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Professional License Verification: Everything You Need to Know [2023]


If your business relies on licensed professionals whose services are key for your company’s operations and focus, comprehensive professional license verifications should be included as a critical part of your pre-employment screening process.

In fact, did you know that the American Bar Association reports that 2,872 lawyers were subjected to public discipline in 2018 alone?

Professional license verifications can help you ensure that your candidates have current and valid licenses to perform the work they are being hired to do.

At iprospectcheck, we provide medical, dental, and nursing professional license verification and other fields that require specific licenses, including truck drivers, CPAs, attorneys, engineers, and teachers, so we’re quite familiar with how to conduct license verification searches.

To help you understand the importance of professional license verification, we have written this guide about what you need to know about this important component of employment background checks.

Let’s get started.

What is Professional License Verification?

When you have open positions that require people to have professional licenses to perform the work, making sure their licenses are current and active is important.


Because if you fail to adequately check the status and validity of a candidate’s professional license or credential, your company could be exposed to penalties and substantial liability.

In today’s environment, people are increasingly mobile and may have lived in multiple states and jurisdictions. Only checking the status of a candidate’s license with your state’s agency or board may not reveal problems the candidate has had in other jurisdictions with his or her license.

A professional license verification involves contacting the board or agency from which the applicant’s license was issued as well as checking other jurisdictions in which he or she has previously lived. This type of report will provide the following types of information:

  • Type of license
  • Certificate number
  • Issuance date
  • Expiration date
  • Any disciplinary actions and sanctions
  • Whether the license is valid and current

Obtaining these types of information directly from the issuing source is critical when your company hires people to perform work that requires licensure.

Why is Professional License Verification Important?

Professional license verification is a critical component of the pre-employment screening process. If you simply visually inspect a candidate’s license instead of checking with the state, that could result in exposure to liability.

Some of the reasons why verifying your candidates’ professional licenses are important include the following:

  • Licenses can be forged.
  • Reporting and documentation requirements vary between states.
  • Some states only require voluntary reporting of criminal convictions or disbarments.

Professional license verification with iprospectcheck can allow you to obtain information about an applicant’s history in every state in which he or she has lived or has been licensed. This can help you to secure a comprehensive picture of an applicant’s history, so you can make informed hiring decisions while protecting your company and clients.

What Type of Licenses Should You Verify?

Many different professions require professional licensure or certificates. When your company hires for a position that requires a license or certificate, you should request a professional license background check.

While this is not an exhaustive list, some of the types of positions for which license verification should be completed include the following:


Doctors must meet stringent licensing requirements in every state. Only people who hold valid and unexpired medical licenses are allowed to practice medicine. Simply having a medical degree from a respected medical school does not mean that a candidate is licensed to practice medicine.

An OIG search allows you to see whether an individual has been excluded from participating in the Medicaid or Medicare programs. However, this search won’t reveal external criminal conviction information that has not been reported to state licensing boards, registries, or lists.


Similar to physicians, dentists are required to sit for a dental exam after completing dental school to obtain licensure. State boards of dentistry frequently use regional or state agencies to administer exams and issue licenses before a dental graduate can practice dentistry.


After graduating with advanced degrees, psychologists must complete a couple of years of supervised practice before they can apply for licensure and certification.

License and credentials verification can help to ensure a candidate has met the requirements and has obtained full licensure to practice as a psychologist.

Nurses and Nursing Assistants

Nurses and certified nursing assistants are required to secure licenses post-graduation from accredited certifying bodies. Holding an LPN, RN, or BSN is not a substitute for appropriate licensure. Boards of nursing normally grant licenses to nurses.


Veterinarians must complete professional school after their undergraduate studies. Before they can practice veterinary medicine, they must also take an exam and pass other criteria to receive licensure. Like other professions, the licenses for veterinarians are issued by state-level boards.


Operating a large commercial truck requires additional training and licensure beyond what other drivers must obtain. Truck drivers must obtain commercial driver’s licenses and keep them in good standing to legally operate commercial vehicles.

Companies can face stiff penalties if they negligently fail to verify the status of their drivers’ CDLs and whether they have the required additional endorsements for what they will be hauling.

Delivery Drivers

Like truck drivers, some delivery drivers also require CDLs. Verifying the status of a delivery driver’s CDL and ensuring that employees keep their CDLs in good standing can help to protect your company from potential liability.


Chauffeurs who transport passengers are required to have chauffeurs’ licenses to perform their jobs. A company can be exposed to significant liability if an employee does not have the required license and is involved in an accident while transporting people.


Certified public accountants (CPAs) must pass professional exams before they can obtain their certifications. Only people who have passed the exams and have received certification can call themselves CPAs.

