Professional counselors, who are licensed, no matter what the title the state bestows on the individual with licensure, are not automatically licensed to practice in any other state they may move to. Even if a licensee hopes to practice across state lines and not move to that other state, he or she cannot claim licensure in that other state. Licensure in any other state requires going through a process in the new state similar to what the licensee went through in the original state that provided licensure status.
Because each state’s legislature controls the licensure process, there is limited uniformity of requirements and standards across all the states. There is no national licensure, although there is national counselor certification which is not legislatively based.
Currently, there are two national efforts (models) designed to make portability of your counselor licensure easier from one state to another. The first model is that of the American Counseling Association (ACA) which states that licensed counselors who are approved to counsel at “the independent practice level” in one state should be licensed to practice in the second state. Some other provisions are included in this model. Please see the entire ACA statement at: www.counseling.org, under Knowledge Center, Licensure Requirements.
The second portability model comes in a joint statement developed by four organizations. These organizations are: American Association of State Counseling Boards, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, the American Mental Health Counselors Association and the National Board for Certified Counselors.
In addition to several other stipulations, this model indicates the licensed counselor, in order to be licensed in the new state, must meet ONE of the following criteria: Meet all the standards of degree, exam, etc. of the state counseling licensure board, OR, be a National Certified Counselor in good standing, OR, possess a graduate degree from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Additional information about this comprehensive model may be found on the NBCC website: www.nbcc.org.
True national portability, in fact, will occur to the extent any or all state Counseling Boards agree to follow either of these models or some variation of them.
Every day, licensed professional counselors are moving to another state and have to meet the requirements for licensure in the new state. Their current credentials may be such that licensure in the new state is fairly automatic. Or, they might need more coursework, other kinds of coursework, more supervised hours of counseling experience, a different exam, etc. Some, because of the circumstances, lose their ability to practice their profession of counseling in the new state.