by Paul J. Bruder, Jr.
Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered a review of the professional licensing process to examine whether costs and procedures in Pennsylvania are consistent with those in other states. Wolf signed Executive Order No. 2017-03, which authorizes the Commissioner of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, an office within the Department of State, to compare Pennsylvania's professional licenses against national and regional standards. This could affect a large number of various professions, from real estate, construction-related professions, and medical and dental professions, to name just a few. While only 20 percent of Pennsylvania workers need a license to engage in their profession, the number of workers with an occupational license has grown rapidly since the mid-1900's.
Commissioner Ian Harlow's role will be to work with the state's 29 boards and commissions to evaluate each one's licensing process, fees, training and continuing education requirements. The commissioners will prepare a joint report for submission to the Governor, which compares Pennsylvania's requirements with other states in the region, and across the country.
"Requiring a license to work in certain jobs helps to keep all of us safe, but those requirements should be fair relative to other states in our region and across the country," Wolf said. "Overly burdensome requirements and fees can block some workers – especially minorities or spouses in military families who move frequently – from starting a career and supporting their families."