Home Psychology Programs and Licensing by State Psychology Programs in Kentucky

Psychology Programs in Kentucky

Working as a psychologist or mental health provider in Kentucky gives you the opportunity to help people during times of crisis and improve their lives. Whether you plan to work in clinical, research, or academic positions, this field can be extremely meaningful for you and the individuals you serve. Approximately 18,250 psychologists, counselors, therapists, and social workers were employed in Kentucky as of 2018, with each of these roles expected to see growth over the coming years.

No matter if you want to become a licensed psychologist, therapist, substance abuse counselor, or social worker, plenty of psychology programs in Kentucky can help you achieve that goal. This page details Kentucky psychologist licensure requirements, different specializations you can pursue, job growth, salaries, available internships, and colleges for psychology in Kentucky.

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How to Become a Psychologist in Kentucky

The Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology doesn’t make it all that easy to receive licensure, and for good reason. Psychologists are expected to be knowledgeable and trained experts in their chosen field. They must go through years of education and supervised work experience before demonstrating their preparedness for licensure. Below is the recommended path you’ll need to take in order to become a licensed psychologist in Kentucky.

  1. Pursue a bachelor’s degree: While it’s not necessary to pursue a bachelor’s specifically in psychology, these four-year programs can help set the foundation for future study and confirm that you’re on the right educational path.
  2. Complete a master’s degree, if required: If you plan to work as a marriage and family therapist, school counselor, or other position that doesn’t require a doctorate, you may want to pursue a master’s degree. Unlike other states, Kentucky does allow people to practice as licensed psychological practitioners with a master’s degree.
  3. Earn a doctorate: While Kentucky does not require this degree level to work as a licensed psychologist, if there is even a small chance of you ever moving to another state, you should pursue your doctorate; most states require this level of education. These programs usually take between four and seven years, depending on the degree.
  4. Identify a specialization: Psychology covers a wide spectrum of topics and approaches, making it imperative for students to select a specialization such as developmental, experimental, clinical, or behavioral psychology.
  5. Obtain licensure: When seeking a psychology license in Kentucky, you typically need to demonstrate satisfactory completion of all educational requirements, take part in pre- and post-doctorate supervised experiences, and pass any required examinations.

Kentucky Psychology Licensing and Exams

Requirements for licensure as a mental health professional vary significantly in Kentucky based on several factors. We take a look at the steps particular to individuals seeking to work as a licensed psychologist below.

  1. Meet educational requirements: To work as a psychologist in Kentucky, you must earn your degree from a recognized institution and write a dissertation or thesis depending on your degree level. Doctoral candidates must complete at least three years of study, with one year of residency, while master’s candidates need to have earned at least forty-five semester hours of coursework.
  2. Complete all supervised work experience: The Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology mandates that all doctoral candidates complete at least one three graduate semester hour practicum, while master’s candidates must experience at least 600 hours in relevant field experience.
  3. Turn in application and fee: The Application for Licensure as a Psychological Practitioner must be filled out and turned in to the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology along with a $200 application fee, three letters of reference, and official transcripts from any educational institutions attended.
  4. Take and pass mandated examinations: Licensees in Kentucky must pass both the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the Kentucky structured examinations for licensure (focusing on Kentucky’s relevant laws, principles, and practices). The EPPP must be taken on a computer and the applicant must earn a scaled score of at least 500; failure requires re-applying to the board and, if approved, again paying all relevant fees, and sitting the exam a second time. The Kentucky structured exams are oral and proctored by two board-approved, licensed psychologists. Failure results in applicants reapplying with an improvement plan.
  5. Maintain licensure: Psychologist licenses must be renewed every three years in Kentucky. To qualify for renewal, you must demonstrate completion of at least 39 continuing education credits over that time period.

Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in Kentucky

Before pursuing a career in psychology, make sure the job provides both a salary that meets your living requirements and isn’t expected to become obsolete in the coming years. We highlight a few common job titles in Kentucky to help you ascertain this information, but be aware that these are not all the options available in your state.

Mental Health Careers and Job Growth in Kentucky

CareerAverage SalaryAverage Wage Per HourExpected Job Growth
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors$58,770 $28.25 11%
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists$64,330 $30.93 13%
Rehabilitation Counselors$37,200 $17.8812%
Marriage and Family Therapists$42,240 $20.31N/A
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers$35,600$17.1216%
Behavioral DisorderSubstance Abuse, and Mental Health Counselors$42,240 $20.31 25%

Salary data from Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Job growth data from CareerOneStop (2020).

Recognized Psychology Specializations in Kentucky

Individuals pursuing a career in psychology or a related field can follow several specialized paths depending on their particular interests. We take a look at some of the most common jobs in this sector below, but this is by no means an exhaustive list of available titles.

