The dream of many licensed professional counselors to practice across state lines took another step forward as Governor Mike Parson signed into law his state’s Counseling Compact legislation.
This milestone makes Missouri the twenty-ninth state to ratify the Counseling Compact, which allows professional counselors licensed and residing in a Compact member state to practice in other member states without the need for multiple licenses.
“We appreciate all the Senators and Representatives who worked tirelessly, on behalf of their constituents, to get this legislation across the finish line," Governor Parson said. "These bills we [signed] today ensure a safer, stronger and more efficient Missouri, and we hope to celebrate these accomplishments with legislators and Missourians soon."
“The Compact continues to expand across the country as states recognize that the ability to practice across state lines is essential in meeting the mental health needs of so many people. This is truly a milestone for the profession,” 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, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Indiana, Vermont, Iowa and Missouri. Currently, the Counseling Compact has been introduced in 26 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.