Professional License Verification: Search Licensing Now in All 50 States

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | May 15, 2024

Professional license verification certificate on the left showing three categories checked off during the professional license search for four job applicants on the right with certificates above their heads as a blue magnifying glass validates licensing for nursing, construction, finance, and caregivers.

Professional License Search
Background check searches for professional license verification and employment history.

Conducting a professional license search and obtaining professional license verification is essential for moving forward in many positions.

Employers conduct these types of background screening to ensure that potential hires have the skills and certifications required for a specific profession.

Moreover, many individuals perform a professional license verification before hiring building contractors, accountants, architects, lawyers, and private educators, because a professional license check certifies that a potential employee is vetted by state and federal regulations.

This guide explains how to conduct a license verification process in all 50 states, and provides detailed steps to make it simple, accurate, and fast.

How To Run a Professional License Search All 50 States (License Lookup)

Knowing how to perform a search for nursing professional licenses and others, and how to follow the steps in the correct order is the first step to ensure maximal transparency and clarity.

What Is a Professional License Verification?

A professional license verification is a step in the background check process that ensures potential and current employees (or contractors) retain current licenses that make them suitable to perform a specific job. For example, transportation companies may require applicants for truck driver positions to include their licensing along with an MVR checking their driving record.

Graphic showing benefits of professional license verification including improved hiring process, work and experience verification and state valid licenses.

If an employer, business owner, or individual fails to verify a person’s license, they can be held liable if something happens, such as an injury, accident, property damage, or theft.

A professional license search typically includes:

  • Type of license
  • Certificate number
  • Issue date
  • Expiration date
  • Disciplinary actions (if any)
  • License Validity

The purpose of obtaining a professional license for multiple job occupations and verifying the credibility of this license is to identify forged licenses, check reporting documentation in other states to verify the background of the individual, and check for any criminal convictions.

How To Run a Professional License Search in Each State

But how does someone run a professional license search? In most states, all the individual has to do is conduct a professional license verification with the agency that issued the applicant’s license.

Although some professional license verification checks can be done online, other checks must be done via mail, fax, or phone.

Every state has a government-supported webpage that can be used to check professional licenses.

For example, employers can use the professional license search in Alabama to verify a new job applicant.

Step 1: Go to AREC License Search link below.

Step 2: Choose to either ‘Search License Verification on the Commission website’ or ‘Search International database on ARELLO website’

Step 3: For those who chose the Commission website, they can input one of the following:

  • Licensee Name
  • Company Name
  • License Number
  • Advanced Search: First and Last name, License Number, Company Name, County, Education Type, License Status

Step 4: For those who chose the ARELLO website (International Database), they can input one of the following:

  • Search by Licensee Name: First name, Last name, Jurisdiction
  • Search by License Number

The following table provides license verification lookup links, which can be used to determine if a professional retains a valid state certification.

StateState Board License Verification Lookup
AlabamaAREC License Search
AlaskaProfessional License Search 
ArizonaRegistered Professional Search – Arizona State Board
ArkansasASBN License verification Arkansas Department of Health
CaliforniaDCA License Search CA gov
ColoradoVerify a Colorado License
ConnecticutLicense Lookup eLicense
DelawareLicense Look-Up
GeorgiaSec. of State Brad Raffensperger
HawaiiDCCA Professional & Vocational Licensing Search
IdahoIdaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses
IllinoisLicense Lookup IDFPR Online Services Portal
IndianaPLA Online Services: Free Search & Verify
IowaPublic License Search – Iowa Board of Professional Licensure
KansasLicensure Search
KentuckyLicense Verification
LouisianaLicenses – The Official Website of Louisiana
MaineLicensee Search Professional and Financial Regulation
MarylandDivision of Occupational and Professional Licensing
MassachusettsCheck a professional license
MichiganLARA Verify a License State of Michigan
MinnesotaMinnesota Department of Labor and Industry
MississippiList or Verify Professional Licenses 
MissouriListings of Boards – Missouri Division of Professional Registration
MontanaDLI Record Search
NebraskaLicense Information System Search
NevadaLicensing Nevada Secretary of State
New HampshireVerification – Licensing Home – NH gov
New JerseyLicense Verification – NJ Division of Consumer Affairs
New MexicoVerify a License NM RLD
New YorkVerification Searches – Office of the Professions
North CarolinaLicense Verification
North DakotaNorth Dakota State Board of Registration
OhioLicense Look-Up eLicense
OklahomaLicense Search
OregonLicense Lookup: Public Resources: State of Oregon
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Licensing System: BPOA
Rhode IslandLicense Lookup & Download – Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation
South CarolinaSC LLR
South DakotaLicensee Roster – South Dakota State Website
TennesseeLicense Search and Verification
TexasSearch / Verify Licenses or Projects
UtahLicense Lookup Verification –
VermontFind a Professional – Vermont Secretary of State
VirginiaLicense Lookup – Virginia Department of Professional
WashingtonLicense Lookup 
West VirginiaSearch – West Virginia Board
WisconsinCredential/License Search – Wisconsin DSPS
WyomingLicense Lookup

What Professions Require Professional Licenses?

There are numerous professions that require professional licenses. Thirty percent of the workforce requires a license.

The most common jobs include teachers, surveyors, lawyers, cosmetologists, nurses, doctors, electricians, therapists, counselors, and contractors, but there are many others jobs that require a professional license.

