The American Counseling Association and licensed professional counselors nationwide are celebrating the signing of North Carolina House Bill 791 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 moves toward reality as Governor Roy Cooper signed into law his state’s Counseling Compact legislation.
This milestone marks the sixteenth 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 North Carolina signing on to the Counseling Compact as our 16th state, ACA has exceeded its expectations at what we thought could be accomplished this year,” said Lynn Linde, ACA Executive Director for the Center for Counseling Practice, Policy and Research. “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 16 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 and North Carolina. Currently, the Counseling Compact has been introduced in 21 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.