Substance Abuse Counselor Requirements in Kansas

Kansas addiction counselors are licensed by the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board. Licensed Addiction Counselors (LACs) have education at the baccalaureate level. Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselors (LCACs) have education at the master’s level. Licensure at either level requires examination. Licensure at the LCAC level also requires post-graduate supervised practice.

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Select a Kansas Addicition Counselor topic below…

Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) Requirements: Education

An individual may be licensed at the LAC level with a bachelor’s degree in addictions or a related field.

The student will need at least three semester hours in each of the following content areas:

  • Addiction pharmacology: Psychoactive chemicals and their effects, intoxication, withdrawal, screening, use of pharmacotherapy in treatment.
  • Introduction to Addiction: Theories and models of addiction, impact of addiction, strategies for prevention, treatment, and continuing care.
  • Group counseling methods: Culturally sensitive, evidence-based strategies for facilitating groups and establishing goals and treatment outcomes.
  • Individual counseling methods: Establishing therapeutic relationships, setting goals, assessing progress, and managing crises.
  • Co-occurring disorders: Understanding the disorders that often co-exist with addiction, carrying out screenings and assessments and managing risks.
  • Addiction services coordination: Navigating the various systems that connect people with services, acting as case manager and advocate.
  • Ethical and legal issues: Professional standards, codes of conduct, and issues such as confidentiality.
  • Family and community studies: Family and social systems and how they are affected by addiction, cultural competence.
  • Research: Research design, interpretation and evaluation of research, application of research to professional practice. (This is is not required of candidates who graduated before July 1, 2012.)

The student will also need a six semester hour practicum that integrates learning with service delivery. There is to be experience in the following functions: intake and assessment, treatment planning, counseling, case management, documentation, and discharge planning. The student is to have 400 hours of experience, supervised at the rate of one hour for every ten hours of practice.

A detailed description of required coursework is found in 102-7-3 (http://www.ksbsrb.org/pdf/102-7-3.pdf ).

Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) Requirements: Education

A Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor must have a master’s degree in addiction counseling or a related field. A master’s program that is accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC) is accepted as meeting requirements. Other degrees may be accepted, but the candidate will need to provide detailed course information.

Candidates with degrees in the following fields may be licensed, provided they take any additional coursework necessary to meet Kansas requirements:

  • Education
  • Counseling
  • Criminal justice
  • Human development/ family studies
  • Human services
  • Healing arts
  • Psychology
  • Nursing
  • Social work
  • Marriage and family therapy
  • Theology

The clinical counselor will need at least three graduate semester hours in each of the following:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Addiction recovery services
  • Treatment of dual disorders
  • Pharmacology
  • Substance use disorder diagnosis
  • Ethical, legal, and professional issues
  • Applied research
  • Supervision

The student will six semester hours of practicum or equivalent supervised experience. Candidates that apply by equivalency must have degrees from regionally accredited institutions.

LCAC Requirements: Supervised Practice

Additionally, the master’s level clinical addiction counselor will need 4,000 hours of post-graduate supervised experience (http://www.ksbsrb.org/pdf/102-7-6.pdf). At least 1,500 hours must be spent in client assessment and treatment. The counselor will need an appropriately credentialed clinical supervisor. An hour of supervision must be provided for every 20 hours of direct client contact. The trainee will need a minimum of 50 hours of individual supervision and a minimum of 100 hours of supervision that include up to six supervisees. There must be at least two supervisory sessions per month.

The post-degree experience requirement may be reduced by half if the counselor holds a doctoral degree. The number of supervision hour is reduced by half, but the candidate will still need at least two sessions each month.

The Examination Process

The last step is testing. Candidates will first apply to the Board. A candidate for LAC will take the NCAC II. A candidate for LCAC will take the MAC. Candidates may visit the website of the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) to find information about examination content (http://www.naadac.org/ncacii). However, applications are to be submitted to the Kansas Board.

The examination is offered one week out of each month; a list of upcoming testing dates is available on the Board site (http://www.ksbsrb.org/drugalcoholcounselors.htm). Applications should be submitted at least eight weeks in advance of the intended testing window.

An LAC will pay $160 in examination fees; An LCAC will pay $180.

The Application Process

The Board asks that candidates read all relevant statutes and regulations before submitting applications.

Students are permitted to apply for LAC when they are within four months of graduation. In this instance, a ‘verification of education’ form will be required; it is to be signed by the director.

Applications are available on the Board site (http://www.ksbsrb.org/forms.htm#alcohol). They can also be mailed to candidates upon written request.

Official transcripts are required. LCAC candidates who graduate from non-NASAC programs will need to have a director verify that standards were met; the necessary form is included in the application packet.

The candidate will need three references. They are to be included in the application packet in signed, sealed envelopes.

The application fee is currently $100.

Individuals Licensed in Other Professions

There is a separate simplified application process for professionals already licensed by BSRB in related fields. Application forms may be downloaded (http://www.ksbsrb.org/forms.htm#alcohol).

Out-of-State Addiction Counselors

An addiction counselor who holds active licensure in another state may apply by reciprocity (http://www.ksbsrb.org/pdf/statutes_regs/65-6613.pdf). The counselor may apply by either of two pathways: demonstrating that the standards of licensing were at least equivalent to those of the Kansas Board or demonstrating five years of continuous practice. An addiction counselor who applies by the latter pathway must have a degree at the level that Kansas requires; it will also be necessary to verify coursework and at least part-time employment. The minimum is fifteen hours a week for nine months a year (as delneated in the current application).

Additionally, a candidate for LCAC will need to demonstrate competence in diagnosing and treating substance use disorders. The LCAC will need to demonstrate two of the following: 1) passing scores on a national examination or fifteen semester hours of graduate coursework 2) an attestation of competence by a qualified professional 3) three years of qualifying clinical practice.

An out of-state addiction counselor will need a clearance form from all states of licensure, past and present.

Additional Information

The Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (http://www.ksbsrb.org/) can be reached at (785) 296-3240.

The Kansas Association of Addiction Professionals is an additional professional resource (http://www.ksaap.org).