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Are Arizona licensing boards out of control?

For the past five years, Arizona has been moving toward easing the burden of those who wish to pursue occupations that require licensing. Licensing requirements often make it difficult for people to find work to support their families. You may have dealt with the frustrating -- and often expensive -- prerequisites your chosen profession required before its board would grant you a license.

If you sought an occupational license, you likely paid for hours of course study, intense training, testing and other obligations that may have had little to do with the job you were seeking. Of course, you will probably need to renew that license with more fees, courses or testing every few years. If you let the license expire, you may face civil fines for practicing without a license.

Taking liberties with licenses

Licensing boards exist to maintain a standard among practices that may affect the health or safety of others. For example, if you are a nurse or doctor, you are expected to adhere to statewide, or even nationwide, standards of job performance for the protection of your patients.

Recent changes, however, may set the standard for licensing reform across the country, and lawmakers and other advocates are working to open employment opportunities to more people. Governor Ducey and other lawmakers feel that the rigid regulations of some licensing boards may not be necessary, and those regulations may prevent hard-working people from starting a business or pursuing a dream.

The governor's recent executive order asks licensing boards to justify their requirements by doing the following:

  • All licensing boards in Arizona must report their minimum requirements.
  • Boards whose requirements exceed the national averages must explain why the excess is necessary.
  • Licensing requirements may exceed the national limits only if they protect the health and safety of citizens.
  • Licensing requirements may not make it difficult to obtain a license simply to keep their services in demand and their prices high.
  • Licensing boards must report how many times they denied licenses to convicted felons for reasons other than lack of qualifications.

Those submitting reports to the governor must include a list of the top 10 violations that resulted in negotiated agreements between the board and a licensee. By alleviating some of the burdensome requirements for licensing, the governor hopes to expand entrepreneurship in the state.

Protecting your career

Regardless of why you sought certification in your profession, you certainly paid your dues to earn your license, and you may dread the idea that a licensing board can so easily revoke it. While licensing boards generally work to protect the public and ensure consumer confidence, the board for your profession may not have your best interests at heart when considering any disciplinary actions against you.

If you are facing a hearing in front of a licensing board, or if you're preparing to apply for a professional license, you certainly don't want to leave the outcome to chance. You may think that, if you simply tell your side of the story, things will work out for the best. However, it's difficult to predict the outcome without the right legal preparation. By having a lawyer who is skilled in defending licensed professionals, you will have an advocate who can work to protect your license and livelihood.

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