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Counseling Interstate Compact

June 7, 2022
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Alan Moss

Executive Summary 

Occupational licensing for different professions is left up to the discretion of individual states. Because of this, professionals who move to different states or perform telehealth may have different regulatory requirements they must meet for each state where they want to work. Interstate compacts are one option to standardize the regulatory and licensure process between states. Introduced during the 2022 Missouri legislative session, HB 2749 would enter Missouri into an interstate counseling compact. Legislation to join the compact has been introduced in several states in the last two years, and the compact currently has 12 members. 

Highlights 

  • Moving across state lines can be difficult, particularly for military spouses who move across state lines ten times more frequently than average citizens and who are also more likely to work in a profession that requires a license.
  • Access to professional counselors has been shown to be inversely correlated with suicide deaths.
  • Missouri has ~30% fewer professional counselors per capita than the national average.
  • One study of an interstate nursing compact found increased movements of nurses between member states, while migration from states within the compact to non-compact states decreased slightly.
  • Twelve states including Kentucky, Nebraska, and Tennessee have already joined the counseling interstate compact and another three have passed bills awaiting signatures from their respective governors (CO, LA, NH).
  • Missouri is currently in the rule-changing process for its counselor requirements which will likely bring it into agreement with the standards of the counseling compact.

Limitations 

  • There is not a broad body of research on the effects of states joining occupational interstate compacts such as how this affects workforce migration or telehealth.
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