The American Counseling Association and licensed professional counselors nationwide are celebrating the signing of Nebraska Legislative Bill 752 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 has finally come to fruition now that Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has signed into law his state's Counseling Compact legislation.
This milestone represents the tenth and final state needed to enact the Counseling Compact, which allows professional counselors licensed and residing in a compact member state to practice in other compact member states without the need for multiple licenses.
“ACA is very appreciative of the ten Republican and Democratic governors who have signed the Counseling Compact into law as this shows their commitment to meeting the mental health needs of their constituents,” said S. Kent Butler, ACA President, “Today’s signing by Governor Ricketts in Nebraska was our tenth state which means that a public commission can now be formed which will put the Counseling Compact into operation.”
Butler went on to say, “While this is certainly good news for the Licensed Professional Counselors in the ten states where the Counseling Compact is now law, it is a great day for those facing life’s challenges who will benefit from the help of mental health counselors.”
“I want to thank all who participated in this effort to achieve this latest milestone,” said Richard Yep, ACA CEO, “We had members and volunteer leaders in those ten states who were instrumental in making the case to their elected officials as to the importance of the Counseling Compact. We also recognize the work of our professional partners at the national level who worked with us in this effort, especially the National Board for Certified Counselors, the American Association of State Counseling Boards, the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the American Mental Health Counselors Association, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and our counseling honor society, Chi Sigma Iota.”
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 and Nebraska. In addition, the Counseling Compact has been introduced in 20 other 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.
Now that 10 states have enacted the legislation, the compact will officially 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.