Last week four staff members from the American Counseling Association attended a briefing at the Federal Trade Commission on “Streamlining Licensing Across State Lines: Initiatives to Enhance Occupational License Portability.” Comprised of representatives from nursing, accounting, physicians, teachers, the state compacts organization, and the Department of Defense, the panel spoke about their experiences in establishing interstate compacts, legal professional privilege, and other reciprocity agreements. The acting chairman of the FTC, Maureen Ohlhausen, spoke about her desire to encourage licensure portability and to work with states that consider changes to laws and licensure procedures.
The different professions represented have taken different approaches to helping their members work in different states or to move from one to another. Each encountered different challenges when they began their portability efforts, from state indifference to different state approaches to FBI background checks to loss of income for licensure boards if they begin to simply accept people from out of state. The Defense Department representative spoke about how his office helps spouses, including counselors, as they travel from a base in one state to a base somewhere else, and what he has learned.
The ACA staff came away better informed about specific approaches to licensure portability as the association develops a portability plan for counseling.