How Do Professional License Checks Work?

Certain occupations and careers require professional licenses or certifications. These requirements, usually set and enforced at the state level, are in place to ensure that the people working in specific jobs or industries are competent, suitably trained, and, hopefully, ethical and trustworthy, too.

The list of jobs that require professional licenses or certifications varies from one state to the next but typically includes doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, real estate agents, counselors, therapists, electricians, and building contractors. Employers hiring people for these types of jobs will often conduct a professional license verification as part of their vetting process.

It is not legal for a person to work or practice in a field in which licensing or certification is required unless that person holds the appropriate license or certification. By extension, it is not legal for an employer to hire a person for a position that he or she is not licensed to hold. A law firm could get in hot water if it hired someone who did not have a license to practice law in the firm’s state of operation. The same goes for hospitals hiring doctors and nurses, public schools hiring teachers, and electrical companies hiring electricians. These employers will conduct professional license verifications as part of their background checks to avoid the consequences of hiring an unlicensed, unqualified person.

Beyond the legal issues of hiring an unlicensed worker to a licensed position, employers use professional license verification checks to protect their customers, patients, students, or clients. Jobs that require licenses are often high-stakes or high-risk. Only a person with specific knowledge, skills, or experience can work these jobs without potentially bringing about dire consequences. Businesses work to avoid these consequences—and the liability and lawsuits that might come with them—by verifying licenses and certifications.

A professional license verification works much in the same manner as other verification background checks such as education verifications. An education background check involves contacting colleges, universities, and other educational institutions to verify the details on a candidate’s resume. Similarly, if an applicant claims a specific license or certification, a potential employer can verify that information by contacting appropriate state agencies and requesting a record check.

At, our education verification check not only verifies that a person is licensed or certified but also provides crucial details about the license. Such details include the issuing state or agency, the date of issuance, the date of expiration, and any honors, comments, or actions (including disciplinary actions) attached to the certification.

Any position requiring a certification should include a license and certification check. Candidates seeking jobs that require professional licenses should always expect to face this type of check. Lying about a professional certification on your resume is almost certain to yield negative consequences. Be honest and forthright and don’t waste your time applying for a job if you do not have the certifications necessary to be hired for that position.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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