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Job may call for licensing or certification

When researching your new profession or occupation, it is important to find out whether you will be required to obtain a license or certification in order to work.

Some occupations are licensed by federal regulatory agencies. For example, airline pilots are licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Many positions are licensed through state agencies and boards – such as fitness trainers, lawyers and nurses – while some occupations require registration or certification through organizations, such as lifeguard certification through the American Red Cross.

What is the difference between having to register, certify or obtain a license in certain occupations? The definitions are often blurred, as is the case with registered nurses. Although “registered” is in the occupational title, registered nurses are in fact licensed by the state.

All of these terms are used interchangeably, sometimes incorrectly. The Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) uses the following definitions:

  • Registration: The least-restrictive form of occupational regulation, usually taking the form of requiring individuals to file their names, addresses and qualifications with a government agency before practicing the occupation. This may include posting a bond or filing a fee.
  • Certification: The state grants title protection to persons with certifications. Uncertified individuals may practice the same or similar job duties, but specialized titles are reserved only for individuals who have the related certification.
  • Licensure: The most restrictive form of professional and occupational regulation. Under licensure laws, it is illegal for a person to practice a profession without first meeting state standards. (

A link to New Mexico’s licensed occupations can be found on the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions homepage at under the “Job Seeker” heading at the top of the page. The licensed occupations page includes the state agency responsible for issuing the license, registration or certification, as well as the address, phone and fax numbers, and a link to the regulating agency.

This webpage includes hundreds of occupations, with more than half licensed through the state’s Regulation & Licensing Department.

For example, if you are interested in becoming a speech-language pathologist, the NMDWS licensed occupations page will provide a link to the Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology & Hearing Aid Dispensers Practice. There you can begin researching the licensing process in New Mexico.

In addition to looking at the licensed occupations page, you can click on the regulating agency and look up the licensed employers and facilities. This might help you find employers around the state or in your area when you begin looking and applying for a job.

You also can look up employment projections, wage information and education and training requirements. This information is available through the New Mexico Workforce Connection site by clicking on the “Labor Market Services” button. You can also access labor market information through the website.

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