Interstate Compact for School Psychologists
In May, 2022, NASP was notified of its selection for a grant to receive technical assistance and support in developing an interstate compact by the Department of Defense in partnership with the Council of State Governments (CSG). This represents an enormous milestone in efforts to improve licensure portability and the ability of school psychologists to more easily work across state lines.
You can access a recording of the kick-off webinar describing the compact and additional information about interstate compacts in general at CSG's website for the Interate Compact for School Psychologists.
What Is an Interstate Compact?
An interstate compact creates a constitutionally authorized contract that enables professionals in good standing to practice in all states that join the compact. Such compacts generally authorize both in-person and telehealth services in other states that join the compact by simply holding a valid license or certification in one's home state. Drivers' licenses represent a good example of an interstate compact. One obtains a driver's license in their home state, and this enables that individual to drive in any other state. The interstate compact eliminates the need to seek a license in each state they plan to enter; however, all drivers must still observe and follow the laws and rules of the state they drive in. An interstate compact for school psychologists would work in a similar way.
How Is This Different From What Exists Now?
No formal compact or reciprocity agreements exist across states for school psychology. Even among states that accept the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential, individuals must still apply for and obtain the appropriate licensure or certification in each state in which they plan to practice. Holding the NCSP or meeting shared requirements simply streamlines that process. In contrast, a compact would eliminate the need to pursue an individual credential in each state as long as both states join the compact, thereby eliminating delays and paperwork, enhancing mobility, and improving access to services. Interstate compacts also strengthen state certification and licensing systems by helping to develop a shared database to enable verification of licenses as well as disciplinary information. These benefits represent an incredible necessity among those who have to travel or relocate regularly, such as military spouses.
What Happens Next?
Over the next 12 to 18 months, NASP will partner with CSG to develop model legislation for the compact. The draft and technical assistance teams will include school psychologists, attorneys, regulators, and legislative experts; these groups will meet regularly, utilizing the wealth of knowledge and experience from CSG's National Center for Interstate Compacts. Following completion of model legislation, efforts will then turn to advocating for states to enact the model legislation into its state statute and join the compact. Each state maintains authority on whether they plan to join the compact. The compact will likely only take effect once several states enact the legislation, then leading to identifying an effective date in the future. Thus, the process may take several years until the first states begin participating in such a compact.
What Does This Mean for Me?
The interstate compact has no impact on scope of practice, and state laws related to practice remain unaffected. Furthermore, states that eventually join the compact retain authority to regulate the profession as they do currently. However, if your state eventually joins the compact, your ability to provide services across state lines, either in person or remotely, would be greatly enhanced, and in turn enable improved access to services. NASP will continue to update the membership as the process progresses, including strategies to help advocate to have your state join the compact.In the meantime, NASP's successful application for this grant represents a significant step toward improving licensure and certification portability and access to services.
From "NASP Wins Grant to Develop Interstate Compact," by E. Rossen and A. K. Skalski, 2022, Communiqué, 51(1), p. 24 (https://www.nasponline.org/publications/periodicals/communique/issues/voume-51-issue-1/nasp-wins-grant-to-develop-an-interstate-compact).
Copyright 2022 by the National Association of School Psychologists. Reprinted with permission.