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Maryland State Legislators Pass Counseling Compact Bill

by Katrina Lee | Mar 30, 2021
Grassroots efforts by local professional counselors are lauded for the success. The Counseling Compact, which allows counseling practice across state lines, is in effect when ten states enact the legislation. Maryland is the second state to pass this legislation; Georgia was the first.

Alexandria, VA – On March 29, 2021, the Maryland state legislature passed the Counseling Compact— an interstate compact, or a contract among states, allowing professional counselors licensed and residing in a compact member state to practice in other compact member states without the need for multiple licenses.  The bill is now being sent to Governor Hogan’s desk for signature. 

In the fall of 2018, the American Counseling Association (ACA) Governing Council authorized more than $600,000 to fund the initiative solely. The National Center for Interstate Compacts leads the project.  Once ten states have enacted the legislation, the Compact will go into effect, enabling 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.

The Georgia legislature passed the Counseling Compact on March 25, 2021, and is awaiting their governor’s signature. Nebraska and Tennessee both have bills that are being worked on at the committee level. North Carolina and Delaware legislators are currently drafting Counseling Compact bills for introduction.

“I am so proud to be a counselor in Maryland to see the incredible leadership the state has shown in enacting this legislation.  Licensure portability has been a long time coming, and many in the profession didn’t think we would ever get it here.  ACA seeing the legislation solution and keeping the focus on achieving this for professional counselors means it is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when,” said Dr. Lynn Linde, Chief Knowledge & Learning Officer.  “This is a great accomplishment. We’ve seen that state by state – in core elements of education and experience – we are more similar than we are different.”

The Counseling Compact will allow licensed professional counselors to practice across state lines – both telehealth and in-person – and will increase client access, facilitate continuity of care when clients relocate, and promote cooperation among states in areas of licensure and regulation.

“We know that mental health resources and the services of licensed professional counselors are desperately needed across the country, particularly in rural and underserved areas.  The pandemic has just reinforced this need.  The Counseling Compact is a practical, efficient, and consumer-centric way to address the mental health needs of many Americans,” said Richard Yep, ACA CEO.

How to Support the Counseling Compact in Your State

  1. Visit Counseling Compact become conversant in what it is and why it is important
  2. Sign up to get news and take action via Counseling Compact
  3. Contact local ACA Branch
  4. Contact Dominique Marsalek with your story or questions 
ACA Membership dues help to fund public policy efforts.  ACA is a public charity (501c3) with a mission to protect the public and support the counseling profession.  

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