A Preliminary Analysis of State Scopes of Practice for Behavioral Health Professions

Authors: Cory Page, MPH, MPP | Jessica Buche, MPH, MA | Angela Beck, PhD, MPH | Phillip Singer, MHSA

Topics: Behavioral Health, Scope of Practice (SOP)

Research Center: Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center

August 1, 2016

As demand for greater and more diverse behavioral health care services increases, expansion of occupational scopes of practice (SOPs) has been suggested as one mechanism for enhancing workforce capacity. SOPs that are uniform for a given occupation across states, and complementary across behavioral health occupations, may help ensure that a full range of mental health and substance use disorder services are authorized and easily accessible for patients.

This policy brief explores SOPs for 9 behavioral health occupations, comparing similarities, variations, and gaps in provider authority.

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