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Journal of Rural Mental Health





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There is a need to recruit and to retain behavioral health providers especially when providers are moving from the provisional licensing status to a full licensure status. This study estimated the rates of conversion of provisional licenses to full licenses among provisionally licensed psychologists, mental health practitioners, master social workers, and alcohol and drug counselors (ADCs) in Nebraska and examined potential associations among demographic characteristics and license conversion rates. Nebraska’s behavioral health licensure data (2009–2019) was obtained from the Health Professional Tracking Service (HPTS) program that was established as a joint effort between Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Human Services Office of Rural Health and University of Nebraska Medical Center. The rate of conversion from provisional to full license during the most recent years ranged from 44% for ADCs to 75% among social workers. Compared to individuals of older age, individuals of younger age are more likely to convert among ADCs (p = .0028). Moreover, compared to individuals living in urban areas, rural practitioners are more likely to convert among social workers (p < .0001). With behavioral health problems on the rise across the country, it is urgent that behavioral health professional shortage areas begin to close the workforce gap. Increasing conversion rates from provisional to full licenses will be a part of this solution.


©American Psychological Association, [2022]. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. The final article is available, upon publication, at: