Licensure Processing Guides and Timelines

The licensure processing guide is to help provide transparency, inform applicants of expected timeframe to process their application and help reduce mistakes and mitigate delays. 

About Licensure Process

The Department of State is responsible for licensing and regulating hundreds of different professions as part of its mission to protect, preserve and improve the health and safety of Pennsylvania’s citizens through the licensing and regulation of occupational and health professionals.

The purpose of the Department of State’s professional licensing guide is to:

  • provide transparency, 
  • inform applicants of expected timeframes for receiving your license, and 
  • outline steps you can take to reduce mistakes and mitigate delays. 

To provide the greatest clarity on the licensing process from start to finish, we break it down into three phases, providing estimated times for each stage of the process, and recommendations for how to reduce processing times.

Steps to Apply Online:

  1. Sign in or create account on the Pennsylvania Licensing System.
  2. Select a board to apply to and plain-language questions will appear to help you get started
  3. Application appears – checklist, required uploads, prompts
  4. Review all information and edit as needed
  5. Pay the required fee and your application is submitted
  6. Keep an eye on your email or get real-time updates on the Pennsylvania Licensing System.

How to Apply for a Professional License in Pennsylvania

Professional licensing protects the health and safety of the public from fraudulent and unethical practitioners. Fraudulent and unethical practitioners. We want the process of applying for a professional license in Pennsylvania to go as smoothly as possible..

Phases After You Submit Your Application:

  • Phase One measures the time between a submitted application or graduation from an educational program and the initial determination of the status of the application by Department staff. Determinations issued in this phase may include authorization to take a required exam, a notice of missing information or an incomplete application, or that a payment is needed.

  • Phase Two measures the time that it takes for an applicant or third-party entity to respond to the Department with all application requirements. This phase may include the applicant preparing for and taking an exam, third-party institutions providing education or training documents, background checks, or completion of training hours by the applicant.

  • Phase Three measures the time between the Department’s receipt of a complete application, including examination results, confirmation of training hours, and results of background checks, and when a license is issued or denied to an applicant.

What Happens After You Submit Your Application

Our goal is to make the professional licensing process as easy as possible while maintaining our standards to protect the public's health and safety.

Guides and Timelines 

Please see below links for license information for the following boards.

Barbers Licensure Guide

View the barber guide

Cosmetology Licensure Guide

View the cosmetology guide

Engineers Licensure Guide

View the engineers guide

Medicine Board Licensure Guide

View the medical guide

Nursing Licensure Guide

View the nursing guide

Osteopathic Medicine Licensure Guide

View the osteopathic medicine guide

Pharmacist Licensure Guide

View the pharmacist guide

Real Estate Commission Licensure Guide

View the real estate Guide

Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors Licensure Guide

View the social workers guide

How To Speed Up Your License Process

We want the process of issuing your license to be as smooth and quick as possible. Each license type has different requirements, so please visit your individual occupation’s page to learn specific tips for speeding up the process for your license.

To begin the application process, go to the Pennsylvania Licensing System. Sign in if you are renewing a license or register a new account if this is your first time applying.

After signing in, select what license you are applying for. We will ask a list of questions before you begin the application to confirm you are applying for the correct license.

The application will appear. Fill out all required fields and complete the checklist of required uploads. Make sure you save your entries as you proceed.

After completing the application, review all information to ensure it is accurate. Pay the required fee and your application is submitted. You can add other applications for additional licenses. Repeat the application process for each license.

You can download a copy of your application for your records. Keep an eye on your email or log into the PALS site for real-time updates. It is important to check regularly because the licensing board might request more information.