Occupational Licensure Compacts
Occupational licensure compacts represent the gold standard of policy options for states to improve licensure portability.
Through licensure compacts, states establish uniform standards to lower barriers to multi-state practice while preserving a state’s practice act and initial licensure process. Licensure compacts also enhance public protection through a data system that allows member states to efficiently communicate licensure data, including disciplinary actions against licenses.
Licensure compacts are developed through an extensive stakeholder informed and consensus-based process from the existing policies across states and respond to the unique characteristics and needs of a profession. States join interstate compacts by agreeing to the uniform provisions through the legislative process.
Benefits of Occupational Licensure Compacts
Practitioners benefit from licensure compacts through lower barriers to practice across state lines, including reduced costs and streamlined license requirements. These benefits are particularly impactful for highly mobile populations such as military spouses and those providing telehealth services.
State regulators benefit from licensure compacts by gaining access to a centralized database of disciplinary action records and leveraging economies of scale with other states to reduce administrative costs. States also maintain authority over their state practice act.
The public benefits from licensure compacts through greater access to services, increased availability and diversity of qualified practitioners, and elevated safety standards.
Although occupational licensure compacts have been primarily used by health care professions, any profession may consider the development of an interstate compact for occupation licensing portability. As of March 2023, 15 licensure compacts are available and two others are in development.
View our Resources and Licensure Compact Map for more details on state participation in each compact.
Available Licensure Compacts
- Advance Practice Registered Nurse Compact
- Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact*
- Cosmetology Compact*
- Counseling Interstate Licensure Compact*
- Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact*
- Emergency Medical Services Compact
- Interstate Medical Licensure Compact
- Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact*
- Massage Therapy Compact*
- Nurse Licensure Compact
- Occupational Therapy Compact*
- Physical Therapy Compact
- Physician Assistant Licensure Compact (PA Compact)*
- Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact*
- Social Work Compact*
Licensure Compacts in Development
*Compacts the CSG National Center for Interstate Compacts is currently providing development or administrative services.
NCIC and Licensure Compacts
The Council of State Governments National Center for Interstate Compacts has extensive experience in the drafting, education and administration of occupational licensure compacts. The NCIC technical assistance model provides a comprehensive, consensus-driven, and nonpartisan methodology for states and stakeholders to use when developing and enacting compacts. NCIC also serves an information clearinghouse for states by providing policy and legal expertise, including details on the history and specific functions of compacts.
Project Highlight: Learn more about the cooperative agreement between CSG and the Department of Defense to develop new licensure compacts by visiting compacts.csg.org/our-work/ics/.
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