The American Counseling Association and licensed professional counselors nationwide are celebrating the signing of Georgia House Bill 395 in support of the Counseling Compact, which will authorize counselors to practice across state lines once enacted.
Georgia just became the first of 10 states needed to enact the Counseling Compact, an interstate compact allowing professional counselors licensed and residing in a compact member state to practice in other compact member states without the need for multiple licenses. Governor Brian Kemp signed Georgia H.B. 395 into law, reaching a major milestone for the initiative.
Funded by the American Counseling Association and led by the National Center for Interstate Compacts, the compact was finalized in December 2020 and has already been passed by the legislatures in Georgia and Maryland. Once 10 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.
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. Currently, counselors have difficulty transferring their licenses from one state/jurisdiction to another because of the independent nature of jurisdictional licensing rules and regulations. There is little consistency regarding the requirements for licensure and these varying requirements make it difficult to transfer one’s license.
“This is a huge milestone for the professional counseling community and ACA”, explains ACA President Sue Pressman. “Georgia is helping light our way to greater access to mental health services through interstate collaboration with the signing of this bill. This day resonates in much the same way that Virginia becoming the first state to approve counselor licensure back in 1976 did.”
Currently, compact bills are pending in Nebraska, Tennessee and North Carolina as well and approximately 15 other states have expressed interest in the compact and are preparing to introduce the bill during the 2022 legislative session.