Connecticut law defines a “license” very broadly, encompassing any agency permit, certification, approval, registration, charter, or permission granted by law. A professional license can go a long way in a certain field of work or industry, and is often required in others. Those that have a professional license may have had to spend a significant amount of time and money to get that license. Professional licenses often require a person to go through specialized training and education and put in a certain amount of working hours, before doing it as a career.
Types of Professional Licenses
There are a wide range of professional licenses, and they are broken down into several categories. Here are some of the categories of professional licenses:
Healthcare licenses: Physicians, nurses, psychologists, chiropractors, pharmacists, EMS workers, veterinarians, dentists.
Trade work licenses: These licenses are for plumbers and electricians, pipefitting and technicians, sheet metal working, and well drilling.
Service industry licenses: Service industry licenses include massage therapists, barbers, aestheticians, bartenders.
Licenses for working with certain people: Teachers, social workers, occupational therapists, correctional officers, lawyers, hypnotists.
Construction and architecture licenses: These licenses could include manufacturing and dealing bedding and furniture, operating cranes and machinery, electric work, elevator work, home improvement contracting, home inspection, interior design, landscaping.
Sales licenses: Sales licenses could include the sale of controlled substances, medical marijuana distribution, food and beverage selling, lottery sales, liquor permits, real estate.
Community protection licenses: These licenses include fire protection.
Sports and recreation licenses: Recreation licenses could include health clubs.
Each state is in charge of having agencies and departments that oversee different fields of work and oversee those that have professional licenses. These agencies set the standards of requirements for receiving and maintaining a license. Sometimes the requirements include exams, a degree, training course, intern hours, and more. The agencies oversee licensees and ensure that holders are held responsible for violating the law or the procedures that are required to follow in a particular field of work. These agencies are also responsible for granting requests for licenses.
Professional Licenses in Connecticut
One agency that oversees professional licensing in Connecticut is the Department of Consumer Protection. This agency has several divisions. One of those divisions is specifically dedicated to investigating complaints and allegations that are made. Another division is responsible for generating standards that must be met in particular fields, such as selling food. Divisions will have to maintain specialized forms that outline procedures to follow and requirements to adhere to in order to maintain a professional license without running into trouble.
On the CT.gov website, there is information provided on how to avoid mistakes that could lead to disciplinary action regarding your professional license. Major things that you want to be aware of and avoid are frauds and scams, identity theft, insurance issues, prescription errors, being cautious about posting online, and publication violations.
The ways in which one can acquire a professional license varies from state-to state. In some cases, like certain medical licenses, there is a nationwide federal exam. Depending on the field of work, one may have to put in anywhere from hours to years completing student or intern work. Some licenses require mandatory schooling, others may require certain training courses. The requirements of professional licenses are also constantly changing over time. Whatever the case may be, each license requires hard work, dedication, and time, but the benefits could be great.
Rights and Privileges
There is a distinction between rights and privileges. A granted professional license is in most cases considered to be a property interest that is vested in the person. Licenses are not typically something that one would consider a piece of property like land or a car, but the law treats them as such if the government wants to take them away from you after you have gotten licensed. These licenses are property rights because of the opportunity that it gives the holder to work and make a living. Rights are activities that the state may not exclude(like freedom of speech and freedom of association, or ability to vote for most) and those that hold a license are entitled to what is called due process if the state wants to remove your ability to have, hold, or use a license.
Due process is the right to notice and a hearing before that license can be revoked. Privileges, unlike rights, are activities that the state can choose to give you. Licenses are a property right that the state cannot just revoke without specific procedures. In most cases, licenses are overseen by various agencies and departments within the state. In each department, there are boards that are composed of members of that particular field.
Losing a Professional License
One thing that is consistent across all licenses is that automatic suspension can occur whether or not the particular license is a right or a privilege. That is, suspension of a license is always justified based on the need to take swift action before a hearing can take place. In other words, if it is found that a holder of a professional license did something to violate the rules for holding that license, the license can be suspended as a reprimand or suspended until there is a revocation hearing, if the license is considered to be a property right.
Part of an agency’s duties is to have boards that receive complaints against licensees for various violations. Many allegations made against licensees do not lead to any action, however, if a board feels that it is necessary to take action, they may launch an investigation. Investigations are meant to give the board more information on what the complaint is alleging. The investigation may require a licensee essentially becoming an open book and handing over documentation, video surveillance, client information, and more. After an investigation, the board may choose to go forward with a hearing to evaluate all the evidence and the licensee has a chance to defend against the allegations. Even if a hearing before a board has a negative result, there is still the opportunity to appeal the decision.
If you have found yourself in a difficult position with the status of your professional license, you may have many fears running through your mind. Your license is something that you have worked hard for. You have dedicated countless hours toward achieving your license and using it to make a living. Understandably, this can be a scary time for you, and having support through it can help you feel more secure and prepared.