With credentialing required — or at least advised — for hundreds of occupations, it's difficult to list them all. Here are some of the most popular occupations that require a license or certification:
Licensing requirements for teachers vary by state, but most include coursework and student teaching requirements. Some states may issue a provisional license if you have a license from another state. This lets you teach until you're able to obtain a license in your new state. You can find more information about transferring your teaching credentials at:
- National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) administers an agreement that helps teachers transfer their credentials within the organization's member states. Click on Interstate Agreement.
- Department of Defense (DoD) schools overseas accept teaching licenses from any state or territory as long as the teaching categories are marked on the license. Click on Teaching Categories and Requirements. For DoD schools within the United States, a provisional license may be issued as long as the teacher holds a license from any state or territory.
Health care professionals
For many health care jobs, licensing or certification is a requirement. In some cases, licensing is required if you practice in a health care setting, but may not be in other areas, such as a school.
- Nursing. All states require licensing for Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). Some states recognize licenses issued in other states, but each state board has different procedures. Many states participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows nurses to practice in member states without recertifying. Visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
- Physical therapists. All states require licenses for physical therapists, but not necessarily for physical therapy assistants. Visit the American Physical Therapy Association.
- Medical transcriptionists. Although most states don't require licensing or certification, visit the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity for more information about the voluntary designation of Certified Medical Transcriptionist.
- Physician assistants. All states require a license, but the requirements vary. See the National Commission on Certification of Physician's Assistants.
- Emergency medical technicians and paramedics. All states require some type of license or certification. In many states, you must be registered with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
Other occupations for which credentials are required, or are at least recommended, include:
- Massage therapists. Many states require some type of credential for massage therapists. Visit the American Massage Therapy Association for more information.
- Social workers. All states require some type of licensing or registration, but the requirements vary. Nationally recognized agencies offer credentials that may transfer between states. The Association of Social Work Boards has information on state licensing requirements.
- Child care workers. Requirements for child care workers vary from state to state. But many employers prefer to hire child care workers who have earned a nationally recognized Child Development Associate (CDA) designation or Certified Childcare Professional designation. The National Child Care Association has more information. If you're interested in running a family child care in your home, your business may be regulated by local zoning requirements or installation housing requirements (if you live on an installation), as well as state certification requirements.
- Cosmetologists (includes hair stylists, barbers, nail technicians, and skin care specialists). Most states require licensing, but qualifications vary widely. A few states have reciprocity agreements that allow cosmetologists to transfer their licenses when they move to a different state.
- Personal trainers. Licenses are not required by the state, but many employers require some type of certification for personal trainers. Because so many organizations offer certification, it can be hard to find the best one. Ask your local fitness center for recommendations.
- Real estate agents. Real estate agents must be licensed in every state. For detailed information on a specific state, contact the state's real estate licensing commission. Even if you have a real estate license from another state, you may be required to take the classes and pay the state fee to get your license. The National Association of Realtors may provide details. (Type "licensing by state" in the search engine.)
- Paralegals. Although paralegal credentials are not required in most states, a nationally recognized certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) may offer an advantage when looking for a new job.