Portability Standards FAQ

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Portability Standards FAQ

What do the portability standards do?

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The portability standards establish criteria for counselors to move between states or practice in more than one state. In addition to two years holding a license to practice, the standards also require a counselor to possess the National Certified Counselor (NCC) or a clinically focused CACREP degree or to meet standards established by the state counseling licensure board. For example, a counselor with a current NCC certification and an active license for independent practice held for two years meets the criteria. NBCC is proud to have advocated to ensure all NCCs are eligible under this plan. The NCC also provides an alternative path to portability for those who do not have a CACREP degree.

Do I need a CACREP degree?

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No, a CACREP degree is one option, but is not required to comply with the portability standards. The NCC and possession of a state license for two years also fulfils the criteria. Counselors without a CACREP degree or the NCC can qualify by meeting standards independently established by the state counseling licensure board. Those standards will likely vary by state.

When will the portability standards be adopted by the states?

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There is no way to determine when an individual state will adopt the portability standards. The standards are being proposed by NBCC, AMHCA and ACES, but no state has yet adopted them, nor are they required to. Each state must independently take this step; there is no national implementation process. The adoption process will require new legislation or regulations, which take time and organization. NBCC will actively encourage the state licensing boards to adopt the standards. NCCs are encouraged to contact their state counseling licensure board and recommend the adoption of the portability standards.

What will happen to those counselors who do not possess the NCC or a CACREP degree?

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The portability standards allow the state counseling licensure board to adopt criteria other than the NCC or a CACREP degree. In fact, all states currently have policies recognizing out-of-state licensees, such as reciprocity or endorsement requirements, and they may maintain these or create new criteria. The portability standards provide the states the option to determine the criteria so that no counselor is necessarily precluded from practicing in another state. This flexibility is aimed at inclusion of all qualified counselors. The portability standards will create a fast-track approval process for those possessing the NCC or a clinically focused CACREP degree.

I am a graduate of a counseling psychology or a clinical psychology program that is not CACREP accredited. Would I be eligible under the portability standards?

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Yes, if you are currently an NCC or successfully become an NCC under the existing application criteria. After January 1, 2022, only CACREP graduates will be eligible for the NCC. NBCC believes that to be part of the counseling profession, all counseling master’s programs should be accredited by CACREP, the only accrediting body established by and for the profession.

How do the portability standards apply to my situation?

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The standards will have no immediate effect on any individual counselor. The standards must be adopted by states before they will influence individual NCCs. When that occurs, an NCC who has held a current state license for independent practice for two years should be eligible to obtain a license in a participating state. However, counselors who do not meet those requirements may still meet the requirements established by the state counseling licensure board. To determine your individual licensure status, NBCC recommends contacting the counseling licensure board for the state in which you are applying. (Please keep in mind that NBCC strongly suggests all of the states adopt the portability standards for the profession, but they are not required to do so.)

Will NBCC inform me when states adopt the standards?

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NBCC will work closely with the state licensure boards to encourage and support the adoption of the portability standards. The process will take time and require new legislation or regulations in each state. After the first state adopts the plan, NBCC will post and maintain a list of participating states.