In a previous article Governor Ivey’s Success Plus plan was introduced. The objective of the plan is to have 50,000 more skilled workers by 2025. A list of credentials that qualify under the plan must be valuable, portable, stackable, trackable and in demand.

Since 2015, the US Census Bureau has been including questions about workers licenses and credentials on the Current Population Survey. “In 2018, more than 43 million people in the United States held a professional certification or license. The prevalence of occupational licenses, common in fields such as health care, law and education, has risen substantially over the past 50 years.”

In the CPS, the difference between a certification and a license is based on who issued the credential. Specifically:

  • Certification
    • Credential awarded by a nongovernmental certification body;
  • Based on an individual demonstrating, through an examination process, that they have acquired the designated knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform a specific job;
  • Does not convey a legal authority to work in an occupation; and
  • Examples: information technology certifications and project management professional certifications.
  • License
    • Credential awarded by a governmental licensing agency based on pre-determined criteria; and
  • The criteria may include some combination of degree attainment, certifications, educational certificates, assessments (including state-administered exams), apprenticeship programs, r work experience.

Source:  NCES report, 2016,

Data is not presented at the state or county level. 2018 survey results are provided below.

Characteristic Labor Force Participation Rate Employment–Population Ratio Unemployment Rate
With A Certification or License(1) With A Certification or License With A Certification or License(1) With A Certification or License With A Certification or License(1) With A Certification or License
Total, 16 years and over 87.7% 57.8% 86.0% 55.2% 2.0% 4.5%
16 to 24 years 86.1 53.3 82.3 48.5 4.4 9.0
25 to 54 years 94.0 78.6 92.3 75.7 1.8 3.8
55 years and over 74.6 34.3 73.1 33.2 2.0 3.3
Less than a high school diploma 84.8 44.4 81.9 41.9 3.4 5.8
High school graduates, no college(3) 88.4 54.3 85.9 51.9 2.8 4.3
Some college or associate degree 87.5 60.2 85.6 57.9 2.2 3.7
Some college, no degree 86.7 58.7 84.5 56.3 2.5 4.0
Associate degree 88.3 62.8 86.5 60.8 2.0 3.2
Bachelor’s degree or higher 87.9 67.7 86.7 66.0 1.4 2.5
Bachelor’s degree only 88.5 68.8 87.2 67.0 1.5 2.5
Advanced degree(4) 87.3 65.3 86.1 63.6 1.3 2.6

(1) A person may have more than one certification or license.

(2) People of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity can be of any race.

(3) Includes people with a high school diploma or equivalent.

(4) Includes people with a master’s, professional, or doctoral degree.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Source: Monthly Labor Review, June 2018

As can be seen, the unemployment rate is significantly lower nationwide for those with certificates or licenses, as compared to those without. This is good reason to support Success Plus.

Two sources are available to find information on occupations that require a license or certificate in Alabama. The Alabama Department of Public Health lists occupations related to health care and related occupations, and the Alabama Department of Labor publishes the Alabama Licensed Occupation Guide This guide provides occupational codes, a description of the occupation, and projected growth.

The ongoing efforts of the state Workforce Development entities will develop another list of credentials that will not be mandated by law but will provide the benefits that come with skill credentialing and meet regional demands.

By: Steve Turkoski 

Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce Project Manager

Steve Turkoski
Steve TurkoskiDothan Area Chamber of Commerce Project Manager
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