Initial Licensure and Licensure Portability

Initial Licensure

ACA Licensure Policy

1. To unify the professional identity of counselors, ACA endorses, supports, and advocates for graduation from a counselor education program accredited by CACREP/CORE as the pathway to licensure for independent practice.

2. ACA, in all advocacy efforts related to licensure for independent practice, endorses licensed professional counselors (including comparable state counseling licenses), licensed on or before July 2020, as qualified independent practitioners with the same professional privileges and practice options as graduates from CACREP and CORE programs.

3. ACA shall, within its current legislative advocacy structure, endorse and advocate for: 

Standards that require graduation from a counselor preparation program accredited by CACREP or an approved affiliate of CACREP (e.g. CORE).Students must demonstrate sufficient preparation in addressing clinical issues in order to be eligible for licensure for independent practice. In addition to concentration on mental health, psychological, and human development, this preparation shall include both coursework and practice in assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and clinical interventions for individuals with serious mental illnesses and/or serious emotional disturbances. Students must complete a practicum of at least 100 hours and an internship of at least 600 hours. Graduates from programs accredited by CACREP or an approved affiliate of CACREP (e.g., CORE) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Marriage Couple and Family Counseling, or Addictions Counseling are assumed to have met these clinical preparation requirements. Graduates of other CACREP or CORE tracks will need to demonstrate that they have met the clinical coursework requirements. ACA will support and advocate for a liberal grandparenting period of seven (7) years after the adoption of this language in state regulations, whereby individuals who graduated from regionally accredited programs can still achieve licensure and regionally accredited programs have sufficient time to pursue accreditation from CACREP or an approved affiliate of CACREP (e.g., CORE). This advocacy will be included in the ACA Governmental Affairs agenda as soon as is practicable.

Licensure Portability

From the ACA Governing Council:

Licensure Portability Model

Whereas the mission statement of the American Counseling Association is to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity; and

Whereas advocating for licensure portability that allows professional counselors licensed at the independent practice level in one state to have the mobility to utilize their education and training and to serve the public by becoming licensed at the independent practice level in another state supports the mission of the American Counseling Association;

 Therefore, the American Counseling Association promulgates the following licensure portability model:
A counselor who is licensed at the independent practice level in their home state and who has no disciplinary record shall be eligible for licensure at the independent practice level in any state or U.S. jurisdiction in which they are seeking residence. The state to which the licensed counselor is moving may require a jurisprudence examination based on the rules and procedures of that state.  

Read more about the model and how it was developed in this Counseling Today article.

Read FAQs about the model here.

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