What is a state license?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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In addition to municipal license requirements, each state has its own system of licensing and its own restrictions, whether you work for yourself or for someone else. Typically, licensing is required:

for those businesses or professionals that go through extensive training before practicing, such as lawyers, physicians, nurses, accountants, dentists, teachers, or

before carrying on a particular trade or business, in order to protect the environment and consumers from fraudulent activities and unsafe products or services. Real estate agents, restaurants, bars, insurance agents, pawnbrokers, peddlers, cosmologists, private investigators, and mechanics are representative of this group, to name a tiny fraction.

Some state licenses require approval by accrediting organizations, certifying boards, and/or special testing. Licenses may be issued for a limited period of time; completion of continuing education courses or re-testing may be required for on-going renewal. In addition, some states require registration and licensing as a revenue measure.

To find out what the licensing and registration requirements for the business or profession you have in mind, call or write your state department of commerce, commerce affairs department, or comparable agency for information.

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