What is a license?

The best available definition of an occupational license in use in the LMI world is that a license

  1. “Is a credential awarded by a governmental licensing agency based on pre-determined criteria
  2. The criteria may include some combination of degree attainment, certifications, educational certificates, assessments (including state-administered exams), apprenticeship programs, or work experience
  3. Conveys a legal authority to work in an occupation”

From https://www.bls.gov/cps/certifications-and-licenses-faqs.htm#difference

There are two particular points of the definition that can sometimes be at odds with the kind of licensing data available to states.

First, the requirement that there be some kind of qualification passed.  Many states have what would be more properly termed “registries” – people working in an occupation are required to submit paperwork and keep current contact information on file for the purpose of ensuring that they’re adequately insured or that they’re collecting required information or so that the state has a record of their activities.

Second, the relationship to an occupation can be somewhat hazy.  Some states may allow licensees to be either businesses or individuals.  A business may be required to certify that they have a valid license-holder of a certain type on staff.  Different industries may have different types of businesses – plumbers, for example, are often owner-operators and the license may not distinguish between businesses and individuals, while engineers more often work for larger firms and tend to be clearly licensed as individuals. Source data often doesn’t make this distinction and LMI offices may need to make a judgment call on whether or not to include a license. Similarly, individuals may be licensed for activities that may or may not be required by their employer.  Driver’s licenses are the most obvious example.  In general, if a license can’t be related to at least one occupation and be required for all or most of the people working in that field, it’s not an occupational license.

Why do I need license data?

It’s a deliverable outlined in the TEGL (attachment 2).

How often do I need to submit data?

Every two years.  If you’re uncertain of when the last time data was submitted for your state or would like to know what data is on file, please contact ARC.DEED@state.mn.us.

What occupational codes do I use?

The licxocc table is structured to allow states to use either SOC or ONET codes, but the ARC and CareerOneStop databases use only ONET codes.  If you have a choice in how to code licenses, please use ONET codes.  If submitted with SOC codes, we will convert them to ONET.

Here is some guidance on particular types of licenses that don’t neatly align with occupational taxonomies.  It’s being expanded gradually.

What goes in the licdesc field?

The description field doesn’t have a lot of structure to accommodate the incredibly varied ways that states track and license data.  If there isn’t an obvious description to include, we recommend including the requirements (exams, experience, fees, etc) of the license.

Where do I get license data?

Some states already have an agency that tracks all or most licenses.  If so, getting data from them and formatting it for submittal is all that’s required. Others get data on receipts/payments by type from agencies and sort it into license categories based on the payment titles.  Still others have LMI staff collect the data from other agencies or scour their websites to try and get a complete listing of licenses.  The ARC can pull the data we’ve currently got on file for your state into an Access form for simpler staff review to streamline the process if this is what your state does.  If you’d like us to do that, please contact ARC.DEED@state.mn.us.

How do I submit data?

Structure data for the WID – the tables license, licauth, licxocc, and lichist (if available) – should be submitted here. Please request the password from ARC.DEED@state.mn.us. Access, Excel, or flat files are all fine formats for data submission.  Please note – because of the difficulties of sending file attachments through state email systems, any direct email submissions will be confirmed with a response, otherwise it probably didn’t get through.

What happens to my data?

All individual state data is added to the ARC database of licenses.  That is shared periodically with CareerOneStop and is the source for their License Finder. CareerOneStop reports increasing interest in the data and using it for analytical purposes.