Bills that would eliminate or reduce licensure for counselors are becoming more common in state legislatures. The Arizona House of Representatives is considering a bill that would eliminate the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners and the licensure process for counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and addiction counselors. Last year, Iowa considered a bill to abolish the entire licensure process for almost all licensed professions, and Ohio introduced a bill to consolidate the licensure boards so counselors would not be guaranteed a representative on their own board. Neither bill was successful. However, other states are also leaning toward board consolidations. Even the Federal Trade Commission, which has no direct role in state licensure decisions, is recommending that too many professions are have licensure requirements across the country.
The American Counseling Association continues to advocate for licensure and against legislation that would diminish its role for counselors, as it did in Iowa and Ohio. ACA knows the importance of education, experience, and accountability in the licensure process for counselors and for their clients. Licensure is also vital when counselors work with the VA, TRICARE, Medicaid, and insurers.
Most recently, ACA and the Arizona Counseling Association (AzCA) have been working together to fight the bill in the Arizona legislature and preserve the licensure process that benefits both counselors and people who seek counseling.
The bill, HB 2406, is pending in the Arizona House Health Committee.
“We know the education and training counselors must have in order to become licensed is invaluable for those who come to us for help,” says Art Terrazas, Director of Government Affairs for ACA. “The licensure process ensures accountability and is good for our profession, and more importantly, good for consumers.”
ACA took action to ask that all Arizona members and all of AzCA’s members send a message (below) about the importance of counseling licensure to their representatives in the Arizona House. Our latest information is that this bill is unlikely to pass out of the Health Committee, but we will continue to monitor the status throughout the winter and spring.
ACA is committed to working with members in any state where the licensure board is proposed to be eliminated or consolidated.