Topics Map > NC-SARA

NC-SARA Professional Licensure Determination Support Tips and Resources

UW-Madison is required to determine and publicly disclose if its academic programs that lead to professional licensure/certification meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in each U.S. state and territory. This document provides support for programs that need to make these state-by-state determinations. It features content prepared by Higher Education Licensure Pros LLC.

As part of its membership in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), UW-Madison must comply with the federal regulation related to professional certification and licensure disclosures. Essentially the rule states that for each academic program offered by UW-Madison that leads to professional certification/licensure, the university must publically disclose if the educational requirements for the degree at UW-Madison meet or do not meet the applicable educational requirements for professional licensure or certification in each U.S. state and territory. 

The university has partnered with UW System to purchase a software solution to support making the determination. The database product is called The Bookmark and it maintains state-by-state certification/licensure requirements for more than 60 license types. Program staff will be able to access The Bookmark directly, review state-by-state requirements for licensure, and compare those requirements to the degree requirements to make the determination. 

As noted, The Bookmark contains state-by-state certification/licesensure requirements for more than 60 license types. However, UW-Madison offers some educational programs that yield licenses not yet included in The Bookmark. This document outlines what work is required to meet the current federal regulations and State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) policy.

Research Educational Requirements

The first step is to research the educational requirements for licensure in each state through a review of the following:

  • Statutes and regulations
  • Licensing board or agency websites
  • Reliable third-party sources
  • Communication with licensing board or agency

Programs will need to research educational requirements with a close review of the relevant statutes and regulations and information the licensing board or agency has made publicly available. Use reliable third-party sources to verify the information you have found in your research and communicate directly with the licensing board or agency when you find unclear or contradictory information. 

Statutes and regulations

The first step in this process is a close review of the relevant statutes and administrative regulations that provide definition and procedure for creation of the State board or agency that issues the license or certificate and sets qualifications the applicant must meet. You can find statutes and regulations (laws, rules, codes) by searching the internet for the state legislative webpage or often on the licensing board’s website as well.

Your review of the legislation for each license or certification will include definitions, requirements the board must follow in the licensing process, applicant qualifications, alternative licensing pathways including internship, trainee, and reciprocity, any out-of-state rules, and if board or other approval is required. Each of the applicant qualifications listed below will be described in detail in the program and curriculum comparison section.

Applicant qualifications may include:

  • University requirements
    • Regional or national accreditation
  • Program requirements
    • Specialized accreditation
    • Residency
  • Applicant requirements within the program
    • Degree
      • Level (high school, undergraduate, graduate, doctoral)
      • Field
    • Required coursework
    • Supervised experience within the program (e.g., practicum, clinical lab)

The applicant qualifications listed above are those the program must compare to the program and curriculum to make a determination whether the program “meets” or “does not meet” educational requirements for every state and territory that issues the license-type being researched. 

Licensing Board or Agency Websites

Second, a review of the publicly available information on the state or territory board/agency’s website will provide clarification on how the board/agency implements the procedures outlined in statute and regulation. Using an internet search engine will typically work to find each state and territory licensing board or agency website. The following agencies also provide links to licensing boards/agencies:

When you have identified the state or territory licensing board or agency website, you will review all the information offered for the license type you are researching. The most common points of information found on the board/agency website are:

  • Application forms
  • Application instructions
  • An FAQ
  • Practice and Legislation News
  • Resources
    • A link to, or a copy of, relevant statute and regulation
    • A link to the professional association
    • Contact information

Reliable Third-Party Sources

Third, double-check information you have gathered in the first two steps with a reliable third-party source, such as the association or council of licensing boards for that profession. Examples include; National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), and National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC).

Communication with Licensing Board or Agency

Lastly, communicate directly with the licensing board/agency to clarify any unclear or contradictory information you have found in your research. Copy and paste the information you are asking about along with the context of your question if you are communicating via email message.

Compare to Program and Curriculum

Now that the research has been completed, in order to understand if a program and curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure, some license types require a detailed comparison of program components and courses to state or territory required content areas. Not all license types will need an in-depth program and course comparison. Generally, it will be clear from your review of statute, regulation, and application materials whether, and to what extent, a comparison is required. A program and course comparison may be required for some states/territories even if specialized program accreditation is required or accepted by the board/agency. There are several areas the program may need to evaluate, depending on the level of detail the state/territory requires.

  • Degree level, field, and total credits
  • Reliance on external authority to meet educational requirements
  • Course content areas
  • In-program supervised experience
  • Residency

Keywordsdisclosure   Doc ID133721
OwnerKaren M.GroupAcademic Planning
Created2023-12-21 13:17:31Updated2023-12-21 15:29:18
SitesAcademic Planning
Feedback  0   0