Practicing without a License
@murphy From what I've read on this board, it does seem to vary significantly from state to state. I'm always a little surprised by the claims of state boards doing nothing because the one in Kentucky has always been very good about following up on issues.
There are two things I always wonder when I read the complaints from posters about their state's board doing nothing or failing to "police" the profession -
1) Are they in an area where people (clients, licensees, mortgage lenders, etc...) are aware they can file a complaint. The board in Kentucky does not have the personnel to have an investigator sit behind a billboard with a radar gun trying to catch random violations. They have plenty to deal with just following up on complaints that are filed. Complaints filed are the main way in which the board is made aware of potential violations they need to investigate. In the areas where no actions by the board is noted, if there is a pattern of violations by a practitioner in that area - has there ever been a formal complaint filed? If (hopefully won't be the case, but if) the youngster in the original post is caught in a year or two doing the same thing, someone could complain that the board should have done something. Problem being - they were not made aware of the problem to begin with. There are times to address issues one to one as professional colleagues and there are times that a formal complaint should be made.
2) Is the poster actually aware of what goes on at the state board? I've heard some people in Kentucky complain about various matters over the years and lay blame on the state board of licensure for the issue. Sometimes, I can only shake my head and think - have you even read the language that creates and organizes the board. Their duties/powers/responsibilities are pretty well defined in statutes. Some things they do not have absolute control over, yet licensees think the board should be solving a problem that the board either has no power over or is limited by existing laws.
My board has about 15-20 people (mostly appointed positions with full-time other jobs) overseeing the licensed (PE, PLS) population of about 16,000. I doubt they could even remotely hope to act within a week on any investigation matter even though they do a very good job.
I don't know about all states, but in Kentucky there is fairly extensive legal language on the whole felony convictions and how employers and licensing agencies are allowed to address convictions. In addition, there is fairly clear policy on investigations from the opening of a case through the resolution. A suspension of license is not the minimal action nor is it the highest. If the licensee complies with the terms of the suspension, he might be able to get back into the professional ranks. In my region, we had a licensee who ended up with a suspended license due to drug issues. He complied with the terms of the suspension and eventually got his license back to active. He continued to do very good work for a while, relapsed, then lost his license. Another licensee got a suspension over drugs as well, but sorted his life out and has been able to continue in a professional capacity for decades. As far as I am aware, the Kentucky board is not there to squash someone. They are trying to protect the public. Part of that might entail stopping someone from practicing while they try to get their s!^t together. In other instances it might mean revoking a license completely. And - I've seen disciplinary action against former board members as well.
Very good post!
For reference relating to skeeters post.
Montana renewal fees are about $O.049 dollars per hour. Not a significant amount when billing rates are $125 and above per hour. Also not a huge money maker for the board.
The Montana Board also does a good job investigating complaints. The issue is they never have many cases turned into them. They are also bound to only enforce violations of administrative rules, against registrants. You can do a bad survey, as long as it comforms to the administrative rules, their is nothing they can do. If the situation is with unlicensed practice, they have limited options. Send a C and D letter or refer the matter to the appropriate County Attorney.
Our County Attorney would not waste his time on such an issue. At most, he would attempt to hook them for a $1000 diversion fee and a slap on the wrist. He gets to use diversion fees any way he sees fit, like paint ball guns for the annual department picnic.