Regulated professions in the United States are licensed at the state level, and most licensed professions require some formal postsecondary education or training as a prerequisite for entry. The competent authority for recognizing professional qualifications is the appropriate state or territorial licensing authority in the jurisdiction where one intends to work.
The information presented below should not be considered exhaustive, and it is important to always consult state licensing boards and professional associations for the most timely and authoritative guidance.
Interstate Licensure Reciprocity
Since professional licensure is regulated at the state level, it is generally necessary to obtain a separate license for each state in which one wishes to practice. In some instances, reciprocity agreements are in place to make it easier for someone who already holds a license in one state to obtain a license in another state. However, the degree to which such reciprocity exists can vary widely depending on the profession and the states involved. State licensing boards can provide detailed information on the existence of any reciprocity agreements they have with other states.
Licensure vs. Certification
Although some states occasionally use the term “certification” to refer to licensure, the term “licensure” generally refers to an official process, administered by a state-level authority, that is required by law in order for an individual to practice his or her profession. In most instances, the term “certification” refers to a function administered by a nongovernmental organization, which is intended to further recognize professional competence based on having met the quality standards of the organization. The prevalence and relevance of certification varies by profession.
Licensure Information, by Profession