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What do I need to know when renewing my professional license or certification?

Every state occupational licensing board requires a license holder to renew that license on a regular basis.  Renewals are typically made every one to two years, depending on the board.  The date for that renewal is often different; some boards renew on the license holder’s birthday, some at the end of the calendar year and others on specific dates throughout the year.

Doctor Checking a Form

Here are a few things to keep in mind to when preparing to renew a license or certification:​

  1. Know when you need to renew and put it on your calendar.   Many boards have moved away from sending reminders to license holders or may send only one reminder.  Unfortunately, many license holders miss their deadline for renewal resulting in practicing their profession without a license.  This is generally grounds for disciplinary action to be initiated against the license holder.

  2. Make proper disclosures.  Renewal applications generally will ask for information regarding events that occurred from the last renewal date to the deadline for the upcoming renewal.  Be sure to carefully read all questions on a renewal application to determine whether or not a disclosure is required.  For instance, a license holder may be asked about investigations or administrative actions taken by other states.  An out-of-state board investigation may have been disclosed during the last renewal cycle, but the investigation continued into the new renewal cycle, or administrative action may have been taken in the matter after the last renewal.  In such circumstances the out-of-state action most likely will need to be disclosed depending on the language of the questions on the renewal application.  Also, don’t assume that an out-of-state investigation that closed with no action doesn’t require disclosure.  Again, make sure to read the language of the renewal carefully.

  3. Don’t assume your Continuing Education credits won’t be audited.  Many licensing boards now simply require a license holder to attest that they have completed the continuing education units required for license renewal.  Never attest that you are in compliance unless you truly are.  Most boards will randomly audit CEUs and if you have attested to compliance but are short units, you may be deemed to have renewed your license by false or misleading information which could result in the initiation of discipline action.

  4. Beware of third-party renewal submission.  If you practice your profession in a setting in which a third-party staff member or credentialer is responsible for preparing renewal applications, ensure that individual has all updated information required to submit an accurate renewal application.  You will be attesting to the accuracy of the information provided and if there is an omission or incorrect information provided, you will be held responsible.

The key to having as smooth a license renewal process as possible is to renew early (when possible), read all questions carefully, and make proper disclosures.

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