Types of Background Checks


Professional License Background Check: Detailed Guide

professional license background checks

In today’s competitive job market, ensuring the authenticity of professional credentials is paramount. A professional license background check is a crucial tool in this process. It allows employers and organizations to verify if an individual holds the necessary licenses to perform specific tasks or roles in their respective fields.

A professional license background check is a verification process used by employers and organizations to confirm if an individual holds the required licenses for specific roles or tasks in their field. It ensures the authenticity of professional credentials, protecting against fraudulent claims and counterfeit documentation.

It’s not just a piece of paper; it’s proof of their qualifications and credibility. Don’t risk your business’s reputation. Understanding the importance of license verification in hiring can save you from legal troubles and protect your business. Let’s delve into the steps of conducting a professional license check.

Understanding Professional License Background Checks

You’ll find that a professional license background check is a key tool for verifying an individual’s credentials and professional standing in their field. This verification process involves assessing the authenticity of professional licenses, the specific license type, and the issuing licensing board. Before this step, individuals might consider conducting a self background check to ensure all their credentials are in order and accurately represented.

Let’s delve into the details. The first step in a professional license verification process is to identify the license type. It’s critical to ensure the license corresponds to the individual’s profession, be it medicine, law, or engineering. Certain professions require specialized licenses, and it’s crucial to verify the alignment.

Next, you’re checking the issuing licensing board. Each profession has its specific board that grants and monitors licenses. You’re verifying that the license was issued by the appropriate board, reflecting the individual’s claimed expertise.

Lastly, you’ll assess the license status. It’s not enough to simply have a license; it needs to be active and in good standing. This involves checking if the license hasn’t expired, isn’t suspended, or revoked.

Importance of License Verification in Hiring

Building on the significance of professional license checks, it’s imperative for you in the hiring process to understand the critical role these verifications play. Here’s why:

  • Confirming Valid License: First and foremost, verifying a candidate’s license ensures they’re a valid license holder. It’s not enough to accept a copy of a license; you need to check that it’s current, valid, and matches the employment history given.
  • Investigating Disciplinary Actions: A license check can reveal any disciplinary actions taken against the license holder. This could include sanctions, suspensions, or revocations. Such actions could reflect on the candidate’s professionalism and integrity, vital factors in your hiring decision.
  • Establishing Competence: Lastly, a license is a clear indicator of meeting professional standards in a given field. By verifying licenses, you’re ensuring that the candidate has the necessary skills, knowledge, and competence to perform their job effectively.

In closing, the hiring process is a critical juncture in shaping your team’s future. Don’t underestimate the value of license verification. It’s a tool that allows you to make informed, confident hiring decisions.

Types of Professional Licenses that Require Background Checks

background check of professional license

In today’s world, ensuring the credibility and competence of professionals is paramount. This is especially true for roles that directly impact the well-being, safety, and financial security of individuals and communities.

As a result, many professions require rigorous background checks before granting or renewing a professional license. These checks aim to verify the authenticity of a candidate’s claims, assess their suitability for a role, and protect the public from potential harm.

Medical Licenses (doctors, nurses, pharmacists):

The medical field is one where the stakes are incredibly high. Mistakes or malpractice can lead to severe consequences, including loss of life. As such, medical licenses for doctors, nurses, and pharmacists often require comprehensive background checks. These checks can include criminal background check, education verification, and checks for any disciplinary actions taken against the license holder by a licensing board. Additionally, the license status is frequently reviewed to ensure that the professional holds a valid license.

The legal profession demands a high level of trust, as lawyers and paralegals often handle sensitive information and represent clients in crucial matters. Background checks for these professionals might encompass criminal record check, employment history, reference checks, and verification of hours of education completed. Any disciplinary actions taken against them by their respective licensing board or agency are also scrutinized.

Financial Licenses (accountants, financial advisors):

Professionals in the financial sector, such as accountants and financial advisors, have access to confidential financial data. Their decisions can significantly impact an individual’s or a company’s financial health. Hence, financial checks, including credit history and credit score evaluations, are common. Employment background check and education history verifications are also standard procedures for these license types.

Real Estate Licenses:

Real estate agents deal with one of the most significant financial transactions in most people’s lives: buying or selling a home. As such, background checks for real estate licenses often include criminal checks, employment verification, and checks on any disciplinary actions taken against the agent. Credit evaluations might also be conducted, given the financial nature of their job position.

