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January 2015 Policy Study, Number 15-2


SEA 421 Report: Establishing A Process For Self-Certification Registration





“The proposal to establish a portal that would facilitate the use of private and voluntary certification as a complement to other state-authorized occupational licensing regimes is an important issue for the Indiana state economy, practitioners, and consumers.”[1]


Self-Certification Registration


Self-Certification Registration (“SCR”) is a unique way to regulate occupations as it relies on the least burdensome elements of licensure, certification, and registration.


In short, individuals may voluntarily list their names in a state registry if they complete a certification process offered by a state-accredited organization. Only individuals who register may use the title “State Certified.”


The key distinction between SCR and other regulatory schemes is that SCR allows individuals to work in an occupation even if they are uncertified – or, if certified, who choose not to register.


By moving away from licensing and towards certification, Indiana will realize significant economic benefits including lower unemployment, fewer administrative costs, and greater competition in its labor markets.  Residents will realize lower prices, more job opportunities, and the ability to make better choices about the services they buy and professionals they hire.[2]


About This Report


The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (“IPLA”) submits this report to the Legislative Council pursuant to Senate Enrolled Act No. 421 (“SEA 421”), which states in part the following:


[IPLA] shall submit a report to the legislative council … to establish a process to allow individuals employed in an occupation who meet certain requirements to certify to the agency the individual’s qualifications to be included on a list maintained by the agency.


The report … must include the following: (1) Occupations that may be included on the list. (2) Whether to provide title protection for the individuals included on the list. (3) Enforcement provisions that would be used. (4) A description of auditing and maintenance of the list. (5) The cost of establishing and maintaining a list. (6) The cost of an individual applying for and renewing inclusion on the list.[3]


On August 5, 2014, IPLA coordinated a public hearing at which a bipartisan panel[4] received written and oral testimony from various stakeholders, including economists, academic subject matter experts, regulated professionals, and representatives of occupations wanting to use SCR.[5]

This report is broadly structured as follows: (I) overview of occupational regulations; (II) process for implementing SCR in Indiana; and (III) legislative considerations and other conclusions. Evidence reflects an overwhelming preference for certification instead of licensing, except for regulating doctors, lawyers, and professionals whose services might pose a risk to disadvantaged consumers.


The prospect of self-certification registration has received widespread support although no specific occupations are recommended for inclusion in a state registry. Rather, this report provides eligibility standards the state should consider if and when the Indiana General Assembly pursues legislation to authorize SCR in Indiana. 


Editor’s Note:  This report, and the proposed self-certification registration process in Indiana, should serve as a model for the Iowa General Assembly to follow to lessen the regulatory burden of Iowa’s licensing procedures.


The following illustrations demonstrate the State’s role in the SCR framework:


Phase I


Phase 2




Click here for pdf copy of this Policy Study


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