Counseling in Demand: Mental Health Care

Compassionate and skilled mental health care providers of all kinds are needed in Kentucky, from therapists and psychologists to clinical social workers and addiction counselors.

Therapists and counselors

The fastest growing occupations in Kentucky in this field are substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors.

Mental health counselors (LPCCs, or licensed professional clinical counselors) diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders and addiction.

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors (CDACs, or certified alcohol and drug counselors) counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, and drug addictions and gambling and eating disorders.

Demand in Kentucky for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will increase over 20 percent in the coming years:

  • Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors: 21.9 percent increase from 2018 to 2028, from 4,351 to 5,304 positions. Median wage is $38,386.


Clinical psychologists typically have a doctorate in psychology (Psy.D.) and serve an internship. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists are among the state’s fastest growing occupations requiring a doctoral/professional degree.

  • Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists: 13.04 increase projected in Kentucky from 2018 to 2028, from 1,503 to 1,699 positions. Median wage is $64,392.

Clinical social workers

Clinical social workers can assess, diagnose, and treat mental illness or other behavioral disturbances. Treatment is typically through individual, group, or family therapy.

In Kentucky, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and two years of post-master’s experience in a supervised clinical setting. They must also be licensed by the state, with either CSW (clinical social worker) or LCSW (licensed clinical social worker). The CSW can practice clinical social work under the supervision of an LCSW.

  • Mental health and substance abuse social workers: 15.10 percent increase projected in Kentucky from 2018 to 2028, from 828 to 953 positions. Median wage is $38,498.

Figures from the Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2028.

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