American Counseling Association Chief Professional Officer David Kaplan and ACA State Legislative Affairs Representative Scott MacConomy gave a presentation last week at the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB) annual conference. The presentation, titled Critical Issues Facing the Counseling Profession and State Counseling Boards, focused on the issue of licensure portability.
During the presentation, Dr. Kaplan explained the American Counseling Association portability proposal. The proposed ACA plan would enable a counselor licensed in one state who wants to move to another state to be considered licensed in the new state after taking a jurisprudence examination, regardless of years of experience or educational background.
The AASCB conference offered an excellent opportunity to meet with state licensing board members who decide state policies for counselors seeking licensure. The licensing boards are responsible for the registration, certification, and licensing of counselors within each state. Their stated goal is to protect the public by ensuring that counselors are competent and follow a professional code of ethics. These boards are very much aware of the difficulties counselors can face when moving to a different state with different licensure requirements.
Resolving the portability problem so that counselors can move freely around the country is a top priority for the American Counseling Association. At the conference, ACA hosted a focus group to discuss the ACA portability proposal with licensure board members from several states.
Also attending the AASCB conference were American Counseling Association President Gerard Lawson, ACA Chief Executive Officer Richard Yep, Dr. Simone Lambert, the ACA President-elect, and other ACA staffers. ACA staff attend the AASCB conference to keep up with changes in counselor licensing and to maintain relationships with licensing boards, in an effort to maintain open lines of communication to work on issues such as licensure board consolidation.
“ACA continues to support the good work of AASCB. We respect the time, energy, and dedication of state licensure board members. Our goal is always to listen to what is of importance to them given the responsibility they have to the clients of our Nation’s Licensed Professional Counselors,” said Mr. Yep.
Last year, several states tried to streamline their board structure, to the detriment of counselor representation on those boards. These boards are usually combined boards covering social workers, psychologists, and those in other professions.
Other states have attempted to eliminate the licensure process entirely. While the AASCB conference was taking place, attendees learned that a bill had been introduced in the Arizona legislature to do just that. When legislatures consider such legislation, the American Counseling Association will work with counselors in any state to keep the licensure process in place. The licensure process clearly benefits the profession and the consumer.