The dream of many licensed professional counselors to practice across state lines took another step towards reality as Governor Greg Gianforte signed into law his state’s Counseling Compact legislation.
This milestone makes Montana the twenty-third state to ratify the Counseling Compact, an agreement which allows professional counselors licensed and residing in a Compact member state to practice in other compact member states without the need for multiple licenses.
“The number of states signing onto the Compact indicates that public policymakers understand how this legislation will fill critical mental health service gaps for their constituents. ACA applauds the foresight and compassion of state legislatures and governors who have approved the Counseling Compact. This is a milestone for the profession and those whom we serve,” said Lynn Linde, project lead.
Funded and created by the American Counseling Association, the Counseling Compact was finalized in December 2020 and has now been passed by the legislatures in Georgia, Maryland, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, Utah, Maine, Florida, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee, Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Delaware, Wyoming, Arkansas, Virginia, Kansas, Washington, and Montana. Currently, the Counseling Compact has been introduced in 22 states this legislative session.
Compacts provide a pathway for counselors to move seamlessly from one state to another through an agreement among states to recognize another state’s license. Previously, counselors have had difficulty transferring their licenses from one state/jurisdiction to another because of the independent nature of jurisdictional licensing rules and regulations. There was little consistency regarding the requirements for licensure and these varying requirements make it difficult to transfer one’s license.
The Counseling Compact enables professional counselors who meet uniform licensure requirements to quickly obtain a privilege to practice, which is equivalent to a license to practice counseling in another state.