are prominent in licensing systems, it is important to recognize that they are only one part of the overall quality control system that most professions have developed (National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, 2000b).
Professional regulations generally address requirements in three areas: education, experience, and testing. The education component is intended to ensure that candidates have encountered the broad base of knowledge they will need to draw on when making decisions in professional practice. The supervised experience component allows candidates to learn the complex art of applying knowledge to specific problems of practice, to make judgments, to weigh and balance competing considerations, and to develop practical skills and put them to use.
Professions generally include education, experience, and testing components in their licensing requirements but vary in the amounts of education and experience they require and in the sequence in which the requirements must be met. In deciding on specific education, experience, and testing requirements, professions evaluate the extent to which each element is likely to lead to public protection. The required levels of education, experience, and testing are intended to reflect the knowledge and skills needed for entry-level practice and not to be so high as to be unreasonably limiting (Schmitt, 2000; American Educational Research Association et al., 1999).
To learn more about licensing in other professions, the committee commissioned a paper on licensure requirements in seven fields. The goal was to learn (1) how other professions handle licensing requirements; (2) what other professions require with regard to education, experience, and testing; and (3) whether the requirements of other professions suggest ways to improve teacher licensure. The committee focused on professions that generally require a bachelor’s degree for entry into the profession because these professions were expected to offer useful analogies to education.
Table 3–1 compares licensure requirements for seven professions: architects, certified public accountants (CPAs), professional engineers, land surveyors, physical therapists, registered nurses, and social workers. For each profession the state is the licensing agent. For each profession there is also variability in the education and experience that states require for licensure. For example, there are four categories of practice for social workers: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Clinical. States differ in the level of practice that they regulate. The 34 states that offer licenses to social workers with bachelor’s degrees (the Basic level) have 19 different combinations of education and experience requirements (Schmitt, 2000). For CPA candidates, over half of the states require two years of practical experience for a license and a few require three years (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, 1998). For architects about a quarter of states require graduation from an accredited five-year architecture program; other states accept alternative ways for satisfying the education requirements <www.ncarb.org>. These differ-