New Survey: Consumers Concerned About Rush to Eliminate Professional Licensing

A national survey by The Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL) reflects wide support for maintaining rigorous professional licensing standards for professions that have a clear impact on public health, safety and welfare.

The alliance says West Virginia and other state legislatures are considering broad proposals to overhaul or eliminate state licensing requirements.

“An overwhelming, bipartisan majority of the American people understand that professional licensing is rigorous for good reason and they want to keep it that way,” says Skip Braziel, a member of the ARPL, who also serves as the AICPA’s vice president for state regulatory and legislative affairs. “Consumers want to know that the professionals they hire are qualified and as this survey makes clear, voters want to see responsible licensing protected.”

Some survey results, according to ARPL:

  • 75% of voters believe that it is important to ensure qualifications for professionals in certain industries. A majority of voters believe that current professional licensing requirements protect the public and should not be reformed.
  • More than 70% of voters believe that regulating professionals in accounting, engineering, architecture, landscape architecture and related fields with high impact on public safety and welfare is important.
  • 71% of voters believe professional licensing should be required unless it can be proven that eliminating licensing will not have a negative impact on public health and safety. The public is wary of the alternative approach: requiring licensing only when it is proven necessary for health and safety.
  • 67% of voters believe that consumers are best protected by a system that regulates education, examination and experience standards ­– all of which are overseen by a professional licensing board.

ARPL is an coalition of professional organizations and their licensing boards to inform policymakers and the public about the benefits of licensing. Members of ARPL include the AICPA, NASBA, American Institute of Architects, American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, National Society of Professional Engineers and National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.