Since CPAs regularly deal with accounts and other people’s sensitive data, verifying the status of their CPA licenses is critical for protecting your company and clients.


After graduating from law school, people must take and pass the bar exam and ethics exam before they can legally practice law. Bar exams are given by the state bar under the supervision of the supreme court of each state. Some states have reciprocal agreements with others while others do not.

Social Workers

Licensed social workers (LCSW) must complete around two years of supervised work before they can sit for an exam and obtain licensure. Verifying the license status of an applicant for an LCSW position should be a standard part of your onboarding process.


While not every state requires plumbers to be licensed, some states do. There can also be local ordinances requiring licensing for plumbers. At iprospectcheck, we keep current with the licensing requirements in different states and localities to ensure our clients are protected.


Like plumbers, some states do not have licensing requirements for electricians. However, many cities and counties do have requirements in place, and some states also require licenses.

Verifying an applicant’s license status as an electrician helps to protect the safety of your company’s clients and your bottom line.


Barbers are required to have licenses in every state in the U.S. These licenses normally require an average of 1,500 hours of education, a year or more of experience, and two exams.

Ensuring that the barbers you hire have active and valid licenses can protect your business from liability.


While most states do not require bartenders to be licensed, 13 states do. In those states, bartenders must go through a short course and pass an exam.

Ensuring that the people you hire meet your state’s licensing requirements can help you to avoid fines and penalties within your state.


Architects must complete undergraduate degrees and pass exams before they can be licensed.

Verifying that an architectural candidate has the required license can help to protect your company from lawsuits.


For an engineer to become licensed, he or she must complete a minimum of four years of undergraduate studies and a Bachelor’s degree. Engineers must then work under supervision for four years, pass two exams, and apply for licensing within their states.


Since pilots transport passengers and goods in planes, they are required to complete stringent licensing requirements before they are allowed to fly.

Ensuring that an applicant has a current, unrestricted pilot’s license is critical to protect the safety of others and your company.


Cosmetologists have similar licensing requirements as barbers in every U.S. state. They must complete a minimum number of hours of education, undergo supervision, and pass exams to obtain their licenses from the state.

Massage Therapists

Massage therapists are required to be licensed in most states. To obtain their licenses, they must undergo a minimum number of hours of education, pay a fee, and pass an exam.


Teachers are required to be licensed and certified in every U.S. state. Before people can teach, they must pass their state’s board exam and must not have certain types of criminal convictions on their records.

How Do You Conduct a Professional License Verification?

Whenever your company is hiring for a position that requires a professional license, you should conduct a professional license verification. You can verify a professional license with the agency that issued the applicant’s license. While some of these records might be available online, others require you to send your request by mail, email, fax, or telephone.

Trying to look at these types of records online can place your company at risk. You might not discover disciplinary records against the license holder or find information about the current status of the person’s license. You might also not discover incidents that could impact the person’s license, including criminal convictions and issues that might have happened in other jurisdictions.

The best method of verifying the licenses and credentials of your prospective employees is to work with an experienced and reputable background check provider like iprospectcheck.

We have access to current and reliable databases to find relevant information for your clients in every state. This can help you to ensure you are hiring the right candidates who are fully qualified.

How Long Does it Take to Verify a License?

How long it might take you to verify a candidate’s professional license will depend on how you perform the verification process. In some states, it can take a few weeks for you to receive the information about a candidate’s professional license.

If you instead partner with iprospectcheck, you can receive the background information you need quickly. Our resources and extensive access to databases allow us to return reports in as little as a few hours.

iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Professional License Verification Services

Whenever you are hiring people to perform work that requires a professional license, it is critical for you to verify the status of the license and to check for any previous discipline. This type of information can help you to make better hiring decisions while protecting your company and your clients.

Most companies do not have the resources or time available to complete comprehensive professional license verifications. When you work with iprospectcheck, you can benefit from the speed and accuracy of the information we report.

At iprospectcheck, our employees undergo rigorous training to ensure that they understand the laws that govern background checks and can quickly uncover and analyze relevant information. We base our services in the U.S., which helps us to protect the security and confidentiality of your sensitive data.

To learn more about the services we offer, contact iprospectcheck today for a free consultation.

Know Before You Hire

About the Author
Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers is a highly accomplished business executive with over 30 years of experience providing strategic vision and leadership to companies ranging from the fortune 500 to iprospectcheck, a company which he co-founded over a decade ago. Matthew is a valued consultant who is dedicated to helping companies create and implement efficient, cost effective and compliant employment screening programs. Matt has been a member of the Professional Background Screeners Association since 2009 . When not focused on iprospectcheck, he can be found spending time with his family, fly fishing, or occasionally running the wild rivers of the American west. A lifetime member of American Whitewater, Matt is passionate about protecting and restoring America’s whitewater rivers.