Social Work Licensure Compact: Rationales, Expected Effects, and a Future Research Agenda

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This paper provides an overview of the limitations in the current state-based licensure system for social worker practitioners, clients, and regulators that calls for an interstate solution such as a licensure compact. It also reviews the models of interstate licensure compacts from other healthcare professions and draws lessons critical for the implementation of the emerging Social Work Licensure Compact. It further reviews empirical evidence on interstate compacts, available only in the nursing literature, and reports that the nurse licensure compact may be related to improvement in nurses’ geographic mobility and public safety but a reduction in nurses’ wages and employment. Building upon these reviews, this paper proposes that social work stakeholders and scholars should focus on monitoring how and to what extent the compact will affect (1) practitioners’ practice mobility and labor market outcomes, (2) public safety and access to social work services, and (3) regulatory efficiency and standardization in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-327
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Interstate licensure compact
  • Practice mobility
  • Regulations
  • Social work practice
  • Telehealth


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