  • Psychologist: The Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology offers a psychological practitioner license that serves as an overarching credential for practicing in a variety of psychological specializations. Whether you specialize in clinical, counseling, experimental, forensic, or any other psychological sub-discipline, you will apply for licensure via this path.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist: These professionals work with individuals, families, children, and couples to address conflict in relationships. They may provide one-to-one or group therapy based on individual needs. Marriage and family therapists must possess, at minimum, a master’s degree and supervised work experience before applying to the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Marriage and Family Therapists.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker: LCSWs provide a range of services–like counseling and case management—specifically to individuals who are oppressed or vulnerable. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, community health clinics, therapy offices, or in private practice. LCSWs in Kentucky must have a master’s degree and two years of supervised experience before seeking licensure via the Kentucky Board of Social Work.
  • Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor: The Kentucky Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors provides two types of licenses: Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counseling Associate and Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor. The former exists for individuals still completing their supervised work experience requirements, while the latter is for those who already finished this requirement. Both types of applicants must already possess their master’s degree and be prepared to sit for the licensure exam upon applying.
  • School Counselor: School counselors work with students to address behavioral, emotional, psychological, and familial issues affecting their academic performance. They may provide one-to-one or group counseling and may involve family members and/or guardians when appropriate. School counselors aspiring to work in P-12 settings must complete a master’s degree in school counseling, possess three to six credit hours from a counseling program, and have worked as either a counselor for two years or as a teacher for one year and counselor for one year before applying to the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board for licensure.

Kentucky Psychology Spotlight Programs

In Kentucky, numerous public and private schools offer psychology programs at all academic levels. When looking at potential options, don’t forget to find an accredited college or program. At the bachelor’s level, look for a regionally accredited school. At the master’s or doctoral level, look for programs recognized by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, Kentucky)

EKU’s Department of Psychology serves learners at every academic level with both in-person and online degree paths. The B.S. in psychology offers a variety of concentrations such as general psychology, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, forensic psychology, child and family psychology, and psychiatric rehabilitation. Students seeking a master’s program can choose from studies in general experimental psychology or industrial and organizational psychology, while doctoral candidates can pursue a Psy.D. in clinical psychology. Undergraduate residents pay $4,633 per semester while out-of-state undergrads pay $9,699. Residents pursuing a master’s pay $550 per credit and out-of-state master’s students pay $775 per credit. Doctoral students pay $81,000 per year regardless of their residency. All accepted doctorate students receive funding through assistantship positions and tuition waivers.

Morehead State University (Morehead, Kentucky)

Morehead State University offers both a B.A. and B.S. in psychology. Master’s students can choose from programs in clinical or counseling psychology. All psychology degrees are taught on campus. Students are encouraged to participate in several research opportunities  through grants and the Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Undergraduate residents pay $4,485 per semester, while non-residents pay $6,778 per semester. Grad students, regardless of residency, paid $570 per credit.

Spalding University (Louisville, Kentucky)

Spalding University offers myriad learning options to help students seeking flexibility find the program they need. Students can take traditional, evening, weekend, or online classes. The B.A. in psychology offers tracks in general psychology, pre-clinical/pre-counseling, or organizational psychology. Learners also participate in a senior capstone or an applied internship to build real-world skills. Spalding introduced one of the first Psy.D. programs in the nation and has maintained American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation since 1989. Specializations include adult psychology, child/adolescent/family psychology, forensic psychology, or health psychology. Undergraduate students pay $12,900 per semester while doctoral students pay $1,020 per credit.

University of Kentucky (Lexington, Kentucky)

The College of Arts and Sciences oversees the Psychology Department at UK and offers bachelor’s and doctoral degrees. The department is large—with currently more than 1,000 undergraduate students. Learners can choose from a general or honors curriculum and work with faculty specialized in a variety of research areas. Students can also earn an undergraduate certificate in social science research. Doctorate candidates can pursue research degrees in clinical psychology, cognitive neuroscience, or developmental, social, and health psychology. Concentrations in neuropsychology and health psychology are also available. Undergraduate residents pay $6,180 per semester and non-residents pay $15,340. Graduate students receive funding from teaching or research assistantships that provide full tuition, a stipend, healthcare, and benefits.

University of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky)

The University of Louisville offers a B.A. in psychology both on campus or online, and a B.S. that can only be taken on campus. They also offer Ph.D. programs in clinical or experimental psychology. The experimental psychology pathway offers specializations in cognition, development, vision, hearing, or neuroscience. The department provides multiple ways to get involved, including research opportunities, the psychology honors program, Psi Chi International Honor Society, and several scholarships. Undergraduate residents pay $11,732 annually and out-of-state students pay $27,758. Online students pay $539 per credit regardless of where they live. Resident grad students pay $6,500 per semester while non-residents pay $13,557.

