Professional Licensing:
Rigorous for a reason

As lawmakers debate the extent of licensing needed for many jobs, the health, safety, and welfare of the public must be considered. Highly complex and technical professions rightly require rigorous and ongoing education, examination, and experience.

Responsible Licensing Matters
Keeping the Public Safe

Professional licensing protects the public by ensuring a baseline level of proven qualification and expertise, which helps protect consumers from unqualified practitioners. This is particularly important in highly complex, technical professions where consumers do not have the specialized knowledge needed to evaluate qualifications and performance.

Helping Professionals Grow

Responsible professional licensing creates a defined pathway for professionals based on verified expertise. It helps level the playing field by removing subjectivity and setting clear, evenly applied levels of qualification. Licensing also establishes consistency of qualifications within professions so professionals can move from state to state and continue practicing.

An Important Distinction

Professions such as engineers, surveyors, architects, landscape architects, and certified public accountants (CPAs) are responsible for the physical and fiscal integrity of buildings and financial systems. They design and build public and private institutions, and ensure the accuracy of business, personal, and public financial records, audits, and tax filings. They are granted a high level of public trust and directly impact public safety. These professions must master extensive, complicated codes and laws and are responsible for certifying compliance, quality, and integrity of work. This responsibility rightly requires rigorous and ongoing education, examination, and experience.

Certified Public Accountants

Certified Public Accountants, or CPAs, are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of complex business, personal, and public financial records, audits, and tax filings in our interconnected global economy.

Architects

Architects design our built environment, from state capitol buildings and schools to hospitals to Olympic stadiums.  The safety of the building occupants, as well as those nearby, depends on the verified expertise of the architects.

Professional Engineers

From bridges, roads, and buildings to biotechnology and autonomous vehicles, the public depends on professional engineers to perform their jobs at the highest level. An engineer's license establishes consistent standards to which engineers must be held, protecting the safety of the public.

Professional Surveyors

Professional surveyors help determine maps and boundaries that are used to establish land use and ownership. As users of cutting-edge technologies and equipment like robotic total stations, retroreflectors, 3D scanners, digital levels, subsurface locators, and drones, it is critical that surveyors have proper training through education and licensing.

Landscape Architects

Landscape architects create well-planned, livable communities through science and design, leading initiatives such as neighborhood master plans, stormwater runoff systems, parks, campuses, and cutting-edge transportation corridors.

Why Now?

Several states have introduced legislation that would severely weaken or eliminate licensing standards entirely. These bills make no distinction for highly complex, technical professions. Some proposals would even remove the requirement to have relevant education and experience in a profession. 

The carefully structured systems in place to ensure engineers, surveyors, architects, landscape architects, and CPAs are qualified could be dismantled. The licensing standards for professionals responsible for the sound design and safety of our public and private spaces and integrity of our financial systems would be treated the same as the standards for occupations that have significantly less impact on public safety, trust, and welfare.

Licensing Done Right Works
Let's fix the problem — not create new ones.

Professional licensing needs to recognize and keep pace with the needs of increasingly mobile professionals and the modern economy. Responsible professional licensing should also be responsive professional licensing that helps facilitate licensing and reciprocity across states, making it possible for professionals to move from one state to another and have their license acknowledged.

ARPL members have led with responsible licensing models that ensure the education, experience, and testing necessary to protect the public while also providing individuals with:

  • Clear career paths
  • Consistent and evenly applied licensing requirements across the profession
  • Mobility and opportunities to maintain careers across different states