Counseling Today, Online Exclusives

State licensing boards asked to adopt uniform scope of practice, licensure title

By Bethany Bray July 20, 2015

This summer, state licensing boards across the United States are being asked to accept both a uniform scope of practice and a common licensure title for professional counselors as part of an effort to improve license portability for counselors.

Letters, cowritten and signed by the leadership of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB), were finalized and sent last month.

The two organizations are requesting that state licensing boards adopt a uniform professional title – licensed professional counselor (LPC) — and scope of practice, a five-paragraph job description that defines the work of professional counselors.

portabilityMore than 35 different license titles are currently in use by professional counselors across the country. Scopes of practice for professional counselors also vary state to state.

This summer’s letter is the culmination of the Building Blocks to Portability Project, which was part of 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling, a yearslong strategic planning initiative that ACA and AASCB co-sponsored.

For more background on the profession’s license portability issues, read Counseling Today’s April feature, “Addressing counseling’s portability crisis.”

See a sample of the letter being sent to each state licensure board here.

See ACA’s announcement about the letter, including the full scope of practice for counselors, here.






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  1. Deanna

    I’m so excited to see this finally being presented to state licensure boards! It’s been a long time coming. What will this mean for states with licensure like Ohio, where you can be an LPC and are licensed to counsel, but not independently diagnose? (In Ohio, you must have 2 years post-master supervision with a qualified licensed individual in order to apply for independent licensure, or to become an LPCC).

    1. Lucia Gonzales

      Thank you for doing this. I was so excited to move to another state and 8 mos. later found out I will probably have to take 3-4 more graduate level courses which will take another 10,000-12,000 dollars plus another year of waiting despite being licensed for 9 yrs. I definitely feel like a prisoner in my own state. Lack of portability is criminal.

      Is there any new information about this? Which states have responded favorably?

      Thank you!

  2. Kate

    I welcome this effort wholeheartedly. I am personally experiencing the absurdity/Catch-22 of inter-state bureaucratic obduracy, regarding LCSW reciprocity. In my case, it’s also infused with clear, but sadly not-actionable age discrimination. PA is refusing to honor my NJ license (received in ’95), alleging it does not “like” NJ’s paperwork used for reporting requisite supervised clinical hours. (Though what PA does not “like” would not be specified, despite numerous requests for same.)
    I was informed (at the highest State level), the only solution was to have all my clinical supervisors duplicate NJ’s reporting on PA’s reporting form. In response, I politely asked if PA might suggest some means to “raise the dead,” since two of my clinical supervisors from the early ’90’s (both senior in status & age), were now deceased. Dead silence in response. Of course it is an ethical violation to have another supervisor complete paperwork for which s/he did not directly supervise (& I would refuse myself, if anyone asked me to do this).
    My professional organization (NASW) was also engaged for advocacy, as well as my local State Rep. Both acknowledged the Catch-22, but were at a loss to provide any assistance toward successful resolution.
    Complete & utter nonsense.


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