Others (educators, engineers, etc.): Many other professions, like educators and engineers, require professional licenses. These roles, especially those in specialized roles or positions of trust, necessitate thorough background screening process. Common checks include education verification, employment checks, criminal history background check, and sometimes even medical screening.

Components of a Professional License Background Check

background check of license

In today’s competitive job market, ensuring the credibility and qualifications of professionals is paramount. This is especially true for positions that require a professional license.

An accurate background check is essential for both employers and licensing boards to make informed hiring decisions. Here’s a breakdown of the components involved:

Criminal History Check:

This is one of the most common types of background checks. Criminal history searches and criminal record searches are conducted to determine if an applicant has any past criminal convictions. It’s crucial to note that not all criminal convictions may disqualify a candidate, but they provide a clearer picture of the individual’s past. Some positions, especially those in financial service firms or where security is paramount, may have stricter criteria.

Verification of Educational Qualifications:

With the rise of diploma mills and cases of lies on job applications, it’s become a commonplace practice to verify an applicant’s educational background. This ensures that the prospective employees have the claimed degrees and have attended the institutions listed on their employment application.

Verification of Previous Employment:

This involves checking the dates of employment, current employers, and positions held by the candidate. It’s not uncommon for candidates for employment screening to exaggerate their roles or responsibilities. By contacting previous employers and checking with professional references, employers can make adverse hiring decisions if discrepancies are found. This step also helps in verifying the communication skills and additional skills the candidate might have acquired during their tenure.

Credit History Check:

While this might seem unrelated to a professional license, some roles, especially in financial service firms or positions that handle sensitive financial information, require a credit check.

Consumer credit reporting agencies and credit unions often provide these pre-employment credit reports. It’s essential to ensure that this check aligns with labor & employment law litigation standards and respects the individual’s constitutional rights and civil rights.

Drug Testing:

Certain professions, especially those related to healthcare, transportation, or safety, may require drug testing. For instance, a licensed professional undergoing cancer treatment might be on medications that could impair their judgment or performance. It’s not a judgment on their character but an essential step to ensure public safety.

Incorporating these components into a background check policy is essential for American businesses. Whether they choose to conduct these checks in-house or through background screening firms, or even consider the level of outsourcing to private investigation companies, the objective remains the same: ensuring that the licensed professional is qualified, trustworthy, and a right fit for the role.

The Process of Conducting a Professional License Background Check

license background check

The process of obtaining a professional license often involves a rigorous background check to ensure that the individual meets the standards and qualifications required for the profession. This includes out of state background checks to verify any licenses held or professional activities conducted outside the state of current employment. This step is crucial for a comprehensive review of the individual’s professional history. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process:

Application Submission:

The first step involves the candidate submitting a comprehensive application. This application typically includes personal details, educational qualifications, work history, and other relevant information.

It’s essential for prospective employees to be truthful and accurate in this step, as any lies on job applications can lead to adverse actions later in the process.

Review of Personal Details:

Once the application is received, the licensing board or employment screening agency one begins a thorough review. This involves checking the authenticity of the details provided, ensuring there are no discrepancies.

For instance, employers consult actual county courthouse records to verify any county criminal history. Additionally, they contact the United States Army Reserve to confirm military service if the applicant has mentioned it.

Verification Process:

This is the most intensive phase. In-depth checks and investigative searches are conducted. Database searches are used to verify educational qualifications, while party agencies or third-party providers might be employed for specialized checks.


For instance, the Federal E-Verify Program confirms the candidate’s eligibility to work in the U.S. Additionally, private companies or outsourcing firms conduct specialized security checks and verify specific details to ensure a legitimate and accurate background check.

Decision-making (Approval or Denial):

After all verifications are complete, the licensing board or employer will make a decision. If any discrepancies are found, the applicant might receive pre-adverse action disclosure or adverse action letters informing them of the issues and potentially giving them a chance to clarify. If everything is in order, the professional license is granted.

However, it’s essential to note that even after approval, there might be periodic checks, like annual pre-employment screening, to ensure continued compliance.

In conclusion, the process of conducting a professional license background check is meticulous and designed to ensure that only qualified and trustworthy individuals receive licenses. Whether conducted by a legitimate company, private investigation company, or in-house by the licensing board, the objective of background checks remains consistent: to uphold the integrity of the profession and protect the public.

In carrying out these steps, it’s crucial to understand the serious legal ramifications you could face if a candidate’s license turns out to be falsified. The legal implications of falsified licenses are severe and multi-faceted, especially when a professional license background check reveals a level of fraud.

