What Is a Professional License and Why Are They Important?


Do you want to advance in your career at a faster pace? Do you want employers to be confident in your abilities? Consider obtaining a license to supplement your education or work experience so you can meet the criteria you need to land your dream job!

What is a professional license? Is it different than a certification? Take a look at the importance of professional licensure and what it means to be licensed.

What Is a Professional License?

A professional license is a document that gives you legal or official permission to have a certain job or perform a certain activity within a field. It means you have special training and knowledge.

Professional licensure gives you the credentials you need by state or federal law to practice in certain regulated fields. Even if it’s not required for the job, having one shows advanced management and leadership skills that help you stand out above the rest.

Occupations that always require them:

  • Chartered Engineers
  • Chartered Accountants
  • Lawyers
  • Doctors

Required in some states:

  • Land surveyors
  • Teachers
  • Nurses
  • Cosmetologists
  • Electricians
  • Building Contractors
  • Counselors
  • Therapists

Find out if your occupation of interest requires a professional license in your state or if a license is possible. They’re out there for everyone from midwives to private investigators!

Certifications vs. Licensure

A license is different than a certification in that a license is required by law and you can only earn one from a state agency. The process of obtaining both are quite similar, and the biggest difference is in the legality.

For those with nursing licenses, for example, you’ll want to have a nursing license defense attorney if you run into any problems.


You can earn professional certification through an educational institution or a professional organization. These are not required, by law, to work in any field.

Both certifications and licenses demonstrate a specific level of skill or knowledge to be proficient at a certain job. Both of them are time-limited, so they need to be renewed at certain time intervals.

Renewal of both is mandatory and will keep you up to speed on any changes in the field. It’s also done for your professional development.


Licenses will give you permission from your local, state, or federal agency, to practice in fields regulated by the government. This practice originated in the United States Constitution and is done in the interest of public protection.

Professional licensing assures that an individual has gained the education, experience, and other requirements to perform the job at the highest level. It also assures good moral character and competency for safe and effective practice in certain professions.

There may be certain penalties for violating professional licensure laws and may differ depending on the state in which you’re practicing. There are many types of professional licenses.

Benefits of Obtaining a Professional License

Getting a license will help you gain recognition. It proves that you’re committed to learning and self-improvement. Some advantages licensed include:

Competitive advantage

It will help you stay ahead of your competitors. You’ll stand out when looking for a job or a promotion. Anything you can do to seize advantages is a good idea in today’s job market.

Higher Potential Income

Increase your earning potential right from the start. Get hired at a better position and look forward to much better raises than you would have gotten otherwise. Just remember to keep renewing that license and you’ll advance quicker.

Importance of Licensure Examination

These examinations are important because they ensure the standards are being kept. You’ll want to take these seriously in order to keep your job. Getting your license is only the first step.

A Professional License Is a Virtual Necessity

So now you know the answer to your question, “What is a professional license?” You have the tools to dig deeper into the research and to assess whether it’s important to have one in your field going forward.

Having the right credentials from the beginning is the best thing you can do to save yourself time and energy when looking for that dream job. Advanced knowledge and training will equate to less work for the employer as well. It means less training.

If you liked this article, read more in our Finance and Law section!


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