What Students Need to Know About Professional Licensure

Many students attend colleges and universities to earn a degree that prepares them for a specific field: to become a doctor, nurse, teacher, psychologist, engineer, or one of the many other occupations regulated by state and/or other government entities. States and other government entities have established standards of practice for the occupations or professions they have chosen to regulate, and they provide legal permission to practice those professions only to individuals who meet those standards. This is called professional licensure: professions for which people need to meet certain criteria in order to practice in that field.

Confirm Your Program Meets Professional Licensure Requirements

Before enrolling in an online/distance education program intended to satisfy a particular state’s educational requirements for the practice of a particular occupation, students should be assured by the institution that the program actually does meet the requirements of the state in which he or she intends to practice. SARA institutions are required to provide related disclosures; institutions that participate in federal student financial aid programs must meet similar federal requirements.

What Does SARA Do for Professional Licensure?

SARA does not address professional licensing board approval for programs leading to state licensing in fields such as nursing, teacher education, psychology, etc. However, in alignment with federal regulations, SARA does require that SARA participating institutions provide proper notification to students as to whether courses and programs will meet the professional licensure requirements in states where students are located.

The Professional Licensure Directory

NC-SARA also has created and maintained the Professional Licensure Directory, which provides contact information for five programs that lead to a professional license. These programs have the most enrollments per the data provided by SARA participating institutions.

  1. Counseling
  2. Nursing
  3. Psychology
  4. Social work
  5. Teacher Education

This resource does not house regulations or requirements; it is exclusively general contact information. Students may find this contact information helpful in their research on state licensure requirements in their locations. NC-SARA updates the contact information twice annually.