Interstate Licensure Compact

smiling woman holds office supplies in a box

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as part of an initiative to promote licensure portability for military spouses, in 2021 awarded a $500,000 grant for the development of an interstate licensure compact for social workers.

An interstate compact is a legal contract between two or more states/territories that would enable social workers to practice in each other’s jurisdiction, giving members of the profession more license mobility. The Council of State Governments (CSG) is overseeing development of the compact and the Association of Social Work Boards is the lead. NASW and the Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA) are partners. Visit this page to get regular updates on the development of the compact.

Draft Legislation Release

The draft legislation for the social work interstate licensure compact has been released by the Council of State Governments (CSG). The public comment period is now open and is expected to last for approximately two months.

Social workers from around the country – including representatives from NASW – have been involved in the drafting process. However, since licensure is different in each state and the legislation will affect each state differently it is important social workers from around the nation review the legislation and weigh in.

To download a copy of the draft legislation, review the fact sheet, read FAQs, register for their weekly stakeholder review sessions, and access the survey link to provide your comments. Visit the Council on State Governments (CSG) to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an interstate licensure compact?

An interstate compact is a legal contract between two or more states/territories enabling practitioners (in this case, social workers) to practice in each other’s jurisdiction, once practitioners demonstrate they meet the compact requirements.

What are the advantages of the social work compact?

The compact eliminates barriers to practice and increases access to care (especially in areas that are underserved, geographically isolated or lack specialty care) by increasing the efficiency of becoming licensed across state/territory lines. Currently, social workers must seek a separate license in each state/territory in which they wish to practice, which can be labor- and time-intensive. A compact creates a more efficient processing system, while also protecting public safety. Other benefits include:

  • Facilitating interstate/territory telemental health
  • Improving continuity of care when clients travel or relocate
  • Encouraging cooperation among compact member states/territories in regulating the practice of social work
  • Preserving and strengthening state licensure systems

Read more Interstate Licensure Compact FAQs >>

NASW National Stakeholder Review Sessions

The sessions gave the public the chance to review the draft legislation with Council of State Governments (CSG) representatives and hear analysis and reflections from NASW leaders with a national perspective.

Social Work Licensure Compact Update

In July 2022, the Council of State Governments (CSG) — in partnership with ASWB, CSWA and NASW — will circulate the Compact draft online and by request and distribute a stakeholder review survey to gather comments and assessments.

CSG also will host regular webinars and other public review sessions to provide information, review the draft and solicit feedback.

Social Work Practice Mobility

NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, speaks with Mary Jo Monahan, CEO of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) about efforts to enable social work practice mobility.

Listen to the podcast episode

The National Center for Interstate Compacts (NCIC)

NCIC serves as an information clearinghouse, provider of training and primary facilitator in the consideration, creation and revision of interstate compacts.

Learn more about NCIC