With the transition to online license application and renewal processes accelerated by the pandemic, states must consider how best to manage third-party verification in online licensing systems. Most states with such systems do not allow applicants to upload documents. Instead, documents must be provided by institutions of higher education or verified by a national association. In rare cases, applicants can upload a document signed by a school official as proof of completed education requirements.
“Primary source verification” (PSV) refers to verification of an individual’s reported credentials and qualifications through the issuing organization or governmental entity or through a designated equivalent source (i.e., an approved agent designated to maintain official credential information). Methods of primary source verification include direct correspondence, such as a documented telephone conversation or facsimile, email or letter. Obtaining original documents is not necessarily equivalent to primary source verification (communication with the original source through the applicant or his or her agent is not primary source verification).
As technology continues to become more sophisticated, more organizations will automate PSV processes. In a recent study, 83% of healthcare organizations have fully or partially automated the PSV process. Primary sources increasingly provide internet portals and/or web access for credentials verification, making the process more efficient. As part of the automation process, organizations may outsource PSV to a third-party. Credential Verification Organizations (CVOs) conduct PSV of practitioner credentials for other organizations.
Credential Verification Organizations (CVOs):
Some software interfaces with higher education institutions to automatically confirm the education requirements. For example, Michigan uses the software Accela, which interfaces with continuing education providers to automatically retrieve credentials and validate education requirements. Additionally, some state licensing boards are members of national associations that collect and maintain education and work experience for their member states. For example, Connecticut’s Architectural Licensing Board is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registrations Board (NCARB). The applicant notifies the appropriate association to provide the individual’s record to the state. Then, the state board can securely access NCARB’s database to download records. See the table below for examples of state boards and their methods of third-party verification.
|California – Board of Accounting (CBA)
|CPA License Online Application
|Sent by institution – applicant must request transcripts be sent to the CBA
|Connecticut – Architectural Licensing Board and State Board of Landscape Architects
|Iron Data Solutions
|Sent by national association
|Florida – Barbers
|Uploaded by applicant but must have signature of school official on portion verifying minimum education requirements
|State of Illinois | Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (idfpr.com)
|Uploaded by applicant
|Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
|Interfaces directly with institutions to verify education credentials
|New Mexico – Counseling
|Exam scores sent by national association, other documents uploaded by applicant
|Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing
|Sent by institution – either sent online by institution or provided in a sealed envelope
|Vermont Office of Professional Regulation
|Dependent on profession: sent by national board, institution or uploaded by applicant
|Audiologist Apply Online :: Washington State Department of Health
|Sent by institution
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