An Interstate Compact for Beauty Industry Being Studied: Could Lead to Increased Mobility of Your License


The Council of State Governments (CSG) recently hosted the official compact kickoff meeting for Cosmetology and Barbering. Supported through a partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD), CSG is leading the effort to create legislation that will form an interstate compact allowing licensed professionals within the beauty and barbering industry full mobility. Many industry members and employers agree, licensed professionals should be able to move from one state to another and practice their profession. 

An interstate compact is a contract between states to allow for and recognize a common purpose that is outlined within the compact itself. One example of states working together in an interstate compact is the recognition and legal acceptance of a valid state driver’s license. Individuals can legally drive in multiple states without obtaining additional licensing. Compacts are possible because states can act by cooperatively addressing shared problems together with a joint solution. 

One hundred and fifty-one pieces of compact legislation have been passed since 2016 and 9 professions have active interstate compacts for occupational licensing. According to CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts the following career fields are working on developing or implementing an interstate compact:

  • Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) in 31 states
  • Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) & Advanced Practice Nurse Compact in 34 states
  • Emergency Medical Service Officials Licensure Compact (EMS Compact) in 20 states
  • Physical Therapists Licensure Compact (PT Compact) in 29 states 
  • Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) 12 states
  • Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact (ASLP-IC) in 3 states
  • Occupational Therapy Interstate Licensure Compact (OT Compact) pending 
  • Counseling Interstate Licensure Compact 

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) shared the goal to have states participate in the occupational therapy licensure compact by 2024. The American Occupational Therapy Association, The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), and The Council of State Governments (CSG) began their work together in 2019, according to AOTA’s site. The process is extremely thorough and requires the cooperation of many different entities to successfully write and pass legislation of an interstate compact. 

Supporters of the Counseling Compact are seeking ten states to pass legislation, hopefully in 2022, to allow for the interstate compact.

 Additional industries selected for the planning and process to create legislation for an interstate compact include:  

  • Cosmetology and Barbering 
  • Dentistry and Dental Hygiene 
  • K-12 Teaching 
  • Massage Therapy
  • Physician Assistants 
  • Social work 

Many State Boards support interstate compacts for licensees because participating states will come together under uniform licensure requirements and utilize a shared data system.

 Interstate Compacts may have the following positive impacts overall on occupational licensing and licensees: 

  • Increased mobility 
  • Leverages advancing technology such as tele practice 
  • Supports relocating military members and their families 
  • Strengthens state sovereignty 
  • Enhances cooperation between states
  • Strengthens labor markets
  • Expands the ability to protect public health 
  • Flexibility and autonomy in comparison to the federal policy 

The compact must be enacted by the state legislature (House and Senate), then is sent to the Governor where the Governor signs the legislation authorizing the compact to become law. 

The Cosmetology and Barbering Compact process has the goal of creating reciprocity which ultimately reduces barriers to work for licensees. Licensed practitioners, regulators, and industry stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide their input once the process begins and draft legislation is being created. The goal for stakeholder review is the summer of 2022. Interested parties may reach out to the National Center for Interstate Compacts within The Council of State Governments for additional information.  

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