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For years, professional associations and regulatory boards lacked hard data that demonstrated the value of licensing. In 2020, the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL) sought to fill that information gap by commissioning Oxford Economics to help better understand the nuanced impacts of licensing on professions and trade and vocational occupations. 

Valuing Professional Licensing in the United States, published this month to responsiblelicensing.org, includes a number of key findings: 

  • Across all professions and occupations, licensing is associated with a 6.5% average increase in hourly earnings, even after accounting for the job holder’s educational attainment, gender, and racial demographics.
  • Among professionals in technical fields requiring significant education and training, a license narrows the gender-driven wage gap by about one third and the race-driven wage gap by about half.
  • Those in trade and vocational occupations can expect a 7.1% hourly wage increase after becoming licensed, while those in a profession requiring advanced education and training can expect a 3.6% wage increase after becoming licensed. 

Marta Zaniewski, VP for State Regulatory and Legislative Affairs for AICPA, summarizes the findings well: “Licensing impacts professions, occupations, and populations differently and is a clear driver of higher wages and stronger economies… These critical insights must be acknowledged as part of any thoughtful consideration of licensing policy.”

What Should You Do?

This report will be an important asset in our advocacy and communications efforts in 2021 and beyond. To that end, ARPL has created a central communications resource (https://bit.ly/3thWyDW), providing tools and resources to help you leverage the report and its findings in your efforts on the ground: 

  • Full research report, executive summary, and key findings one-pager
  • Key messages and talking points
  • Template social posts (for you to borrow and customize)
  • Social graphics to enhance your social posts

ARPL will also be hosting a live webinar on February 24, 2021 at 3:00 PM ET. ARPL will review findings and conclusions of the report and share new strategies for lawmaker outreach. 

Lastly, I urge you to visit the ARPL website at ResponsibleLicensing.org and follow ARPL on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn at TheARPL. Please contact John Johnson at jjohnson@nasba.org if you have any questions or would like additional information.