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Professional Regulation in New York State

In 1891, medicine became the first profession licensed by the New York State Board of Regents. New York's unique system of professional regulation, recognized as a model for public protection, has grown to encompass nearly 1,000,000 practitioners and over 30,000 professional practice business entities in more than 50 professions.

Guided by the Regents, a citizen body, the professions are within New York State's unified system of education - The University of the State of New York. This recognizes the key role education plays in both preparing licensed professionals and in ensuring their continuous development.

The State Education Department, under Regents direction, administers professional regulation through its Office of the Professions, assisted by the twenty-nine State Boards for the Professions. Deputy Commissioner Sarah Benson leads the Office.

Licensing, registration, and related fees are the sole means of support for professional regulation in New York State.* These fees support comprehensive services to the public and the professions. The Office of the Professions provides a number of services to the public and the professions, including the following:

Licensure and Registration

  • Reviews programs that prepare students for professional licensure
  • Designs and administers licensing examinations
  • Processes applications, reviews qualifications, and issues credentials
  • Evaluates educational credentials of candidates from over 100 countries
  • Registers entities such as professional corporations, pharmacies, continuing education providers, providers of courses in infection control and the identification and reporting of child abuse, and others

Professional Discipline

Public and Professional Education and Information

These are among the many services offered by the Office of the Professions to protect the public and the integrity of the professions. For more information, visit our How Do I page.

* 100% of registration renewal fees from physicians, physician assistants, and specialist assistants are redirected to the State Department of Health's Office of Professional Medical Conduct, which investigates complaints against physicians, physician assistants, and specialist assistants. The Department of Health also administers a program for licensees in these professions who have substance abuse problems. Cases of unlicensed practice may be pursued in conjunction with the New York State Attorney General.