Governor Wolf to Examine Overhaul of Pennsylvania’s Professional Licensing System

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf has signed an executive order to begin a review of the commonwealth’s professional licenses to benchmark Pennsylvania’s licensing requirements against national and regional averages. The review will ensure that professional licenses are free from unnecessary barriers to opportunity from excessive licensing requirements, fees and policies that unnecessarily block hardworking Pennsylvanians from the career of their choice, while also protecting against public harm.

“Requiring a license to work in certain jobs helps to keep all of us safe, but those requirements should be fair relative to other states in our region and across the country,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Overly burdensome requirements and fees can block some workers – especially minorities or spouses in military families who move frequently – from starting a career and supporting their families.”

“With this executive order, I am tasking the Commissioner of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs within the Pennsylvania Department of State. The commissioner will work with the various licensing boards and commissions to give them the tools they need to more efficiently regulate their industry.”

The commissioner will partner with the 29 boards and commissions in Pennsylvania to study each board’s licensing process, fees, training and continuing education requirements. The commissioners will prepare a report comparing Pennsylvania’s requirements with other states in our region and across the nation and include any reciprocity agreements with other states.

The Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs within the Pennsylvania Department of State provides administrative and legal support to professional and occupational licensing boards and commissions. Approximately 20 percent of Pennsylvania workers need a license to do their job. The share of workers with an occupational license has grown rapidly since the 1950s.

“We need to find the right balances in our licensing requirements so talented and skilled workers can do their jobs and support our economy as we continue to attract business to Pennsylvania and develop a strong workforce,” said Governor Wolf. “Looking for ways to modernize our licensing process for workers is an important part of that process.”

The boards and commissions included in the executive order are the State Board of Accountancy, the State Architects Licensure Board, the State Board of Auctioneer Examiners, the State Board of Barber Examiners, the State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers, the State Board of Chiropractic, the State Board of Cosmetology, the State Board of Crane Operators, the State Board of Dentistry, the State Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists, the State Board of Funeral Directors, the State Board of Landscape Architects, the State Board of Massage Therapy, the State Board of Medicine, the State Board of Nursing, the State Board of Nursing Home Administrators, the State Board of Occupational Therapy, the State Board of Optometry, the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, the State Board of Pharmacy, the State Board of Physical Therapy, the State Board of Podiatry, the State Board of Psychology, the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors, the State Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, the State Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers, and Salespersons, the Navigation Commission, and the Real Estate Commission.

The commissioner’s findings will be submitted to the governor within seven months from the effective date of the order.