The Professional Certification Coalition (PCC) was founded in July 2018 to address legislation that affects professional certification programs, those who hold private certification credentials, and the many constituencies that rely on professional certification.The PCC is a D.C. unincorporated nonprofit association, governed by a Steering Committee of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (I.C.E.) and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). The PCC’s organizational members include non-governmental professional certification organizations, professional societies, and service providers. The membership reflects a wide spectrum of professions, including health care, engineering, financial services, and information technology, among many others. The certifications that PCC members issue or rely upon include both voluntary professional certifications and credentials that state governments require for licensure in those professions.
With support from a legal team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, the PCC is a proactive and continuing coalition that monitors and responds to legislative and regulatory activity that would undermine the activities or recognition of certifications developed or offered by non-governmental, private certification organization, and to educate stakeholders about the role of professional certification. The PCC also works with lawmakers to advance legislation that expands professional opportunities while supporting the principles of providing the public assurances that certified and licensed individuals have demonstrated they have the expected knowledge, competence, and skills to practice in their chosen field.
Occupational licensing reform bills, for example, have included provisions that would:
- bar many professionals holding certifications from private organizations from using the titles “certified” or “registered”;
- create evidentiary presumptions and barriers to state professional licensure laws recognizing or requiring certifications from private organizations;
- establish governmental certification programs that would supplant private certification programs, in some circumstances; and/or
- authorize reciprocal licensure for license holders from other states without requiring equivalent qualification standards and/or scopes of practice
More recently, legislation on which the PCC has engaged includes Clean Slate bills or other bills restricting the consideration of criminal conviction history by occupational licensure boards and/or private certification organizations or professional or trade associations.
Read What Members Say About the PCC
Wherever possible, the PCC seeks to amend the legislation rather than opposing it, so that laudable objectives of the legislation can be achieved while also avoiding harm to those who use or rely on professional certification—such as employers, reimbursers, and the general public—as well as of individual professionals themselves who achieve professional certification status.
The PCC’s activities on behalf of members include development of research and white papers on the value of private professional certification programs and the effects of legislation attempting to reform professional certification and occupational licensing; communication with stakeholders supporting or opposing such legislation to educate them about the Coalition’s positions and to advocate for the elimination of harmful language in proposed or model legislation; and ongoing monitoring and analysis of state and federal legislative activity in this area. Coalition members have access to written resources, detailed member-only legislation watchlists, regular member strategy calls, and time written updates. The Coalition also engages in advocacy campaigns and provide members with resources and tools to engage in advocacy with legislators regarding pending legislation that affects professional certification.