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How do I get a Vocational License?

Obtaining a vocational license involves completing a vocational or trade program in your chosen field, passing any required exams, and applying through your state's licensing board. It's a rewarding process that opens doors to specialized careers. What vocational field are you considering?
Ken Black
Ken Black

The requirements for getting a vocational license will often be very different, depending on your local state or jurisdiction, and the type of job you are interested in. The first thing to do is to check for the agency in charge of issuing the license and the requirements for the license. Some may require you to pass a test, have experience or a certain minimum number of educational hours or credits. Some states may not require any vocational license at all for certain jobs.

In order to apply for a vocational license, check with the governmental agency in charge of the licensing. Some jurisdictions or states have a professional licensing division that will handle all types of vocational and professional licenses. Others may leave the licensing up to a particular governing entity. For example, physicians and nurses may be licensed through a state's medical licensing board, rather than a general state licensing board.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

If you need a certain amount of education, the licensing application packet or accompanying documents should detail all of those mandates. If you have already achieved the education requirement, then you will likely be required to include proof with your vocational license application. Transcripts, official or unofficial, may also be required.

A vocational school could offer you an advantage when it comes to receiving a vocational license, even if a formal education is not required. Often, these schools will spend a great deal of time preparing you for the test, and then helping you fill out all necessary paperwork for the license. This may make the tuition and time investment worth it, especially if the application process is confusing or seems overwhelming to you. Before choosing a school, it is important to make sure it is accredited and accepted by your licensing board.

If a test is required, it is up to you to register for the test and prepare accordingly. Some tests may be offered on a walk-in basis, but many will require you to register for a certain testing date before a deadline. If you miss that registration deadline, it may be months before the test is offered again. A schedule of tests and deadlines for registration is often found on the licensing board's Website, or you may call the agency in charge for that information.

Once you get your license, there may be certain things you must do to keep it. Very few licenses last indefinitely, and many will come with continuing education requirements. It is up to you, as the license holder, to understand these requirements, and to make sure that they are met before renewal takes place. Some may also demand that you actively stay engaged in your chosen profession.

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Discussion Comments


i would like to take a class to in licensed vocational nursing. i would like to take in hospital because you attend class and work and this makes it more helpful. thank you.

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