Image screenshot of the article titled 'Will I need a license or certification for my job?' on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

(Image: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics4)

Individuals applying for an open position in one of these fields (as well as international positions) must first obtain a license by demonstrating they meet the standards for the occupation, such as completing job-specific training, passing tests that indicate a high level of knowledge, and understanding work policies and procedures. The following terms are general, because each state has its own requirements.

  • Cosmetologist — Requires 3-9 months of education, two exams, and $116 in fees.
  • Security guard — 25+ years old, three years of training, and $200 in fees
  • Auctioneers — two exams, two years of education, optional apprenticeship, and varying fees ($15 to $650 depending on the state)
  • Contractor — Government-issued license, 1+ year of experience
  • Accountant–Certified Accountants must pass a series of tests to be granted their professional license
  • Designer — Six years of education and apprenticeship
  • Travel agent — fees from $15 to $375

If someone is considering earning professional certification, it can be helpful to know what certifications end up paying the most in the long run for the specific career.

  • Sales — A sales certification can make it possible for an individual to earn a spot in a higher-paying position, by earning a certification like the Challenger Sales
  • Software — the CCNA or ACA can help a software engineer be more valuable and well-rounded
  • Project management — Securing a certification adds value to a resume and can qualify a person for a higher-up position in a company.

One of the most common positions that will need a professional verification search is nursing.

In every state, a Board of Registered Nursing holds the most recent information regarding a person’s specific RN license. It allows employers to use the board of nursing license lookup to verify the credentials in a nursing credential validation before hiring an individual. Individuals in the nursing industry must obtain the proper education, licenses, and pass a healthcare worker background clearance to begin work.

Why Search State Gov’s Professional’s License?

Each state provides detailed information on professional licenses. This tool can be helpful for a number of reasons.

Although other resources can provide someone with more in-depth information, like paid and free-of-cost criminal record searches, the state government’s professional license lookup is quick and easy to do online.

For example, Indiana offers a free website that allows employers or individuals to search and verify all professional license holders in the state of Indiana. All searchers have to do is complete the following steps:

Step 1. Go to the official Indiana State website

Step 2. Click on ‘Get Started’ under Search & Verify

Step 3. Input the necessary information to begin the web lookup and verification

  • Profession, License Type, Attribute Type
  • License Number, License Status, Doing Business As….
  • First and Last Name
  • Address

Instead of having to browse records on their own or use paid services, many employers can use the free government websites to type in the known information about a person (i.e., name, address, license type) and find more information regarding their credentials.

Individuals may also use a specific government website for a profession.

For example, those in Tennessee can use the Contractor’s & Home Improvement website to verify a contractor’s license before hiring.

Employers can use the TN Contractor’s license lookup via the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance to renew a license or verify a license, and there are many other divisions to search, based on the profession.

How Long Does It Take for License Verification?

The time frame for the license verification check will depend on the specific state and the license in question. To check a professional license, individuals must use an online government website for the particular state or use a paid background check service to see a person’s credibility in an industry.

Before an employer or organization can run the state board license verification check, they should ensure they have the essential information to begin the search, including the license number of the individual or business, the first and last name of the licensee, the type of license, and the address of the business or individual. Without them, the search will be stalled.

Image screenshot of professional licensure on the International Affairs Office website.

(Image: U.S. Department of Education5)

For example, individuals in Hawaii can request a license verification using the online government system. The requesting agency or the individual will be able to obtain information regarding the license date, expiration date, status, name, address, disciplinary sanctions, and other information pertaining to the specific license holder.

A request for the Hawaii lookup can be made online, which is quicker, or through the mail, which requires the fa $15 fee. For the mail-in requests, the time frame is approximately 20 days for the verification report.

My License Verification (License Lookup)

When conducting a personal license verification search, the process for license lookup is the same for employers.

Simply navigate to the state where the license should be held and perform the search steps listed above.

The key benefits of doing a professional license check include:

  • Ensuring that potential employers will be find an up-to-date license
  • Verifying that the license has not expired
  • Expediting the hiring process

Therefore, although the time it takes to conduct a professional license verification can take up to 3 weeks in some states, it is well worth the effort and the time invested.

Using a professional license verification and professional license search is arguably the best way to determine if a potential employee has the skills, as well as the state and federal certifications required to perform the job in question.

Frequently Asked Questions About Professional License Verification

Does Walmart Require a Professional License During Hiring?

Even when the position is for a specialty role such as the mechanic shop or auto service center, a Walmart staff background investigation does not typically require professional licenses to be verified.

Do Jobs at Home Depot Require Professional Licenses?

Some positions that are related to providing construction and home improvement services will require a professional license. However, the standard Home Depot worker background inquiry does not require these.


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2AREC – License Search. Retrieved from <>

3Hershbein, B. & Boddy, D. (2015). Nearly 30 Percent of Workers in the US Need a License to Perform Their Job: Is it Time to Examine Occupational Licensing Practices. Brookings EDU. Retrieved from <>

4Torpey, E. (2016). Will I need a license or certification for my job? Retrieved from <>

5Professional Licensure. International Affairs Office. Retrieved from <>

6Occupations Licensed or Certified by New York State. Department of Labor. Retrieved from <>

7Verification. Indiana Government. Retrieved from <>

8Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. Retrieved from <>

9How to Check a Professional License. Retrieved from <>

10Request for a License Verification. Retrieved from <>

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