Kansas has two types of professional licenses for counselors, including licensed professional counselors (LPCs) and licensed clinical professional counselors (LCPCs). Kansas counselor licenses are regulated by the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board. If you want to become a counselor in Kansas, you’ll need to meet specific counseling therapy educational and testing requirements. Depending on the type of counselor license you are seeking, you might also need to meet post-graduate supervision requirements. Here’s how to become a counselor in Kansas.
Types of Counselor Licenses in Kansas
Kansas has two types of counselor licenses, including a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC). An LCPC has additional supervision and education requirements and allows the licensee to independently diagnose and treat mental health disorders. An LPC can diagnose and treat mental disorders under the direction of a licensed professional who can work as an independent practitioner, including an LCPC, licensed psychologist, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), or another professional whose license allows them to independently diagnose and treat mental health disorders.
Instruction Required for Counselor Licensure in Kansas
The process of how to become a counselor in Kansas involves first meeting the state’s educational requirements. Kansas requires applicants for licensure as LPCs or LCPCs to have master’s or doctoral degrees in counseling or a related field. They must have completed a minimum of 60 graduate credit hours in counseling through an accredited institution. At least 45 of the graduate credit semester hours must include courses covering the following topics:
- Counseling theory and practice
- The helping relationship
- Group dynamics, processes, and counseling techniques
- Human growth and development
- Career development and lifestyle foundations
- Appraisal of individuals
- Social and cultural foundations
- Research and evaluation
- Professional orientation
- Supervised practical experience
To become a licensed clinical professional counselor, the applicant must have completed a program that satisfies all of the above-listed requirements plus an additional 15 graduate credit semester hours in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders from an accredited institution. These additional hours must include the following courses:
- A minimum of two graduate credit hours in professional ethics
- A minimum of two graduate credit hours in psychopathology and diagnostic assessment that includes a study of the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
- Coursework on treatment approaches
- Interdisciplinary referral and collaboration
- Clinical practicum
Kansas does not have state-specific requirements for coursework content, but it does require the social and cultural foundations content to include studies on gender issues, racism, families, sexism, the changing roles of women, urban and rural societies, life patterns, cultural mores, use of leisure time, and population patterns.
People who are seeking licensure as LPCs in Kansas are not required to complete post-graduate supervision hours. However, if they want to pursue an LCPC after receiving an LPC, they will need to complete supervision hours.
With a Master’s degree, an LPC will need to submit a supervision plan to the state and then complete at least 4,000 supervised hours under the supervision of an LCPC over a minimum of two years. Out of these hours, at least 1,500 must involve direct client contact while completing psychological assessments and conducting therapy with individuals, groups, families, or couples. The hours must also include a minimum of 100 hours of face-to-face clinical supervision, including at least 50 hours of individual supervision.
In addition, they must have a minimum of two clinical supervision sessions each month, and one of the two sessions must be an individual supervision session.
For an applicant with a doctoral degree, the supervision hours required are halved. Applicants who have completed doctoral degrees will need to complete a minimum of 2,000 total supervised hours over one year with 750 involving direct client contact and 50 including face-to-face clinical supervision with a minimum of 25 hours of individual supervision.
To meet the requirements, the supervising professional must be a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) with at least two years of experience following licensure. If an LCPC is unavailable, the supervising professional can be another licensed professional whose license allows them to independently diagnose and treat mental health disorders, but they must have at least five years of post-graduate experience. They must also have completed the education and counseling coursework that would enable them to obtain licensure as an LCPC.
Before applying for a license as an LPC, the applicant must first obtain a passing score on the National Counselor Examination (NCE). This test is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NCE is administered two times per year in the spring and fall and can be taken in person at a Pearson VUE center or online through the Pearson VUE platform. Once an applicant has registered for the exam, they will have a five-week window to sit for it.
The exam includes 200 questions out of which 160 are scored. The remaining 40 are field-testing questions that are used for statistical evaluation purposes for possible inclusion on future NCE tests but are not scored.
The questions cover the following topics:
- Professional counseling orientation and ethics
- Social and cultural diversity
- Human growth and development
- Career development
- Counseling and helping relationships
- Group counseling and group work
- Assessment and testing
- Research and program evaluation
Test-takers who register to take their exams at a testing center must present valid identification to enter. The center provides a locker to store keys, wallets, and cell phones. People can’t bring guests, calculators, cell phones, smart watches, recorders, digital assistants, or other devices into the testing room. Writing materials will be provided by the center.
Those who plan to take the NCE online will need to capture their government-issued, valid ID and take a real-time photograph of themselves. The online test is proctored by a webcam and microphone by both artificial intelligence and a human proctor. The test-taker must also take four photos of the room in which they are taking the test and submit them.
People who want to get the LCPC license must take and pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE), which is also administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. The NCMHCE evaluates the ability of the test-taker to analyze, identify, diagnose, and develop treatment plans based on case studies. The test lasts for a total of 255 minutes and includes 11 case studies that must be analyzed. Like the NCE, the NCMHCE can be scheduled at a Pearson Vue Test Center or online through the Pearson OnVue platform. It has similar security and identification requirements.
Licensure and Fees
The application fee for the NCE or the NCHMCE in Kansas is $195. The application fee for LPC licensure in Kansas is $50.
To obtain an LPC license, you must be at least 21 years old, have a Master’s degree in counseling or a related field that meets the educational requirements, and pass the NCE. You will need to submit three professional reference forms and have official transcripts sent directly to the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board from your educational institutions and fill out and submit the LPC application packet.
If you are applying for an LCPC license, you must meet the following criteria:
- Either be a licensed LPC or meet the same qualifications
- Have completed the required supervision hours under an approved supervision plan
- Apply to the BSRB at least six weeks before the registration deadline for the NCMHCE
- Take and pass the NCMHCE
- Have official transcripts sent directly to the BRSB from your university or college
- Submit three professional reference forms, including one from the person who supervised you and one from an LCPC
- Post-graduate supervisor attestation
- Complete and submit the LCPC application packet
- Pay the $50 application fee
Other fees include the $150 original license fee, $100 renewal LPC license fee, $125 renewal LCPC license fee, $50 temporary license fee, $200 reinstatement license fee, $20 duplicate license fee, and $2 duplicate wallet card fee.
Continuing Education Requirements
Once you obtain your LPC or LCPC license in Kansas, you will need to renew it every two years. The state has the following continuing education requirements you must meet to maintain your license:
- A minimum of 30 approved continuing education hours in each two-year renewal period
- Three of the continuing education hours must be in professional ethics
- Six of the hours must be on the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders
- One hour consisting of a minimum of 50 minutes of instruction
The continuing education requirements are designed to ensure that licensed professional counselors and licensed clinical professional counselors remain current with the latest research and knowledge in the field and maintain professional ethics and skills in their practice.
Counselor Salary in Kansas
As of 2021, the latest date for which the data is available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors in Kansas earned a median hourly wage of $23.64 and a mean hourly wage of $23.66. The mean annual salary for a counselor in Kansas was $49,210.