Learn More About Professional Licenses

Although you’ve probably heard of professional licenses at some point, you may not actually know what a professional license entails. So what is a professional license?

A Measure of Knowledge

The intent behind a professional license is to let the public know that an individual has a specific measure of knowledge in a specific area. That means these licenses almost always connect to an occupation. Although it’s possible for someone to obtain a license for a hobby, many licenses require extended training, so most licensed individuals are professionals.

Depending on the exact license, different professional licenses may have certain prerequisites, making it even more obvious that an individual completed a substantial amount of training. For example, many specialized medical licenses require that the licensed individual have a medical degree. If you really want to know how much status a license confers, make sure you research the requirements first.

Required for Many Occupations

Some occupations require an individual to receive a license before practicing. In some states, for example, a nail manicurist has to pass a licensing exam before working at a nail salon. You can look up a variety of occupational requirements online, as many licensing bodies publish licensing requirements and offerings on their official websites.

Although these licenses aren’t required for every occupation, some have made it at least customary for individuals to get a license before practicing. Even in states that don’t require nail manicurists to receive a license, licensing bodies may still encourage manicurists to pass an exam to receive more credibility in the cosmetology world. If someone has a non-mandated license, it likely means that person is more invested in truly knowing more about the occupation.

Dictated by the State

Professional licensing is state-dictated; licensing laws don’t exist at the federal level. That means different states can have wildly different licensing laws, both in the required level of licensing, required amount of licensing, and even the different occupations that require a license. Some states may also have different education requirements altogether, making the licensing process essentially occur through a degree.

It’s important to note that two people holding the same license may have gone through very different training for that license. If one state requires 40 hours of training for a license while another requires 100 hours, that license may mean something entirely different than what you think it does. Always research licensing requirements in the licensed individual’s state, not your own.

What Types of Professional Licenses Exist?

Because so many different occupations require different professional licenses, there are many different tiers of professional licenses. These are the general categories of professional licenses.

Licenses for Dangerous Occupations

If someone handles dangerous equipment or products for a living, that person almost certainly needs a license in order to do so. For example, construction workers, who have to use heavy equipment and build sturdy structures, need certain licensing before starting the job. Although this licensing can vary from state to state, it usually at least covers basic safety information.

Some dangerous occupations may not strike you immediately as an occupation requiring a license. For example, many laboratory scientists take licensing classes because different laboratory studies involve dangerous chemicals and reactions. In general, anyone handling potentially dangerous products or materials will need a license.

Licenses for Sanitary Occupations

If any missteps in an occupation could possibly result in a sanitation accident, that individual almost surely needs to take a licensing class. One of the most well-known sanitation licenses is a food handler’s license, which every food worker has to have. A basic food handler’s license is pretty easy for people to obtain, but certain supervisory jobs may have additional licensing requirements.

Sanitary occupations also regard a variety of medical occupations. Sometimes these licenses overlap with licenses for dangerous occupations; for example, doctors need additional licenses because missteps could be dangerous and they have to maintain sanitation protocols. Sometimes they regard occupations that you might not think of as sanitary-focused. Nail manicurists need special licensing in some states because they work with people’s bodies.

Licenses for Other Less-Known Occupations

Because different states have such different licensing laws, those laws may not make a lot of sense from the outside. Some states require licenses you may not quite understand at first. For example, interior designers need a license in over half of the United States. This can be very confusing, but you might want to read about the licensing requirements to see why different occupations require a license.

Some licensing bodies operate nationally and offer licenses even in states that don’t require licenses, while some only operate in states that require specific licenses. When checking someone’s licenses, you might want to check what body issued the license so you can get a better idea of what the licensing process was actually like.

How Might I Use Licensing Information?

If you aren’t an employer, why would you bother looking up someone’s professional licenses? There are actually a few different reasons you might not have considered.

Check an Individual’s Credentials

First off, this is a good way to decide whether you want to visit a certain professional. If you’re going to a nail manicurist, for example, you might want one that has more professional licensing experience than others in your area. If a nail manicurist goes above and beyond to receive a more comprehensive license or a license in a non-licensing state, that might be a good sign that the person really cares about the job.

It’s a good idea to check various credentials for other people that work in the same facility as individuals as well. Does a specific nail salon in your area require that all employees receive a certain type of professional license? That salon might be more professional than another salon that doesn’t. You can weigh professional licenses in a variety of ways, so check as thoroughly as you can.

Determine Someone’s Goals and Interests

Even in a non-professional context, you may be able to understand more about someone’s interests if you look up that person’s professional licenses. A person may pursue a professional license even if it’s just for a hobby. That person might want to know even more about the hobby or just prepare for a career in the field in the future.

If the person in question doesn’t have a job in a specific field but does hold a license, it could be that the person is just waiting to move into the field. This is especially true if the person has a license in a state that doesn’t even require licensing. If the person dedicated enough time to the craft to hold a license, it’s likely that it’s a significant interest or an important goal.

Get an Idea of Someone’s Background

Going on an online date or meeting up with someone you don’t know very well? It might be helpful to look up information, including that person’s professional licenses, to get a better idea of who the person really is. Even if you don’t end up talking about the person’s career, you might be better prepared to discuss a variety of information pertinent to that person’s licensing.

You can also pair someone’s licensing information with other knowledge to really learn more and stay safe. For example, if you perform a PeopleFinders background check, you can get to know the person’s interests, contact information, general identity, and any criminal records that could influence whether you think that person is safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find professional licenses on peoplefinders.com?

If someone has professional licenses on their record, they should be accessible via a public records search at PeopleFinders.

Can I find professional licenses for free on peoplefinders.com?

Access to our professional license information is not free. Sorry.

How do I look up professional licenses?

To lookup someone's professional licenses, you can start a search by name. Then, choose to access their background information which, if available, should include a list of professional licenses.

What is a professional license?

A professional license is any official license required for a certain job or vocation, as determined by the state where the activity happens. Examples include contractor's licenses, fishing licenses, hunting licenses, medical licenses.

Who uses professional licenses?

Certain jobs where special requirements/knowledge are needed may require professional licenses proving that those requirements have been met, such as doctors, general contractors, laboratory technicians, and so on. Licenses are also required for those who legally engage in select sporting activities, like hunters, fishers, and boaters.

How do I find out what professional licenses someone should have?

While federally mandated in most cases, the state in which a person practices their occupation or outdoor hobby may actually dictate the extent of licenses required, as well as the specific requirments behind them. You want to check with state-level professional organizations and fish & game agencies for full requirements.

What is the purpose of a hunting or fishing license?

In order for someone to engage in sporting activities, they have to agree to abide by a particular areas rules & regulations regarding firearm safety, hunting in season, catch limits, and so on. Buying such a license also helps to fund upkeep and conservation of the area.

What Are Professional Licenses?