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 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. Or you surrender your previous state license if you wish and obtain the new license.
Does Georgia have license reciprocity for LPCs? No, but there is a process that achieves the same results.
Other States Reciprocity and Telemental Health
1) Almost for certain, more states will enact laws and write rules that will 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 law.
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.
In fact, few states have reciprocity. Many states have endorsement.
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. Georgia endorses, but 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. I regularly provide a Nationwide Webinar, “Interstate Practice of Psychotherapy and Telemental Health”.
“I’m a Florida LMHC totally overwhelmed by how to become licensed in Georgia.”
Some states apply the term reciprocity for their recognizing out-of-state licenses. It is actually endorsement since the originating state may not recognize the receiving state’s license.
Georgia’s Composite Board of Professional Counselors Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists 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.
Let’s Start With Georgia: Counselor 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.
What you most need to remember: Georgia requires that your state’s requirements are equal to or exceed Georgia LPC board’s.
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 and Reciprocity Rules and Requirements
Use the links below to find a state’s reciprocity. endorsement or other out-of-state license procedures. This info accurate as of 12/7/21. These links do not provide COVID-19 licensing exceptions.
You may need to search this page. (CTRL F)
Confirm these rules directly with the board if possible. Often they are enforced differently than they read in the rule.
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.
Many states use the term reciprocity. The process is actually endorsement.
California LPCC– for some licensees, a streamlined endorsement.
Florida– Also has out-of-state provider registration that does not require a license. *For telehealth only*
Georgia – Endorsement. If that can’t be demonstrated. complete application is required.
Kentucky – has true joint reciprocal agreement with Tennessee.
Louisiana– scroll down to Chapter 6.
Massachusetts – accepts only NMHce exam.
Maine– scroll to bottom of page.
Michigan– scroll to page 7 of the PDF file.
Missouri– streamlined process.
Mississippi – scroll to bottom of page, “reciprocity”. No reciprocity. Generally, must apply from ‘scratch’ though endorsements handled on a case-by-case basis.
Montana – Endorsement
North Carolina -Endorsement. May require an exam on the state law and rules.
North Dakota – near the bottom of the page. “Reciprocity Application” but it is actually endorsement. If coming from another state, you must prove you have completed equal requirements.
Nebraska – On 7/12/21 all licensing requirements have are more strict. Out-of-state applicants must also prove they have met these requirements.
New York “5 years of acceptable post-licensure experience in the 10 years prior to applying…”. Endorsement process.
Ohio – must submit documents supporting equivalence.
Pennsylvania– See , “Application for Licensure By Reciprocity”. Must meet equivalency.
South Carolina– See “36-12, Licensure By Endorsement”. Must complete and application that is evaluated by NBCC. The application is then forwarded to South Carolina’s board for final approval. Requires a complete application.
Texas– requires a no-fail test on law and rules.
Wisconsin – Endorsement. Must prove equivalence.
As you can see, most states require endorsement. Some can fast-track you to licensing.
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.
An organization, CounselingCompact.org was funded by the American Counseling Association (ACA) to move forward a form of portability.
This organization has drafted legislation that states have used as a template. See if your state has enacted the counseling compact or has proposed legislation.
It is important to understand the challenge of states’ implementing the compact since each state retains in the law their duty to set licensing requirements.
Transferring Your License To Another State
First, transfer is a misconception. You would simply have additional state licenses– all of which you need to maintain. Or you could relinquish a state license when you relocate from that state
Each state has different licensing rules. And they vary widely. If you have a Georgia license, in some states it is much easier 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 that 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.
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 request it.