Professional Licensing:
Rigorous for a reason
Responsible Licensing Matters
Protects the Public

Professional licensing ensures a baseline level of proven qualification and expertise, which helps protect the public from unqualified practitioners. Licensing is particularly important for highly complex, technical professions whose work impacts the health, safety and welfare of the public. Weakening or eliminating licensing for these professions is irresponsible, and the risks are significant. Responsible licensing matters and must be protected.

Creates Opportunities

Professional licensing creates a defined pathway for professionals based on verified expertise. It helps level the playing field by removing subjectivity and setting clear, objective levels of qualification. It also establishes a consistency of qualifications within professions that makes it possible for professionals to move from state to state and maintain their careers: because standards are consistent, states can trust the underlying quality of the license. Weakening or eliminating licensing for highly complex, technical professions would undermine these systems and hinder professional mobility nationwide. 

An Important Distinction

Anti-licensers often point to licensing issues within an occupation such as hairstyling to argue for the wholesale weakening of licensing across all professions and occupations.

There is a critical difference between occupations and highly complex, technical professions that are responsible for the integrity of our infrastructure, public spaces, and financial systems. These high-impact professions rightly require rigorous licensing, including high standards for education, examination, and experience. 

The public instinctively understands this key difference, which is why nearly 75% of voters want licensing protected for professions that are entrusted to protect our health, safety, and welfare.   

One-size-fits-all licensing “solutions” are dangerous and don’t work because all professions and occupations are not the same. Anti-licensers may refuse to acknowledge this fact, but lawmakers who are responsible for protecting their constituents should not. 

Licensing for highly complex, technical professions must be protected.

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 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?

There is an aggressive effort across the country to weaken or eliminate licensing for all professions and occupations. These proposals would downgrade and eliminate critical necessary qualifications without regard to the impact on consumer protection and public safety ramifications and without honest consideration of the differences between occupations and highly complex, technical professions. In fact, some proposals would even eliminate requirements for relevant education and experience.

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

Responsible licensing is important and it can be done well. Licensing done right protects the public and helps professionals advance in their careers. Responsible licensing systems that effectively serve the public and professionals should be emulated, not eliminated. The solution to broken occupational licensing models is to fix the broken ones, not to destroy all of them. 

ARPL represents professions and licensing boards with more than 100 years of combined experience creating responsible licensing models that work for everyone.