WASHINGTON, June 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A groundbreaking collaborative effort of four major professional counseling organizations aimed at improving access to quality mental health care nationwide has resulted in a proposed uniform portability plan called the – National Counselor Licensure Endorsement Process.
The four organizations – the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB), the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) – believe that a uniform licensure endorsement process will:
Significantly increase public access to qualified care.
Establish minimum standards for safe practice.
Reduce administrative burdens for state regulatory boards and licensees.
Create consistency in licensure standards across state lines.
Ensure protection of the public and the continued development of the profession.
An overarching goal of the initiative is to move the counseling profession toward unified education standards, exam requirements and years of post-graduate experience. To see the National Counselor Licensure Endorsement Process, please go to http://www.amhca.org/2017portability.
President of AASCB, Angela McDonald, said, “Portability of licensure is a need that the counseling profession must address to improve access to care. Taking the steps to improve portability will protect the public and add to the strategies through which licensed professional counselors across the country may provide critical services, while at the same time creating a network of reciprocal relationships across the country. AASCB will be requesting that its member boards carefully consider the provisions outlined in the joint statement.”
President of ACES, Heather Trepal, said, “Our united portability process will significantly benefit mental health consumers by increasing access to needed care and services, and it will help create a vibrant workforce of licensed counselors in terms of changing regulatory standards. Moreover, we believe a secure, counselor portability licensure process will ensure that consumer protections are in place.”
President of AMHCA, Suzanne Walker, said, “In an era of a mobile workforce, which is increasingly receptive to innovative service delivery such as tele-mental health services, a national, uniform portability process is more vital than ever. The time has come to pave a path forward for highly qualified current and future counselors to improve client access to services. This new portability statement provides that roadmap.”
Chair of the NBCC Board of Directors, Kylie Dotson-Blake, said, “A key impediment to portability has been the variability in the counselor licensure degree requirements. Establishing a uniform standard of training will facilitate cross-state practice and movement and provide a major shot in the arm for needed rule and statutory changes.”
The officers of the four counseling organizations said the portability plan is built on principles of quality assurance and national standards. The plan will promote acceptance of a license from another state when the individual holds a degree from a clinically focused counselor preparation program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), holds certification as a National Certified Counselor, or meets standards adopted by the state board of counseling. It also requires that a counselor possess the highest level of licensure for independent practice for at least three years before licensure endorsement in a given state.
The four counseling organizations created a Portability Task Force that worked on the proposal over the last six months. The task force principals said the leadership and collaboration that went into the effort demonstrates the critical importance of professional unification and portability of licensure.