Kentucky needs more licensed psychologists, and its shortage of mental health professionals is only one contributing factor. CBS News reports that Kentucky’s suicide rate is one of the highest in the country, as are its rates of depression and serious mental illness. Kentucky youth are at particularly high risk on all counts. Unfortunately, less than half of all residents seek treatment from licensed psychologists. While these statistics might be distressing, they offer graduates of psychology colleges in Kentucky the chance to save and improve lives.
The state of Kentucky’s psychological field, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics and the American Psychological Association (APA):
- Kentucky was home to 1,030 clinical, school and counseling psychologists in May, 2016, or 0.56 per 1000 patients. This figure was 44 points below the national average and 17 points below state need.
- Kentucky psychologists’ average wage that year: $67,570.
- There were 27 psychology schools in Kentucky as of Spring, 2016.
- Six Kentucky psychology programs are accredited by the APA.
|Lexington-Fayette, KY||Psychologists, All Other||50||$95,980|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN||Psychologists, All Other||30||$104,700|
|Lexington-Fayette, KY||Marriage and Family Therapists||80||$49,760|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN||Marriage and Family Therapists||180||$39,310|
|Lexington-Fayette, KY||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||260||$0|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||390||$79,770|
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
Psychologists must be licensed to practice in Kentucky. This process, managed by the Board of Examiners of Psychologists (BEP), ensures professionals meet certain training standards.
Kentucky psychology licensing requirements
Kentucky uses a tiered licensing system in which independence and approved services increase with education and experience. While other states use similar approaches, Kentucky is among the few states that allow master’s degree-holders to practice independently, so long as they meet additional training and clinical requirements. The following is a list of each licensing designation, its definition and its requirements:
Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA): These professionals are authorized to treat patients under the direction of a Licensed Psychologist. Licensing requirements:
- A master’s degree in psychology or an approved alternative
- At least 600 supervised hours gained through practical coursework, internships or practica
Licensed Psychological Practitioner (LPP): Experienced LPAs with LPP licenses may provide certain psychological services without supervision. Licensing requirements include all LPA criteria, plus:
- At least 60 semester hours of graduate study in psychology or
- Five full years of professional experience as an LPA
Licensed Psychologist (LP): These professionals can practice independently, supervise graduate students, and perform certain regulatory functions:
- A doctorate in psychology from a regionally-accredited institution
- Two years of supervised experience, half of which must completed post-doctorally
- A score of at least 500 on the national Examination in Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP).
- A passing score on Kentucky’s written jurisprudence exam
- Board approval following an oral exam
Health Service Provider: Licensed Psychologists with the Health Service Provider designation can offer group, partner or family group care; treat functionally impaired patients; and supervise LPAs, CPs and graduate students. The designation requires all LP licensing criteria, plus:
- An additional 1,800 hours of supervised experienced in a direct care setting
- Five years of full-time, independent practice
- Certification from the American Board of Professional Psychologists, the National Register of Health Services providers, or the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.
Kentucky psychology professionals must renew their licenses every three years to continue practicing in the state. Renewal is contingent upon the completion of at least 39 Board-approved continuing education (CE) hours, including three in ethical practice or risk management. The Board authorizes CE providers, which may include coursework from psychology colleges in Kentucky.
Featured psychology schools in Kentucky
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky may offer the largest selection of psychology degree programs in the state. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in both general and specialized areas of psychology: its Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program alone offers six unique concentration options. It is also one of the few APA-accredited programs in the state. The University of Kentucky’s psychology programs seem designed for maximum efficiency. Certain programs allow students to earn master’s and doctoral degrees at the same time, for instance, and some use competency-based models that target specific skills with.
- Department: Deparment of Psychology
- Location: Lexington
- Online options: The University of Kentucky offers only campus-based psychology degree programs.
University of Louisville
The University of Louisville (UofL) offers to primary departments of psychology — the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology — both of which are APA-accredited. UofL’s psychology degrees were created with state licensure in mind, so tend to include mandatory predoctoral internships within the curriculum. Research is a keystone of many of these programs. The school’s Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology matches students with faculty members who share their research interests. Another unique program feature: it admits students with bachelor’s or master’s degrees and offers a $18,000 per year stipend..
- Department: Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology
- Location: Louisville
- Online options: UofL does not currently offer online psychology degrees.