Interstate Licensure Compact

Outline of united states with 2 drawn people on opposite sides and 18 states highlighted

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.

Updates on Compact Bill Passage

On April 12, 2024 Kansas became the seventh state to pass Social Work Interstate Licensing Compact Legislation. That was a threshold that had to be met for states to create a Compact Commission that will govern the compact and ensure coordination between the participating states. 

In all, 22 states have passed the compact legislation. They are are Missouri on July 7, 2023, followed by South Dakota on February 4, 2024;  UtahWashington state, and Kentucky in March; VirginiaNebraskaVermont, and Maine in April; Georgia, Iowa,  Alabama, Ohio, LouisianaTennessee and Minnesota* in May;  Colorado,  Louisiana, Arizona and Rhode Island in June; and New Hampshire in July. 

The legislation has been introduced in about a dozen other states. Additional states can join the Compact Commission after they pass the legislation.

* The Minnesota compact legislation includes an alternate pathway to licensure. Starting on Oct. 1, in lieu of the exam, any one with a social work degree can apply for a provisional licensure at any level of licensure provided they have 37.5 hours of supervision over one to three years.

Learn more about the Model Social Work Interstate Compact Bill

Read NASW press release applauding progress on compact and next steps

Watch a May 16, 2024  Facebook and YouTube Live Update on the Social Work Interstate Compact Bill

Model Social Work Interstate Compact Bill

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) welcomed the release of the Social Work Compact Model Bill on February 27, 2023. The bill will expand opportunities for social workers to provide services in multiple states. Seven states must enact the Model Social Work Compact Bill before the Compact Commission is established. The Commission will serve as an administrative body overseeing the Interstate Compact for Social Workers. The Council of State Governments (CSG) oversaw the development of the legislation.

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 >>

Ramifications of the Interstate Licensing Compact

Case Management Today - February 14, 2023

Karen Goodenough, PhD, MSW, LGSW, NASW Minnesota Chapter executive director and co-chair of NASW’s Licensure Task Force, and Sarah Butts, MSW, NASW Director of Public Policy, said the compact is a significant but complex endeavor.

Stakeholder Review Sessions

The public reviewed the draft legislation with Council of State Governments representatives and heard analysis and reflections from NASW leaders.

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.

Update on the Social Work Interstate Compact (February 14, 2023)

NASW supports changes to the Model Social Work Interstate Compact Bill under development following the convening of partnering organizations with the Council of State Governments.

Read the February 14, 2023 update

Draft Legislation Release

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.

Social Work Practice Mobility

Former NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, spoke 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