Kentucky Psychology Scholarships and Grants

Even though the cost of earning a college degree continues to rise year after year, you can still reduce your financial burden by applying for funding. Scholarships and grants are great options to consider, with both psychology-specific and general scholarships available from colleges and universities, professional associations, nonprofits, and private foundations. Individual schools may offer scholarships so check with your chosen university’s financial aid website.

  • College Access Program Grant: The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority provides annual awards of up to $2,000 to Kentucky residents who can demonstrate financial need and plan to attend an eligible college.
  • First Degree College Scholarship: The Kentucky School Boards Association gives a $2,500 scholarship to high school seniors in Kentucky who are the first in their family to pursue a college education. Applicants must receive a letter of recommendation from their school counselor.
  • Jaggers-Cave Scholarship: Undergraduate residents enrolled in the Department of Psychology at Western Kentucky University can apply for tuition scholarships if in their junior or senior year. They must demonstrate financial need and strong academic promise.
  • Kentucky Tuition Grant: Kentucky residents in need of financial assistance can receive up to $3,000 per year if they are enrolled full time in an associate or bachelor’s degree psychology program. Award amounts are based on FAFSA results, so this should be completed first.
  • Summer Research ScholarshipUndergraduate psychology majors enrolled at the University of Kentucky can receive this $2,000 award if in their junior or senior year. They must outline their proposed research project and include a letter of recommendation from a faculty member.

Kentucky Internships and Fellowships

As discussed earlier, individuals working toward careers in psychology and mental health must gain supervised work experience prior to being licensed. Many opportunities for internships, fellowships, and practica exist throughout the state depending on individual student interests. Aside from opportunities listed in this section, check out sites such as LinkedIn or Indeed to find more positions.

  • Centerstone KY Post-Doctoral Fellowship: This fellowship lasts one year and provides a full-time position working with either adults or children and adolescents. Fellows perform psychological tests, analyze results, write reports, participate in training, take on research projects, and assist as needed. Chosen fellows receive $35,000 per year and gain access to health insurance, vacation days, sick days, and travel expense reimbursements.
  • Consultation and Psychological Services Practicum: The University of Kentucky’s Counseling Center provides this internship for doctoral students in clinical or counseling psychology. Students must complete at least 500 hours of supervised direct contact intervention during the course of the 12-month program. The program begins in August, with applicant interviews taking place in December and January. Interns receive $34,000 annually alongside access to insurance, paid sick leave, vacation days, and a private office.
  • Lovick C. Miller Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Developed in 1992, this postdoctoral fellowship was designed for individuals interested in pediatric psychology. The fellowship focuses on two clinical programs: Pediatric Consultation-Liaison Service to Norton Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Health and Illness Recovery Program. Fellows also participate in a range of research and clinical projects. Salary is commensurate with guidelines set forth by the National Institutes of Health and includes insurance, sick leave, paid time off, access to technology, and free parking. Applications are due February 15.
  • V.A. Healthcare System Psychology Internship: This APA-accredited internship at the Lexington location of the Department of Veterans Affairs requires students to participate in at least 500 documented and supervised direct client contact hours. Interns work at the VA for 12 months and participate in two rotations in chosen areas of mental health clinic, outpatient PTSD clinical team, acute inpatient psychiatry/behavioral health, primary care, outpatient family therapy, or the mental health residential rehabilitation treatment program. Interns are paid $26,166 per year and receive access to medical insurance, sick leave, and paid time off.
  • Western Kentucky Psychology Internship Consortium: This fellowship takes place at the Western State Hospital, an acute care psychiatric facility for adults. The internship maintains accreditation via the APA and offers rotations in areas of adult inpatient/outpatient care and pediatric outpatient care. Several positions also exist for master’s level students seeking six-month programs. Interns receive a stipend of $23,670 in addition to a generous benefits package.

Kentucky Psychology Resources

Whether you’re a student, recent licensee, or industry veteran, plenty of resources exist to help you develop contacts, keep up with continuing education credits, and expand your expertise.

  • Kentucky Association for Psychology in the Schools: Based in Lexington, KAPS provides members a variety of benefits, including an annual conference, mini-grants, a members’ only section, and a job board.
  • Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology: This governmental body sets out the rules and regulations for psychologist licensure throughout the state, making it an important resource for anyone interested in this line of work.
  • Kentucky Counseling Association: KCA operates as an approved continuing education provider and also hosts an annual conference. Members have access to regional chapters, student services, and advocacy efforts.
  • Kentucky Psychological Association: KPA has existed since 1932 and serves as the voice of master’s and doctoral level professionals throughout the state. The association provides access to continuing education programming, advocacy, and regularly scheduled events.
  • Kentucky School Counselor Association: Members of KSCA can build their leadership skills by joining an executive committee, taking advantage of professional development opportunities, or serving on the board for annual awards. They can also attend an annual conference or take part in networking opportunities.