Professional Licensing: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Dr. Adam Tabriz

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From the time of evolution until the current modern age, through generations, the human being has struggled not only to preserve life but also conquer the horizons of skillful existence. Over time, every rational existence by nature has to contribute to its society, in one way or the other, and over time has had lessons learned from his ancestors then contributed by passing it along the chain of humanity onto future generations. He started the journey by means of simple hunting, farming, and crafting, propagating along with the learned unique skills through rudimentary mentorship.

Today, profession and skill have been shaped into a formal education entailing a sophisticated but organized educational system. The majority of the time he incurred positive outcomes but in some instances have writhed significant setbacks. Human being by nature has an inherent tendency to be competitive and may even go further to please that instinct by shortcutting the corners within the journey of his professional try-So, social programs were introduced under the patronage of public safety and quality assurance. Hence, the notions of certification and licensing were introduced.

The former was to set up the validity of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organization qualification to govern whether a particular individual is knowledgeable enough in a given occupational discipline so to be classified as “competent to practice” in that scope. But, licensing or occupational accrediting also called professional licensure, is a form of government guidelines requiring a license to pursue a particular profession for “compensation”.

Occupations that can have a significant deleterious influence on individuals, like physicians and lawyers, need professional licenses in most developed countries, but ample jurisdiction also requires licenses for professions without any significant negative risks, like plumbers, taxi drivers, and electricians.

Licensing creates a regulatory barrier to entry into a selected group of professions, resulting in higher wages for those with licenses and higher costs for consumers.

What are societies and boards? Board was formed to signify a group of people with the necessary skills and knowledge about a profession assigned with the responsibility to govern a particular organization, company, societies or other entities to enforce the licensing requirements. Boards sustain their own statutory requirements. Hence, the sole role is to collectively enforce privileging policies.

History and evolution of license The history of licensing reaches back to the 17th century. In contrary to what is commonly perceived, Western countries have never operated as a purely economic system in which transactions between private parties are free from government intervention (laissez-faire capitalism) such as regulation, privileges, tariffs, and subsidies. The Western monarchy monopolies, in particular, favored parties, say the colony at Virginia was founded by such a monopoly and reserved land and mineral rights for itself. Colonial and early state governments in America regulated property and the market. Licensing establishment has a historic succession. Middle age alliance classified access into distinct occupations.

The 13th and 14th centuries saw elementary forms of medical licensing in Germany, Naples, Sicily, and Spain. By the 20th century, there was an explosion in the number of occupations liable to a licensing requirement. Since 1950, the percentage of the domestic workforce in positions vulnerable to a licensing requirement has multiplied 500 percent and now stands at no less than 25 percent of the economy.

Occupational licensing is now one of the nation’s principal forms of economic regulations. Among the occupations subject to a licensing requirement are barbers, bartenders, and cat groomers which have no or minimal risk to human lives.

By definition, certification is a formal process by which an authorized person or agency assesses and verifies and attests in writing thru the issuance of a certificate the attributes, characteristics, quality, qualification, or status of an individual’s professional services is in accordance with time-honored standards.

Licensing and certification today The concept of licensing and certification has evolved from the fairness of creating some kind of quality professional standards for goods and services rendered by individuals or an entity to a more sophisticated procedure and protocols that in many aspects have had little to do with quality and more to do with control and power of sway. With the inadequate reason for doing so, the board of directors has extended licensing to other careers which by nature do not necessarily present a direct danger to society. Furthermore, has widened the scope of its intervention. Even though, the overall intent is as attractive as values determined within the specific context of the professional interaction, however, the point of this argument is beyond rhetoric, which will be clearer as we expand our discussion later in this piece.

Only to keep in mind, today disciplinary actions against a licensee are by far harsher and thresholds at an all-time low hence are important to contemplate that some professional achievements are the person’s lifetime investment, and its full-scale application is a big price paid for breaking bureaucratic dogmata.

The complex licensing system will invite bureaucracy, and some board decisions may deem accountability overkill and too costly in the individual’s life.

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Adam Tabriz is a Physician, Writer, Entrepreneur, and public health policy, expert. He is an advocate for Personal liberty. The combination of his experience and expertise underlines his passion for advocating true “Personalized Healthcare” and “Healthcare without Borders.” His favorite slogan is: “Peace of mind would come to all people through the universal respect for the basic human rights of everyone”

San Francisco, CA
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