Laws, Ordinances & Regulations

I need a license for what?

One of the worst shocks of growing up was how much paperwork adulthood requires. Recently, I’ve been learning about licenses. Not fishing licenses, or hunting licenses, which I did know about, but professional and occupational licenses.

Some professions are obvious. It’s clear that a doctor, an MD, will need a license to practice medicine. Clear, too, the reasons. It’s an obvious issue of public health and safety that people doing surgery ought to have some education on the topic!

Which professions require a license is a matter determined by each state. Montana’s Department of Labor regulates 40 boards/programs for licensure. A list of some of the professions licensed by Montana’s Department of Labor follows:

  • Midwives
  • Athletic trainers
  • Barbers
  • Electricians
  • Morticians
  • Hearing Aid Dispensers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Massage Therapists
  • Nursing Home Administrators
  • Outfitters
  • Plumbers
  • Property Managers
  • Real Estate Salespeople

Of course, the Department of Labor doesn’t have a monopoly on issuing licenses (or on requiring them). The department of environmental quality regulates water system operators, which sounds like something obscure, but is surprisingly common. Whether a water system operator is (legally) required is determined by how many people use the system, and how often. A public school will almost certainly need one. A church? Perhaps.

And we cannot forget the Office of Public Instruction (the state agency dealing with education). That office controls the licensing process for teachers, guidance councilors, and principals.

Additionally, local governments can also add licensing requirements. The city of Billings, for example, requires any business within the city (even home businesses) to obtain a license. This is distinct from registering a business with the state, and seems to be primarily for the purpose of taxing the business.

All this, without getting into permitting! Which licenses have you been surprised to need?

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