Missouri Legislator Contact Information
Governor - Michael L. Parson
PO Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102
P. (573) 751-3222
Senator Josh Hawley (R)
212 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
P. (202) 224-6154
Senator Roy Blunt (R)
260 Russel Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
P. (202) 224-5721
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Statement of the American Counseling Association of Missouri regarding HB1719
The history of the American Counseling Association reflects the importance that the competencies of Career Development hold in the counseling Profession. The counseling profession itself began in settings in which people sought assistance with career development. Career Development should not be considered as simple job placement. Rather, Career Development is a rich and existential approach to human development. So integral was the concept of Career Development to the counseling profession that one of the organizations foundational to the current American Counseling Association was The National Vocational Guidance Association.
The counseling profession today maintains the importance of Career Development as a core competency for counseling professions. The ACA Code of Ethics states in its preamble that counseling “empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals” (ACA, 2014, Preamble). The ACA Code of Ethics further mandates that career assessment is a core responsibility of ethical practice for counselors (ACA, 2014, E.1.a). The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) identifies Career Development as a component of the core curriculum that counselors must have completed in order to be approved as a National Certified Counselor, and universities must offer Career Development courses in order to have their programs considered as qualifying programs for certification for graduates (NBCC, 2018). Furthermore, the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which is the gold standard for counselor education programs requires that programs offer coursework in Career Development as part of their core curriculum (CACREP, 2018a). Career Development has been an element of the core curriculum for counselor education programs since the foundation of the American Personnel and Guidance Association in 1979, which preceded CACREP as the premier organization for counselor education accreditation programs (CACREP, 2018b). Without Career Development, an educational program cannot be accredited. In the history of the counseling profession and in the current ethical and educational standards, Career Development is core to counselor identity.
HB 1719 which was passed into law in 2018 and signed by Governor Eric Greitens in June of the same year relieves counselors who were licensed in a state other than Missouri and wish to seek licensure in Missouri from the responsibility of demonstrating that they have received education in what the counseling profession itself defines as a core competency. The purpose of this legislation is to provide an easier path to licensure reciprocity for counselors already licensed in other states. However, the removal of this core curriculum does not recognize the essential nature of Career Development in the ethical practice of counselors. Some counselors graduated from programs prior to the integration of a course in Career Development into their graduate curriculum while others may have come from states with standards that are not aligned with the national standards for counselor education. We understand this creates hardship for these individuals when seeking licensure in the state of Missouri. The balance is to maintain fidelity to what the counseling profession identifies as core competencies and ethical practice and to provide a path to licensure for people who for some reason have not met the standards of education that the profession itself defines as necessary.
The American Counseling Association of Missouri would like to offer the following compromise: Individuals fully licensed as professional counselors in another state prior to 2009 and who do not have a history of disciplinary action taken against their license may receive automatic licensure in Missouri without meeting any further requirements than proof of licensure without disciplinary action. We hope that we can work together to restore this core standard to counselor education requirements in the state and provide an easier path to reciprocity for counselors.