Kentucky School Counselor Certification

In Kentucky, school counselors are certified mental health professionals who support all students in kindergarten through grade 12 with social/emotional, academic, and career development. They provide access to enriching experiences that will positively impact student progress. They work to ensure each student can become a contributing and productive citizen.

With counselors located at 1,233 school campuses in 173 districts, Kentucky’s Department of Education is committed to providing excellent resources for these professionals, whose commitment to student success is vital for the wellbeing of families and communities across the entire state. If you would like to read more about school counselor opportunities in Kentucky, visit the Kentucky School Counseling Association website.

Skip down the page to the certification pathway you’re interested in:

Initial Kentucky School Counselor Certification

The initial license for school counselor in Kentucky is the Provisional license. It is valid for five (5) years and advanced to the Standard certificate before September 1 of the expiration year.

Step 1: Education Requirements

  • Master’s degree in school guidance counseling from an approved, regionally-accredited institution such as the following programs:
  • You must also have completed a school counseling internship (minimum 6 credits) and school counseling practicum (3 credits), as part of the master’s degree program

Step 2: Criminal Background Check

According to the Division of Educator Licensure and Quality, Kentucky Department of Education does not require a background check to process an initial application unless the check is requested by the legal department.

Background checks are typically handled at the school district level.

Step 3: Examination Requirements

As of February 2020, there are no examination requirements for Kentucky School Counseling endorsements.

Step 4: Know the Fees

License Application Fee: $85

The license application fee is payable online through the application portal.

Step 5: Organize Your Application Materials

Your complete application is submitted online and includes the following materials:

  • Completed profile and application through the Kentucky Department of Education website
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
  • $85 initial application fee

Step 6: Submit Your Application

Your application for Kentucky School Counselor certification must be submitted online, using the Kentucky Department of Education website.

Additional Information

If you need additional assistance with your initial application for a Provisional school counseling license, contact the Kentucky Certification and Preparation office at 502-564-4606. You can also email a specialist at kdelicensure@education.ky.gov.

Kentucky School Counselor Certification Renewal

The Kentucky school counselor Provisional license is valid for five (5) years from the date of issue. The Provisional license advances to the Standard certificate, and is obtained when you meet one of the following two qualification options:

Option I

  1. Completion of an approved master’s degree program in guidance counseling; and
  2. Successful completion of an additional three (3) to six (6) credit hours from an approved graduate level counseling or guidance counseling program; and
  3. One (1) year of full time employment as a Provisionally-certified counselor in a public school or nonpublic school which meets the state performance standards or has been accredited by a regional or national accrediting association; and
  4. A valid Kentucky Professional teaching certificate; and
  5. A minimum one (1) year of full time classroom teaching experience on a Professional Teaching Certificate in a public school or nonpublic school which meets the state performance standards or has been accredited by a regional or national accrediting association

Option II

  1. Successful completion of an approved master’s degree program in guidance counseling; and
  2. Successful completion of an additional three (3) to six (6) credit hours from an approved graduate level counseling or guidance counseling program; and
  3. A minimum of two (2) years of successful employment as a Provisionally-certified full time guidance counselor

Standard certificates are valid for five (5) years and renewed by September 1 of the expiration year. To renew a Standard certificate, you will complete twelve (12) Effective Instructional Leadership Act hours, and must maintain documentation of completing this required training.

The Standard certificate renewal application fee is $85. Certificates ae renewable through the Department of Education website, located here.

Additional Assistance

If you have questions about your certificate advancement or renewal, call the Kentucky Certification and Preparation office at 502-564-4606 during normal business hours, or email a specialist at kdelicensure@education.ky.gov.

Kentucky School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

The Kentucky Department of Education will consider your current, valid out-of-state school counseling credential for the initial Provisional school counselor license.

Your application materials include:

  • Completed profile and application at the Kentucky Department of Education website
  • Official transcripts for all institutions attended
  • Copy of current, valid license
  • Proof of scores for examinations completed for licensing state, if applicable
  • $85 licensure application fee

Additional Assistance

For additional assistance, email a certification specialist at kdelicensure@education.ky.gov or call the Certification and Preparation office at 502-564-4606 during normal business hours.

Kentucky School Counseling Certification Resources

For resources to assist you with continuing education and other career development opportunities, see the following websites:

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