The American Counseling Association and licensed professional counselors nationwide are celebrating the signing of Maine House Paper 1427 in support of the Counseling Compact, which will authorize counselors to practice across state lines once enacted.
The dream of many licensed professional counselors to practice across state lines took another step forward when Governor Janet Mills signed into law her state’s Counseling Compact legislation.
This milestone represents the seventh of 10 states needed to enact the Counseling 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.
“We extend our sincere appreciation to Governor Mills and the Maine Legislature for their support of the Counseling Compact, a bill that addresses mental health provider shortages at a time when these professionals are in high demand,” said Richard Yep, ACA CEO.
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 and Maine. Currently, the Counseling Compact has been introduced in 20 states this session. There is an additional state where the legislation is currently being drafted.
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.
ACA anticipates reaching the ten-state threshold necessary to trigger the establishment of the public commission by the end of this calendar year. 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.