LTE: Be careful with broad-brush approach to occupational licensing reform
Point of View: Be Careful with broad-brush approach to occupational licensing reform
By: Tricia H. Hatley, President, National Society of Professional Engineers
“States need to cut licensing red tape permanently” (Point of View, Sept. 9) describes a push to weaken occupational licensing nationally. However, proponents failed to acknowledge the daily and invaluable contributions of licensed professionals to Oklahomans.
Efforts to weaken licensing, however well-intentioned, make no distinction for highly complex, technical professions. This is a critical distinction that broad-brush proposals like those referenced in the article fail to make — and puts thousands of lives at risk in Oklahoma and elsewhere.
Professions like engineering, architecture, accounting, landscape architecture and surveying are responsible for the safety of our physical spaces and the integrity of our financial systems. Because of this, they are required to meet rigorous standards based on education, experience and examination to demonstrate a minimum qualification level.
These working Americans create and maintain our most vital and valuable infrastructure systems. Oklahomans expect their buildings to have been designed and built to code and that structures can withstand the severe environmental hazards facing our communities. They assume vehicles will be able to safely traverse our interstates with appropriately sized entrance and exit ramps and bridges that can carry heavy truck loads. And they presume that informed and qualified CPAs are overseeing their financials and ensuring fiscal compliance.
Rigorous professional licensing is what makes that trust possible.
Oklahomans are rightly skeptical of broad-brush proposals that would sweep up these professions and wrongfully accuse their licensing practices as dispensable and unnecessary. It is not hard to imagine the negative repercussions of dismantling carefully developed professional licensing systems that protect the public.