Fixing the Professional Licensing Process

At Issue

Licensing and regulating more than 720,000 individuals and businesses, the Division of Consumer Affairs collects millions in licensure fees. However, most of that money is diverted to other areas of the state budget, leaving the Division with insufficient resources to modernize its operations and reduce backlogs.

An NJBIA-supported bill before the Legislature could yield significant returns for New Jersey’s business community, licensed professionals and the consumers they serve by stopping this annual budgetary maneuver and reinvesting millions of dollars in licensing revenue in Division operations.

Picture this: A state agency responsible for credentialing hundreds of thousands of businesses and individuals that operates as a self-funded, well-oiled machine. Prospective licensees and out-of-state individuals seeking to respond to myriad workforce shortages contact their respective New Jersey licensing board and are met with courteous and knowledgeable staff who direct them to digital license applications. Online systems upload applications and supplemental information and have the capacity to handle the demands of the Division’s 51 professional boards.

Consumers navigate a user-friendly website to verify a professional’s license or to submit and receive verification that their query or complaint was logged. Professional boards are fully operational without vacancies, and they process applications, schedule practical examinations, and address complaints. Collectively, the Division’s operations work effortlessly, doing their part to alleviate workforce shortages in various industries.

This is not our reality now, but it could be. Bill A-5283 would require boards within the Division to identify the national average time for approving credentialing applications, implement best practices to effectively process the applications within that average timeframe and – wait for it – reinvest its licensure fee revenue into the Division so it can process and approve applications more efficiently.

With the goal of efficiency and the available resources to get the job done, this upgrade is both undeniable and realistically attainable.

4 Ways DCA Could Use the Money it Already Generates from Licensing

  1. Quickly process applications, which will directly impact the workforce shortage by ensuring that prospective licensees are not stalled in the credentialing process.
  2. Modernize the many antiquated information and technology systems that have long been broken within the Division, allowing for greater capacity and efficiency for licensed professionals and state employees.
  3. Upgrade technology to allow for more streamlined digital processes that can make applications more user-friendly for businesses and licensed professionals.
  4. Hire, compensate and train support staff in profession-specific subject matter so that the Division can better respond to the needs and queries of the licensees they regulate and the consumers they serve in a timely, effective and respectful manner.

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