Online Exclusives

20/20 can’t reach consensus on education requirements for license portability

Jonathan Rollins March 21, 2013

dukeTrying to bring closure to a process that began seven years ago, the delegates to the 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling initiative, met for the final time Thursday afternoon to discuss the two remaining “building blocks to counselor license portability.” The group reached consensus at last year’s conference in San Francisco on “Licensed Professional Counselor” as the common licensure title for counselors.

Tasked in Cincinnati with reaching consensus on a counselor scope of practice proposal and a proposal on educational requirements for licensure, the delegates went 1-for-2. After roughly 90 minutes of discussion, the delegates voted 28-1 to accept a common scope of practice for counselors.

The delegates could not, however, reach agreement on education requirements. At last year’s conference, the delegates endorsed the concept that having a single accrediting body would be a clear benefit to the counseling profession. Two accrediting bodies participated in the 20/20 process — the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE).

The proposal on the table in Cincinnati recommended inclusion of graduation from a CACREP-accredited mental health counseling or clinical mental health counseling program in model licensure language. It also recommended development of grandparenting language to be applied to graduates of CORE-accredited programs and graduates from other CACREP program areas for a time-limited period.

While many of the 20/20 delegates expressed strong support for the proposal, other delegates voiced concern that endorsing the proposal would leave CORE and rehabilitation counselors “disenfranchised.”

Many of the delegates believe the true solution to the problem is to have CACREP and CORE pursue a merger and urged those representing the two accrediting organizations to “come together.” The organizations did discuss a merger in 2007 but couldn’t reach an agreement.

“We are a long way away from this third building block to license portability, which is a shame,” said facilitator Kurt Kraus as time ran out on the 20/20 discussions.

“We’ve gotten further than any other group has with this topic,” said Barry Mascari, the American Association of State Counseling Boards representative to 20/20. “I’m a little disappointed we ended up with the ball on the 1-yard line.”

Added Burt Bertram, the 20/20 delegate representing the Association for Specialists in Group Work, “I have come to realize the last yard belongs to CORE and CACREP.”


  1. Ann

    I’m sorry, and mean no disrespect to the 20/20 committee, who I’m sure have all tried very hard, but as a working counselor, this whole process strikes me as time-wasting, frustrating, and unsatisfying. And very far removed from the realities of my life as a clinician, where I can’t get panelled with a bunch of insurance companies including Blue Cross, I can’t see Medicare clients, and have to explain over and over what a counselor actually is. And meanwhile, the organization that is meant to be fighting to change this has spent seven years wordsmithing definitions, before gridlocking and giving up on something that would take us a little closer to the kind of recognition that social workers have. As much as I loved the training I got as a counselor, now that I am out in the “real world”, I’m wishing I’d chosen psychology or social work instead. Making a living would be a lot easier.

  2. Paula Hughes

    So with ‘grandparenting for a limited time’, am I as a CORE graduate who is licensed at the highest level of independent clinical mental health counseling in two states supposed to dash out applications to the other 48 states in case one day I happen to re-locate to them? Since that would be neither practical nor affordable, and I am not in possession of a crystal ball to predict to which state my spouse may be transferred, this brings us back to the issue of being “trapped in your own state”, which was the whole point of trying to improve counselor license portability in the beginning. Rather than have only one approved accrediting body or nothing at all, perhaps agreed-upon content areas of focus throughout the curriculum that leads to the degree would be a more practical aspect of the educational requirements for licensure. My sincere hope is that the voting members of the 20/20 work groups would remember that inclusion of qualified practitioners is the goal, and not exclusion of well-educated and qualified practitioners due to arbitrary factors that do not indicate a lack of knowledge or depth of skill and ability.

  3. Annette K. Schreiber, Ph.D., LPC

    I have to agree with Ann and Paula’s comments. I have an M.A. and a Ph.D. in psychological counseling, the NCC, and the CCMHC. However I never went to a CACREP accredited program. And at this stage, I am unlikely to go to one. Requiring all counselors to come from CACREP programs, otherwise they are shut out of being licensed in other states or being credentialed in certain insurance plans amounts to restraint of trade.


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