State officials are developing a new website to host the licensing process for dozens of professions in the state, eyeing a June 2023 switch to a a new digital system.
The new website — and a behind-the-scenes transfer of data into a new system and database — aims to ease and speed up the licensing process for medical professionals, social workers, engineers and scores of other fields that require professional certification.
The state Education Department oversees the licensing process for over 50 professions in the state, including doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, engineers, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, veterinarians, accountants, athletic trainers, interior designers and dozens more.
The professions all require a different licensing process complete with its own set of required documents, exams and experiences. Some of that process currently exists online, but many of the transcripts, tests scores and other requirements must be collected and mailed, causing delays and frustration in the process.
During a presentation to the Board of Regents on Monday, state officials said the new website will be “like Amazon,” enabling licensees to track the progress of their applications, sort through what documents they have and have not completed and know when their license is up for renewal.
“It’s everything you think we should have now and we don’t,” Heather Klusendorf, one of the staff members leading the so-called “Professions Modernization Program” at SED, said during Monday’s update.
The ongoing effort to revamp the process and online experience, though, is still multiple years off. A timeline presented Monday outlines a 33-week plan to gradually migrate the state’s data on licensed professionals into a new database and build out the online system. The timeline set June 2023 as the end date for completing the transition to the new licensing system.
Officials said they hoped and expected the streamlined system to speed up the overall licensing process and minimize the work of people applying for licenses. Colleges will be able to directly submit transcripts in the same system, and licensed professionals will have a central location to go to for updates on renewal deadlines or to access their licensing documents. The system will also be accessible in different formats.
“You should be able to use it on your phone,” Klusendorf said during the presentation. “I promise, you will.”
Members of the Board of Regents lauded the progress of the modernization program and highlighted that they frequently receive complaints about the licensing. Regent Catherine Collins said as a nurse she knows first hand how difficult the current system can be.
“If I had a bottle of champagne… this is just marvelous,” Collins, who represents the Buffalo area, said of modernizing professional licensing. “Because I have interacted with our system, and I know that many professionals out there will be thrilled.”