April 5, 2021
By Dominique N. Marsalek
What is the Counseling Compact?
The Counseling Compact is an occupational licensure agreement based on the mutual recognition model, in which a practitioner’s home state license is mutually recognized by other compact member states based on a set of criteria laid out within the language of the compact. This model will allow counselors to practice in compact member states, either in-person or via telebehavioral health, through obtaining a “privilege to practice.”
How will it benefit counselors?
The Counseling Compact will open a wide spectrum of possibility and advantages to practice, including:
- Removing barriers to practice and improving access to services
- Streamlining application processes with rapid licensure verification
- Authorizing in-person and telebehavioral health modalities
- Enhancing mobility
- Supporting military families
- Improving continuity of care
- Strengthening state licensure systems
- Enhancing public safety
How can a counselor become eligible?
To become eligible for a privilege to practice, your home state must become a member of the compact. Once your state becomes a member, professional counselors may apply for a privilege to practice if they hold an active unencumbered license in their home state to practice independently.
A privilege to practice allows the counselor to provide professional telebehavioral health services in another member state under the scope of practice determined by the state where the client is located.
Where is the Compact now?
Currently, the Counseling Compact has successfully passed through legislatures in Georgia and Maryland and are awaiting the Governor’s signature. The Compact has also been introduced in Tennessee and Nebraska. And finally, the Compact is being drafted in North Carolina and Delaware. We are hopeful that at least three states will pass and enact the compact in 2021. The threshold for Compact enactment requires that we secure a core group of ten member states before the legislation can take effect.
How can counselors learn more and advocate for the Compact?
The National Center for Interstate Compacts has a webpage for the compact which includes FAQs, an infographic, factsheets, a copy of the compact and section summary, and other resources. They can be found at https://counselingcompact.org.
At this time, ACA is asking that members work with their state branches and regions on formal letters of support that can be hosted on the Compact website. ACA is encouraging letters from branches, universities, and counseling organizations in support of the Compact. Members can also work with their state branches to share information about the Counseling Compact with legislators and the public. Please contact your state branch for more information on how to become involved in those discussions.
Read more about the Counseling Compact here.
 Home state is defined as the primary residence of the provider.