Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) just signed HB 2569 into law, making Arizona the first state to open access to occupational licensure to anyone holding a similar license in another state. The governor’s office has posted a summary of the universal licensing recognition law and the bill’s full text is posted here.
What does this mean for psychologists?
Psychologists who have been licensed in another state and in good standing for at least one year may move to Arizona and obtain licensure without documenting credentialing information such as education, training, and national exam scores. Applicants will have to meet requirements for residency, background checks, and pay a fee in order to obtain a license.
What does this not mean?
This law only impacts individuals who become Arizona residents, so it will not impact psychologists who wish to apply for licensure in Arizona but maintain primary residence elsewhere. Similarly, it does not impact individuals who wish to practice telepsychology in Arizona while residing in other states.
Arizona was already a “no postdoc” state, and this law has no impact on that status. Psychologists may get licensed in Arizona with or without a supervised postdoctoral experience.
What are the potential pitfalls?
Some states currently license (or have licensed previously) graduates from non-accredited, primarily online programs. These individuals don’t have many options to transfer their license to other states because they traditionally have not met minimum requirements established in most jurisdictions. Arizona is now a viable option for these providers. Additionally, local licensing boards may believe that the lack of regulatory oversight in granting new licenses may negatively affect their charge of protecting the public. Local psychologists may also be uncomfortable with granting licensure to individuals whose training standards may differ substantially from their own.
What will happen next?
Many states, particularly those with Republican legislatures and governors, have engaged in similar conversations about reducing barriers to occupational licensure for a number of years. Now that Arizona has made this move, it will be interesting to see how many adopt a similar model of universal licensing recognition. Additional barriers to practice could also come down, particularly related to telehealth and temporary practice.