The dream of many licensed professional counselors to practice across state lines moves toward reality as Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law her state’s Counseling Compact legislation.
This milestone marks the nineteenth state to sign the Counseling Compact into law, allowing professional counselors licensed and residing in a compact member state to practice in other compact member states without the need for multiple licenses.
“With Arkansas signing on to the Counseling Compact as our 19th state, ACA continues to exceed expectations,” said Lynn Linde, project lead. “Without a doubt, the swiftness with which the Counseling Compact has been enacted 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 the 19 state legislatures and governors who have approved the Counseling Compact. This is a milestone for the profession and those whom we serve.”
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, and Arkansas. Currently, the Counseling Compact has been introduced in over 20 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.