Does Georgia Have Reciprocity?
Increasing numbers of therapists searching my site want information on license reciprocity. Most likely it is because more want to learn how to safely practice telemental health. Some just want to gain a better understanding of the rules. Many of these questions come from Professional Counselors.
First, there really is no transfer of a license. You keep your original license and apply for an additional license. Does Georgia have license reciprocity for LPCs? No, but there is a process that achieves the same results.
Nationwide Trends in Telemental Health Law
1) Almost for certain, more states will enact laws and write rules that will now make it easier to practice telemental health across state lines.
2) Some states years ago passed laws for telehealth medicine and are using that law to incorporate the increasing need for telemental health services. In other words, mental health licensing boards are now piggybacking off their state’s telehealth laws.
What is Reciprocity?
Sometimes organizations have agreements in which privileges granted are honored by both entities. Using this definition, Georgia’s board does not currently grant licenses based upon reciprocity with another state. The Board currently does not have formal arrangements of any kind with other states. Some arrangements are implied. For example, states- including Georgia–usually honor requests from other states to confirm a clean licensing history. But no reciprocity.
Some states I’ll discuss provide for limited out of state LPC endorsement and the rules/law vary widely.
Several states with input from the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB) have reciprocal agreements. On 4/17/2015, Tennessee and Kentucky LPC/LPCC licensing boards signed a reciprocal state agreement that recognizes the other as a true reciprocal state but you need to meet certain conditions. Kentucky and Ohio Counseling Boards now have reciprocal agreements. Kentucky’s board originally reached out to both OH and TN to discuss these reciprocity agreements.
State counselor and reciprocity endorsement is constantly evolving and I regularly provide a Nationwide Webinar, “Interstate Practice of Telemental Health” that I constantly update.
Licensure By Endorsement
Instead, Georgia uses a Licensure By Endorsement application process. The board evaluates these applications based upon number of years post full licensure at the independent practice level and other equivalency factors. The process requires that the board evaluate endorsement applications on a case-by-case basis. It is a far more complicated process.
Step-By-Step Georgia Licensure by Endorsement
Post Degree Supervision and Work Requirements
Most states including Georgia measure their post degree LPC requirements by:
• A definition of an eligible supervisor and number of hours required.
• Number of work hours and/or years in an eligible clinical setting.
Reading Georgia’s Board Rules
First, evaluate and understand Georgia’s Composite Board requirements in these categories. The best starting point is learning how to read the board rules. I also cover this thoroughly in many of my workshops–I think it’s the best Georgia board rules training in the state. Then read clarification of supervision and work requirements.
LPC Reciprocity States
All 50 States Endorsement / Reciprocity Rules
Read your state’s supervision and work experience requirements: I’ve made it easy for you and provided links to all 50 states below as published on 10/2/2019. Requirements are either in the state’s law and rules or in the section, ‘application for license’.
If the rules don’t immediately appear, search the page for the link to law/code/rules/regulations. Then press “Ctrl F” and search the document for out-of-state, special conditions of licensing, license waiver, license by credentials, LPC LMHC LPPC LCPC endorsement, reciprocity, reciprocal and other similar search terms.
Check and re-check prior to submitting your application. If Georgia denies your application, it could be very difficult to reapply. If you have any doubt whether Georgia’s board will grant the endorsement, feel free to schedule a consultation appointment with me and I will help you submit the best application possible.
LPC license portability has been proposed by the American Counseling Association (ACA) and other professional associations. Portability is controversial. There are obvious advantages to licensees who want automatic recognition of their license across states. The gist is that you could practice anywhere in the U.S. with a valid state license. Sort of like a drivers license. Many are opposed to portability because requirements from state-to-state vary widely.
Taking Your Georgia LPC License to Another State.
Every state has different licensing rules. And they vary widely. If you have a Georgia license, in some states it is quite easy to have your GA LPC license endorsed. It can be as simple as providing proof of a current license with a clean history and paying a fee. Key points to remember:
• Go to the the state’s licensing board website. Read that board’s rules on reciprocity or endorsement.
• Very important: prior to submitting application, speak with peers who reside in that state and ask questions about their licensing experiences.
3) Understand the implications of practicing telemental health across state lines.
How To Prepare Your Endorsement Application
There are three types of therapist boards law and rules enforcement:
- Rules: These are directly subject to GA LPC Licensing Law. The board writes rules that provide a starting point for how it will regulate licenses.
- Policies: these are less formal than rules and often change with the overall climate of licensing. For example, it has not been practical for the board to commit to rigid endorsement rules due to numerous states with different licensing requirements and many other variables.
- Finally, Discretion refers to the board’s additional flexibility in enforcing rules.
Any or all of these will be applied to your endorsement application. Each endorsement application is unique.
States’ discretion is often the #1 factor in whether your application will be approved because every application is unique. Over time the board develops informal policies but these policies can change.
There are general rules that are uniformly enforced, but how the board will process your application for reciprocity/endorsement can’t be reliably predicted. Follow these important steps:
• Complete the Licensure by Endorsement application with a heavy dark pen or type it. Print clearly.
• Provide the required application documents and if the board needs additional information, they will ask for it.