Portability, also known as licensure endorsement, is what allows a person with a license in one state to be recognized to practice in another.
A uniform process for portability accomplishes several key things, including:
The National Counselor Licensure Endorsement Process proposed on June 5 by four organizations—the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB), the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)—is not yet a new law.
It is a proposal that will be presented to licensing boards as a service to Professional Counselors across the United States for consideration over the next few months and years. It is ultimately up to each state to determine if it would like to adopt the proposal.
This proposal is the result of a groundbreaking, long-planned collaborative of four major professional counseling organizations and as such has a better chance of approval by state licensing agencies. In fact, because the organization representing state licensing boards, AASCB, was part of the proposal to create this plan, there has been input to formulate a proposal that will, in particular, address concerns that licensing boards have expressed in the past. For example, this proposal would require that counselors who seek licensure in another state possess the highest level of counselor licensure for independent practice, with no disciplinary sanctions, for at least three years from the date of application for licensure endorsement. Some state licensing boards have previously expressed concerns about proposals that fail to require past experience.
Having the leading organizations representing the counselor licensing boards, counselor educators, mental health counselors, and NBCC certifications jointly agree to a collaborative portability process creates a way for states to pave a path forward for highly qualified current and future counselors to improve client access to services. This proposal represents the best chance to accomplish this crucial need for quality services around the country. The four organizations were able to capitalize upon their knowledge of the history of state regulatory standards in crafting this proposal. This proposal also will move the profession toward the future goal of unified education standards, examination requirements and years of postgraduate experience
The four organizations, whose membership includes professional mental health counselors, counselor educators, 37 licensure boards and 67,000 counselors who are board certified , speak for licensed counselors in every state.
The American Counseling Association (ACA) participated with the other four organizations in discussions to reach a collaborative licensure endorsement process but ultimately chose not to put its name on this measure. ACA released a portability model in 2016 that did not include any reference to years of experience. ACA has released recent communications citing its 2016 model, which has not changed.
The four organizations proposing the National Counselor Licensure Endorsement Process will work through their advocacy arms and/or government affairs departments—and with the assistance of counselors willing to lend their time and support—to encourage state licensing boards and legislative bodies to adopt the proposal.
The four organizations have already approved two presentations to large meetings of licensure boards. This is a high priority of all four organizations.
There is no way to determine when an individual state will adopt the National Counselor Licensure Endorsement Process. Each state must independently take this step; there is no national implementation process possible by the federal government. The adoption process may require new legislation or regulations—each state has its own rules governing licensing board regulations—and this takes time and organization.
NBCC will provide regular updates and news about the National Counselor Licensure Endorsement Process through its new monthly newsletter, NBCC Visions, as well as on the NBCC website, and the NBCC Facebook page. News may occasionally also be disseminated through email to board certified NCCs.
Counselors interested in contributing to efforts on behalf of this proposal should contact their state licensing board and encourage adoption of the National Counselor Licensure Endorsement Process.
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