University of the Cumberlands (#204 tie)
- Campbellsville University (#214 tie)
- Morehead State University (#219 tie)4
Schools in Kentucky with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) offers several in-person counseling degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Those interested in substance abuse counseling can pursue EKU’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology with a concentration in Substance Abuse that consists of 120 credits, including 36 credits of psychology major requirements and 12 credits of substance abuse coursework. The Substance Abuse concentration, which can also be completed online, includes courses such as Psychology of Personality, Introduction to Behavior Therapy, and Psychological Perspectives on Substance Abuse. At the graduate level, 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-credit program that meets the academic requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Kentucky. The MAEd in School Counseling can be completed as a 48-credit degree leading to a Provisional School Counselor Certificateor as a 60-credit degree leading to Rank I Certification. 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.
Lindsey Wilson College is a United Methodist college with numerous campuses in Kentucky and 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, sociology, and social work along with general education coursework. 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, 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 with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at numerous campuses and online. The degree meets the coursework requirements in Kentucky for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) credential, as well as the academic licensure requirements for most surrounding states. 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 (CES).
Traditional Graduate Programs
Murray State University offers three 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 42 credits of counseling coursework, and the EdS also requires additional credits for a total of 60 credit hours. The CACREP-accredited 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.
The University of Louisville offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) with two tracks in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. The M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling consists 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 Kentucky’s Provisional Certificate in School Counseling. Students also have the option of completing a 60-credit hour program that qualifies them for a Rank 1 Certification in School Counseling upon graduation or a Standard Guidance Certificate if they hold a teaching license in Kentucky. Individuals interested in marriage and family therapy may apply to the COAMFTE-accredited Master of Science in Couple and Family Therapy (MSCFT), a 60-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 (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 comprises 36 credits including a counseling core and a professional education core. Individuals who would like to study school counseling in more depth can apply for the Rank I credential in School Counseling, which builds on the MA curriculum and requires students to complete 60 credits. MSU also offers a 30-credit online Specialist in Education (EdS) with a specialty in Counseling that is open to students who have a master’s degree in counseling and are already certified as school counselors in Kentucky. The EdS is designed to train students on school counseling theory, clinical skills, and research to provide greater career advancement opportunities.
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.
The University of Kentucky (UK) offers the CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Counselor Education (CE) program with specialties in Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Most students graduate from the 100% online CE program in two years, which requires them to complete 43 credits of Counseling Core and 17 credits in a chosen specialty for a total of 60 credits. UK 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. UK also offers an on-campus, CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision designed for individuals with a counseling-related master’s degree.
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Accredited Programs: https://www.cacrep.org/directory/
3. US News & World Report Best Student Counseling Programs 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/student-counseling-rankings
4. US News & World Report Best Online Master’s in Education Programs Offering Student Counseling and Personnel Services 2022: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/education/student-counseling-rankings
5. Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, Directory of COAMFTE Accredited Programs: https://coamfte.org/COAMFTE/Directory_of_Accredited_Programs/MFT_Training_Programs.aspx