Portability 2021

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AMHCA Counselor Licensure Interstate Portability Endorsement and Reciprocity Plan

February 2021


It is the position of the American Mental Health Counselors Association that state counseling boards work with AMHCA representatives to adopt the provisions of the AMHCA Counselor Licensure Interstate Portability Endorsement and Reciprocity (CLIPER) Plan (highlighted below), where both Endorsement and Reciprocity provisions allow states flexibility to address portability challenges:

Portability Endorsement of Licensee

Any counselor licensed as a mental health counselor or licensed professional counselor for independent practice available in his or her state may obtain licensure in any other state or territory of the U.S:

Definition: Independent Clinical Practice License is defined as the highest level of license in each state regardless of the title used in that state, whereby the licensee’s scope of practice minimally includes the ability to assess, diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders without a requirement to do so under the supervision of another licensed mental health professional.

To be eligible for licensure for independent practice in (insert state name) as a(n) (insert state’s designation) by endorsement, an applicant should:

  • Hold an active license in their profession at the highest level of licensure for independent clinical practice in the originating state
  • Be in good standing where they are licensed and possesses a license or licenses currently free of encumbrance or restriction
  • Not have any current or pending investigation in any jurisdiction where they are currently licensed and must grant permission for those jurisdictions to release that information to the receiving state
  • Pass the jurisprudence exam if required by the receiving state
  • Complete a background chick if required by the receiving state


AMHCA believes that this process – which is very similar as proposed by the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB) endorsement proposal
- offers a simplified version of review by accepting evidence of required experience and educational requirements previously reviewed by another licensure board (home state).

Additionally, this process indicates that applicants are still subject to any state jurisprudence assessment and/or criminal background check requirements a state may require. The goal of encouraging and supporting the mobility of mental health counselors and the work of the regulatory boards will be achieved.

Supervised Practice License

We support AASCB’s proposal related to Supervised Practice License

Definition: Supervised Clinical Practice License is defined as the initial level of license that is required in some states regardless of the title used in that state, whereby the licensee’s scope of practice minimally includes the ability to assess, diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders with a requirement to do so under the supervision of another licensed mental health professional.

The intent of this section is to ensure that documented supervision practice hours from the originating state are transferred to the receiving state.

To ensure documented supervision hours from the originating state meet the eligibility criteria for licensure for supervised practice in (insert state name) as a(n) (insert state’s designation) by reciprocity, an applicant:

  • Must be currently licensed for supervised practice if available in the originating state
  • Must have a license that is currently free of encumbrance or restriction.
  • Cannot have any current or pending investigations in the jurisdiction where they are currently licensed and must grant permission for those jurisdictions to release that information to the receiving state
  • Must pass the jurisprudence exam if required by the receiving state.
  • Must complete a background check if required by the receiving state.
  • Must recognize that endorsement at this level of licensure does not exclude the licensee from meeting the receiving state’s full standard for licensed independent practice, which may require additional graduate coursework or passing a different exam.
  • Pay applicable State license fees



Licensure Reciprocity to Offer Services

Any counselor licensed as a mental health counselor or licensed professional counselor for independent practice available in his or her state may offer services in any other state or territory of the U.S without being licensed in the state:

As Proposed by Council of State Governments (CSG) for Counselor Reciprocity

Definition: Reciprocity to offer services allows a CMHC in one state to offer services in another state without being licensed in that state.

Reciprocity is governed by the passage of laws by each state legislature that explicitly will conform to a proposed interstate compact. Each state who adopts by law the compact will allow

other states who have also passed compact legislation to allow counselors to practice between those states. The current proposal by the Council of State Governments (CSG) requires that 10 states must first pass the compact legislation – which is a reciprocity arrangement -- in order for the compact to become in effect.

For a licensee to practice through the reciprocity in another state, the following criteria would apply:

  1. Hold a license in the Home State;
  2. Have no encumbrances on any State license;
  3. Pay any applicable fees, including any State fee, for the Privilege to Practice;
  4. Meet any Jurisprudence Requirements established by the Remote State(s) in which the Licensee is seeking a Privilege to Practice; and

  • The Privilege to Practice is valid until the expiration date of the home license. The Licensee must comply with the requirements of Section 4(A) in the CSG Compact to maintain the Privilege to Practice in the Remote State.
  • A Licensee providing Professional Counseling in a Remote State under the Privilege to Practice shall adhere to the laws and regulations of the Remote State.
  • A Licensee providing Professional Counseling services in a Remote State is subject to that State’s regulatory authority. A Remote State may, in accordance with due process and that State’s laws, remove a Licensee’s Privilege to Practice in the Remote State for a specific period of time, impose fines, and/or take any other necessary actions to protect the health and safety of its citizens. The Licensee is not eligible for a Privilege to Practice in any Member State until the specific time for removal has passed and all fines are paid.
  • If a Home State license is encumbered, the Licensee shall lose the Privilege to Practice in any Remote State until specific items are addressed embodied in the Counseling Compact.

AMHCA believes that this process – which is very similar as proposed by The Council State Governments (CSG) reciprocity proposal - offers a simplified version of review by accepting evidence of required experience and educational requirements previously reviewed by another licensure board (home state).

AMHCA’s Board of Directors supports:

  • Licensure Portability Endorsement for licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors (LPCs, LCMHs, LCPCs, LPCCs) and
  • Licensure Reciprocity for licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors (LPCs, LCMHs, LCPCs, LPCCs)

We encourage state counseling boards to support AMHCA’s plan - Counselor Licensure Interstate Portability Endorsement and Reciprocity (CLIPER) Plan - which endorses both portability by endorsement and reciprocity.

We believe that our plan provides multiple pathways for states to achieve portability for mental health counselors, and provides needed flexibility for state counseling boards to address the needs of those practitioners who seek to practice in separate states other than where they currently reside and are licensed.