- A pair of bills filed in the Florida legislature would permit recognition of occupational licenses from other states, subject to certain requirements.
- The legislation also allows a state board to issue licensure if a candidate fulfills sought experience standards based on work in another state or service in the military.
- Business advocates in the state, including Americans For Prosperity – Florida, praised the bills for removing unnecessary restrictions and opening opportunities for professionals moving to Florida.
A pair of bills filed by Sen. Jay Collins and Rep. Traci Koster would allow employers to recognize occupational licenses from other states, based on the training or testing requirements a licensed applicant has already completed.
Under the pieces of legislation, a state agency, board, or department would be granted the right to issue industry licenses pending the satisfaction of several requirements, including good standing in the worker’s state of origin. The recipient of a Florida occupational certification would be required to have held an equivalent license in their previous state for at least one year.
In the bill’s purview, a state board would also be permitted to issue licensure if a candidate fulfills sought experience standards based on work in another state or service in the military.
“In Florida, we welcome all Americans who come here to live, work, and play,” said Collins. “In that same spirit, if you’re licensed where you came from, you can keep your license and continue that work here.”
In order to satisfy the proposed work experience requirement, an individual would need to have worked in a state that does not use an occupational license or government certification to regulate an occupation for at least 3 years.
The legislation can potentially serve as a tinder for recruitment in the education and medicine industries, as the state faces ongoing critical shortages. Vacant teaching positions in Florida have risen 21 percent compared to the year prior and more than 200 percent since 2018, according to the Florida Education Association (FEA). Similarly, the Florida Hospital Association conducted a survey of its member institutions last year, finding an alarming Registered Nurse turnover rate of 25 percent. The organization projects a deficit of 59,100 nurses in Florida by 2035.
“Licensed, and trained professionals do not lose their skills or forget their training when they move to Florida,” said Koster. “It’s imperative that we continue to allow these professionals to practice their profession when they move to our state. By sponsoring HB 1333 we will reduce red tape and ensure that these workers have a clear pathway to licensure as they build their new lives in Florida.”
The filed bills drew praise from a series of business advocates within Florida, including Americans For Prosperity – Florida, which claimed that the measure will remove restrictions on individuals moving to the state.
“Many hardworking Americans have spent a great deal of time, and money, earning their occupational licenses in a career field to then move to Florida and lose progress as Florida, by law, currently doesn’t recognize licenses, training or testing progresses from another state,” said Americans For Prosperity – Florida State Director Skylar Zander. “Our country’s workforce is becoming increasingly mobile, and professionals have more and more choices about where they’d like to build their lives and careers. This important legislation will remove unnecessary restrictions and open opportunities for many Americans who hope to call Florida home – whether they’re barbers, manicurists, school bus drivers, or others.”
Florida was the fastest-growing state in 2022 in terms of domestic migration, with an annual population increase of 1.9 percent, according to state data.