Occupational Licensing Made Easier for New Residents

Two states take a bite out of occupational licensing by allowing reciprocity.


Arizona has led the way by granting reciprocity for out-of-state licenses. Arizona will grant a license “to new residents who were licensed for at least one year in another state, so long as their credentials haven’t been revoked, they’re not the subject of any pending investigation, and they don’t have a disqualifying criminal record.”


Pennsylvania has now joined Arizona in granting reciprocity.  “Licensing boards in Pennsylvania are now required to issue occupational licenses to those who have met certain criteria, rather than asking established professionals to complete a new set of state-specific requirements,” noted Heather Curry, who serves as the Director of Strategic Engagement at the Goldwater Institute. Under the law, individuals must able have a “comparable state license or certification in their field, be in good standing without any disciplinary actions, and not have committed any actions which might warrant refusal of a Pennsylvania license.” In addition, if additional requirements need to be met under the license, then a provisional license will be granted until the individual fulfills all necessary obligations.


Reciprocity is an important component of any occupational reform, but it also needs to be combined with a comprehensive review process that includes both sunsets and sunrise provisions for all occupational regulations. Occupational licensure should not be a roadblock for individuals trying to earn a living and a vigorous review process should be a legislative requirement.


Pennsylvania’s recent reform is a victory for economic liberty.