Occupational Licensure

Summary: Many states are addressing the topic of occupational licensure in a variety of ways.
Legislation has been introduced that would:

  • Require oversight of actions by state licensing boards to ensure there is no anti-trust or anti-competitive actions. As a result of the Supreme Court decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission [PDF] many states are passing legislation to ensure they can invoke state-action antitrust immunity by subjecting their licensing boards to active supervision by the State. In light of this decision, the Federal Trade Commission has issued staff guidance on active supervision of state regulatory boards controlled by market participants [PDF]. These guidelines will likely be used in future FTC interpretations of suspected state regulatory board antitrust activities. In light of these actions, states have been active in trying to reform their regulatory boards to fit within the Supreme Court and FTC guidelines.
  • Require professions to be regulated by the least restrictive means. Backed by model legislation from the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian public interest law firm, these bills would require states to periodically review occupational licensure and regulate professions from the least restrictive to most restrictive manner starting with market competition and ending in licensure. In between, are suggestions including third-party or consumer created ratings, private certification, government certification, or registration.
  • Require individuals who are not associated with our professions to oversee changes to the scope of practice or to perform a periodic review of the practice act. In some cases, legislative efforts have attempted to reduce the number of audiologists and/or speech-language pathologists who serve on the licensure board that governs the professions. Both of these models would weaken the capacity of a board to understand the issues facing the professions and the scopes by which they abide.
  • Prohibit professionals from identifying themselves as holding a professional certification like CCC-A or CCC-SLP. This language may be detrimental to voluntary certifications that are not required to practice an occupation in any state but demonstrate an individual’s professional knowledge and competence in a field.

Talking Points
Member advocacy outreach and talking points. 

Issue Brief [PDF]
ASHA's position and advocacy strategy with decision makers.

Sample Letter [PDF]
For drafting your own communications to decision makers.

Sample Bills

Nebraska LB 299 [PDF]
Requires the standing committees of the Legislature to annually review 20% of occupational regulations and recommend which regulations should be terminated, continued or modified. Requires occupational licensing boards to use the least restrictive method of regulation, including market competition and third-party or consumer created rating and reviews to government certification and occupational licensure.
Oklahoma SB 1475 [PDF]
Creates the Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission to conduct a review of each occupational or professional licensing act in the state once every four years and make recommendations to the Legislature.
Missouri HB 1500 [PDF]
Requires occupational licensing boards to use the least restrictive method of regulation, including bonding or insurance to certification and occupational licensure.  Defines certification as a government granted non-transferrable recognition.
Tennessee SB 1217 [PDF]
Authorizes commissioners and chief executive officers of administrative departments to evaluate certain actions by a regulatory board to determine whether the action may constitute a potentially unreasonable restraint of trade

ASHA Corporate Partners