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Why Licensure Matters: New York's Licensed Professions

In 1891 medicine became the first profession licensed by the New York State Board of Regents, a citizen body that presides over New York's unified system of education--The University of the State of New York. Licensure in many professions followed, as the Legislature sought to protect the public's health, safety, and welfare.

Today, the State Education Department, under the direction of the Board of Regents, oversees the preparation, licensure, and practice of over 900,000 active practitioners in more than 50 professions. Licensure is typically built on a strong foundation of education requirements, experience in practice, and profession-specific examinations. Public protection is further enhanced by the State boards for the professions and a system of professional discipline supported by experienced investigators, prosecutors, and legal experts.


5 Reasons Why Licensure Matters:

  1. Licensure sets standards to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
  2. For many professions, licensure is required to practice in New York. Likewise, certain jobs can only be done by licensed professionals.
  3. Licensure sets competency standards in each profession.
  4. Licensure provides a way to remove professionals from practice when they harm the public.
  5. Licensure may allow for greater career advances and earnings.
verify a license checked on a laptop screen


The State Education Department is one of many agencies that licenses, certifies, or registers individuals in New York State. The New York State Department of Labor maintains a comprehensive list of licensed occupations and the State agency that oversees them (e.g., the Department of State, the Department of Health, and others).

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