The Professional Licensing Guides are written for professionals trained outside the U.S. and now residing in a U.S. state where they wish to earn a license for the same field. The purpose of the guides are to make the information about licensing easier to understand.
What is a regulated profession?
Regulated professions are strictly controlled by state law to protect the public interest. Each state can have different criteria for licensing. Licenses or credentials are normally earned through a combination of education, exams, and experience, and include documentation and sometimes a significant amount of time and money to receive. Some examples: nurses, lawyers, and public accountants are regulated in the U.S.; business managers and university professors are not.
What information is in the Guides?
The Guides include the following sections:
- How the Profession Is Organized: an overview of the field in the U.S. and your state
- Eligibility for Licensing: your licensing process broken into simple steps
- Tests: information about required professional exams
- Time and Costs: scenarios that show a range of time and cost that licensing can require
- Other Careers and Credentials: a quick view of alternative or interim positions or credentials
- Beyond Licensing: maintaining your license; joining professional associations
- Important Links: links to official sources of licensing information: state and federal agencies, credential evaluators, testing agencies, and others
- Licensing Map: a simple visual map of major licensing steps
- Tips: suggestions for a smoother licensing and job search process in your field
- Common Words: simple definitions of terms used in the article
- Reference: a list of abbreviations used in the information
The Guides do not discuss:
- Immigration status or visa sponsorship
- English language level, exam costs or strategies
- Opportunities to take exams internationally
- Getting a second U.S. license based on an existing license from another state
- Licensing processes for graduates of Canadian or other non-U.S. universities that may have U.S. accreditation
- U.S. degree programs for people who want to go back to school or change careers
These are important subjects but are not included in the goals of the Professional Licensing Guides.
What States are included in the Guides?
Currently the guides have information for 10 careers in Illinois, California and New York. We will continue to add more states in the future. If you need information for a different state, please visit our list of State Resources which provides links to the official state websites for professional regulation.
Why were the guides created?
Upwardly Global created the Professional Licensing Guides in 2009 in partnership with the State of Illinois to help address an information barrier to licensing. Each state has different regulations for professional licensing, and the presentation, quality and accessibility of this information can vary widely. The guides allow for an ordered approach to each profession and state, with information and advice that speaks directly to the unique needs of foreign-trained professionals, and more clearly maps out the pathways to licensing or to interim and alternative careers.
How can I get more help rebuilding my career?
Upwardly Global offers works with skilled immigrants and refugees who are trying to rebuild their careers in the U.S. and overcome barriers to professional employment. We provide job search and career preparedness and training through our Job Seeker Services Program. Learn more about the program and find out if you are eligible.
Get started using the Licensed Professions Guide now.