  • Criminal Charges: The individual who presented the falsified license could be charged with forgery or fraud. These are serious crimes that can lead to hefty fines and even jail time.
  • Civil Lawsuits: If a fraudulent license leads to harm or loss for a client, that client could sue your company. This could result in significant financial penalties and damage to your company’s reputation.
  • Negligent Hiring Liabilities: If you knowingly hire an individual with a falsified license, you could be held liable for negligent hiring. This could expose your company to further lawsuits and financial penalties.

Protecting Your Business Through Verification

Having explored the potential legal pitfalls of hiring a candidate with a falsified license, it’s now crucial for you to understand how to safeguard your business through meticulous license verification.

Protecting your business through verification is a proactive step in isolating your business from liability. By performing a comprehensive background check, you can authenticate a candidate’s professional license background check, shielding your organization from potential legal repercussions down the line.

A key component of this verification process is education verification. By confirming a candidate’s educational qualifications and degree, you can ensure they’ve the necessary skill set and knowledge base for their role, thereby enhancing your business’s credibility and trustworthiness.

Moreover, remember that professional license background checks vary by industry. Therefore, it’s important to understand the specific requirements of your field. For instance, a medical practitioner’s license verification process will differ from that of a financial advisor.

Best Practices for Conducting Professional License Background Checks

license background checks

In the realm of professional licensing, background checks play a pivotal role in safeguarding the integrity of various professions and ensuring public trust. However, the process can be fraught with challenges, especially when not conducted correctly. To ensure that these checks are both effective and respectful of individual rights, here are some best practices to consider:

Ensuring Transparency and Fairness:

One of the foundational principles of any background check should be transparency. Potential employees and license applicants must be aware of what the check entails, the sources of information, and their rights in the process. This not only builds trust but also ensures that the process is fair.

For instance, if the check leads to an adverse hiring decision, the employer must issue a pre-adverse action disclosure to the individual, giving them the chance to clarify or contest the findings. This approach respects both the individual’s constitutional rights and their civil rights, ensuring a balanced and just process.

Using Reputable Background Check Services:

Not all background check services are created equal. It’s essential to employ reputable background check services that have a track record of accuracy and integrity.

Whether it’s a private investigation company, a background screening firm, or a third-party provider, the chosen service should adhere to industry standards, use accurate databases like actual county courthouse records, and be compliant with laws such as the Federal E-Verify Program. This ensures that the information obtained is both accurate and legally obtained, reducing the risk of controversial practices.

Regularly Updating Background Check Policies:

The world of employment and professional licensing is ever-evolving. New laws, technological advancements, and societal shifts can all impact the relevance and legality of certain background check practices.

As such, it’s crucial for American businesses, licensing boards, and outsourcing companies to regularly review and update their background check policies. This might involve incorporating new verification methods, discarding outdated practices, or adjusting to new legal requirements.

For instance, with the rise of decentralization projects and digital platforms, new methods of verification might become commonplace. Regular updates ensure that the process remains relevant, legal, and effective.


Don’t gamble with your business’s reputation! Running a professional license background check is like constructing an impenetrable fortress, protecting your venture from the catastrophic consequences of hiring unqualified employees.

It’s a blinding beacon of due diligence, warding off potential legal entanglements. So, double down on license verification.

It’s not just a smart move, it’s your business’s superhero cape, shielding you from potential disasters. Get it right, or risk losing everything.


How long does a professional license background check process take?

The duration of a background check process can vary depending on the depth of the check and the licensing agency involved. Typically, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. More intensive checks, especially those that involve investigations in background checks or require information from overseas, might take longer.

Can you get a professional license with a conviction record?

It depends on the nature of the conviction record and the profession in question. Some professions, especially those that involve public trust or safety, might have stricter background check requirements. However, a licensing agency will often evaluate the relevance of the conviction to the profession and the time elapsed since the conviction.

What happens if there are discrepancies in the background check?

If discrepancies are found, the licensing agency or future employer might request additional documentation or clarification. It’s essential for candidates to be truthful and upfront about their past, as failure by employers to properly vet can lead to labor & employment law litigation.

Are all professional licenses subject to background checks employers conduct?

While most professional licenses require some form of background checks employers conduct, the depth and nature of the check can vary. Some professions might only require basic screening surveys, while others, especially those related to security with outsource service or potential government employees, might require more intensive checks.

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