Occupational Licensing in the US

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Occupational Licensing; US Trends

Petitioning licensing boards, turning to license apps, and using evaluation service reports are some trends related to the market for occupational licensing in the US.

Petitioning Licensing Boards through Order of Limited Relief

  • The availability of Order of Limited Relief has made it easier to obtain or validate occupational licenses. More states are embracing legislation that bars licensure boards from automatically rejecting applications based on factors such as criminal history alone. In Alabama, for instance, applicants through SB 163 can petition state courts for an Order of Limited Relief. Other states such as Maryland and Illinois have also passed HB 22 and HB 2670, respectively, which clearly define mitigating factors in statute and providing that those mitigating factors may not be used to bar licensure directly.
  • Today, seventeen states including Arizona, Idaho, and Iowa have made it easier for applicants to apply and renew their occupational licenses. With the help of Order of Limited Relief, even ex-offenders in these states can petition a licensing board at any time, on state websites. More so, applicants can look upon these websites to confirm if they are eligible for licensure before enrolling in any training, to confirm if their record qualifies or not.
  • While the trend to petition licensing boards begun in 2017, it was not until 2019 that more than 25 states and the federal government enacted a wide array of independent laws to bar laws limiting ex-convicts in occupational licensing. Even Congress endorsed the removal of laws limiting applicants with criminal records from applying for occupational licenses, thus making these licenses available for most Americans across different states. The new laws have transformed the licensing landscape and increased opportunities in regulated professions for thousands of applicants as over 25% of all jobs in the US require a government-issued license.

Occupational Licensing Apps

  • Occupational licensing apps are becoming popular by the day. These apps help applicants to establish and determine clear guidelines for licensed professions, from the comfort of their phones. Through these apps, applicants have managed to counter complex processes and cumbersome bureaucracies that come with manual documentation. The apps have also made it easier for licensees to understand and follow the requirements for applying or renewing their licenses, and gain more work experience while at it. By eliminating the manual processes, licensees continue to enjoy automated workflows, intelligent routing, and speed applications.
  • Through the licensing apps, occupational licensees are saving time that would have otherwise been wasted through labor-intensive paper-based license applications and renewals. More so, the apps have minimized data errors that tend to be rampant during manual paper applications, as well as save on costs. The occupational licensing apps also help applicants renew their licenses automatically, and help them stay updated or on track. The licensing apps have also made it easier for applicants to keep records electronically as well as prioritize and review submissions.
  • Licensing apps have helped applicants to validate their licenses as a renewal notice is sent to clients a few months before the expiration date. The notice explains to the applicant how to access the renewal application online and how to complete the application process. Applicants are often required to log-in to their accounts, answer some questions, and key in their credit card details to pay the renewal fees. In some instances, applicants may be asked to submit their documents. Renewal and audit notices are only sent via email. As such, applicants must always update their contact information so as not to miss their renewal and audit notices.

Using the Evaluation Service Professional Report to Validate Licenses

  • Applicants are running their licenses through platforms such as Credentials Evaluation Service (CES), which are highly and widely accepted verification tools. In this case, applicants are in a better position to weigh their credentials and assess the competency of licenses, especially of foreign-educated healthcare workers and nurses. Applicants may use evaluation service reports to verify or test the validity of their licenses, merits, and credentials to gauge their chances of finding professional opportunities in the US. Some vital documents that can be verified through such platforms include secondary school information, licenses, registrations, diplomas, and professional education information.
  • Applicants are using evaluation platforms such as CES to gauge the validity of their licenses before applying for employment. Foreign applicants moving to the US for job opportunities are particularly running their licenses through such services, to obtain an evaluation report, get an expert opinion on what is needed to get fully accredited or licensed in the US. Such platforms have proven to be a valuable asset for providing information on where to get the right credentials and training to qualify for occupational licensure.
  • Evaluation service platforms are helping applicants save time and money when looking to validate their licenses. These platforms are being used to yield a report that helps applicants gauge if they are viable for a license, where and how to get it, and if their qualifications fall short, they are guided on where to get the right training. Evaluation service platforms may ask for authenticated documents directly from the respective institutions and in some cases, applicants are asked to submit the documents for verification.

Research Strategy

In the course of our research, the research team could not find any quantitative data to back-up whether and how people having occupational licenses store or validate them through apps or paper scans. We browsed through various sources including federal, state, and local government websites with no success. We, therefore, applied qualitative data to provide analysis of this research.

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