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ABC State Licensure Handbook

January 2015


Rationale for State Licensure

  • A traditional reason for pursuing state licensure is to standardize regulations for training and educational requirements throughout the state. While ABC supports integration of ABC certification requirements with state license requirements, the most compelling reason to pursue state licensure is the recognized need for uniform statewide requirements.
  • The pursuit of state licensure can be a defensive strategy, motivated by the concern that if an incident should trigger legislators to proceed on their own, the O&P profession will have little or no influence on the legislation. In the fast moving world of state politics, an event such as a high profile charge of malpractice/fraud or changes in the Practice Acts of physical and occupational therapists, athletic trainers and other allied health practitioners can lead to undesirable state licensing laws literally overnight. The best defense against unwanted licensing is a good offense that proactively puts in place appropriate licensure requirements.
  • Many altruistic individuals in the O&P profession cite improving professionalism as the number one reason for the pursuit of state licensure. They are correct. Statewide requirements that include minimum standards for education and training cannot help but improve both the image and the actual performance of licensed practitioners.
  • A combination of the points stated above lead to another goal of pursuing state licensure, leveling the competitive playing field throughout the profession to protect the public interest. Ensuring that the education and training standards for O&P professionals protect the public from the harm that can be caused by unscrupulous persons or companies. It is less expensive in the short run to not license professionals, but this may be detrimental to the public and in the long run, to the O&P profession. Protections such as those provided through mandatory education, training, examination and licensure are precisely the job of state government.