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New Licensure Law Expands Opportunities for Professionals Moving to PA

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of State announced that a new law now in effect will  provide greater flexibility for individuals with professional and occupational licenses from other states and countries who wish to become licensed to practice in Pennsylvania.

"Act 41 of 2019 will help people with professional and occupational licenses granted elsewhere, to obtain the Pennsylvania licensure they need to continue their careers in the commonwealth," Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. "For example, this law will be especially helpful for members of the military and their spouses who frequently move from state to state but often find it difficult and time-consuming to obtain licensure in their new state."

The General Assembly passed the measure with overwhelming bipartisan support and Governor Wolf, who has championed licensing reform, signed it into law on July 1.

Most of the 29 licensing boards and commissions under the Department of State's Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs already have reciprocity and endorsement procedures for consideration of applicants licensed in another state, territory or country.

Act 41 will allow boards to consider, on a case-by-case basis, applications that do not meet the current requirements for licensure by endorsement or reciprocity. Such consideration will examine whether the applicant holds a license in a state or country that imposes standards substantially equivalent to Pennsylvania's requirements for licensure. The license must be in good standing and the applicant must be able to demonstrate competency in their occupation or profession.

Boards also will have the option of issuing provisional licenses to applicants who do not initially satisfy all of Act 41's requirements. If granted, a provisional license would allow the applicant to practice their profession for a limited time while they fulfill additional requirements.

Under the new law, applications for endorsement and reciprocity through the Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS) will also be considered under the provisions of Act 41.

The licensing boards and commissions have 18 months, until Feb. 28, 2021, to develop and implement regulations and procedures for processing applications under Act 41. In the meantime, application review subcommittees for each board will consider whether out-of-state or foreign licensees meet the standards for reciprocity, endorsement or Act 41. The subcommittees will then make their recommendations to the boards. On average, the licensing boards meet every eight to 12 weeks to act on licensure applications.

"Professionals with occupational licenses from elsewhere who don't meet existing requirements for licensure by reciprocity or endorsement now have another avenue for pursuing the license they need to practice their profession in the commonwealth," Secretary Boockvar said. "Ultimately, that's good for the Pennsylvania economy and for Pennsylvania consumers."

For more information on Act 41, visit the department's website.


MEDIA CONTACT:  Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621


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