Does your future career require you to pass a test & get a license?

With the fast growth of ACT-SAT test-optional for college admission due to Covid, high school students may think they’ve escaped such standardized exams forever. But I caution students to not jump to that conclusion.

Occupation Licenses

According to the US Department of Labor’s Career OneStop site, “By state laws, workers in certain fields must have a license. Licensing is intended to ensure that only competent and ethical individuals practice in an occupation.” 

Earning a license means meeting standards, which can vary by state. For instance, not all states require interior designers to have a license, but some do. Every state requires lawyers to pass what’s called a Bar Exam. Some other jobs which require licenses are teachers, doctors, certified financial planners, nurses, therapists, electricians, physical therapists, and more. 

Earning a license and meeting these standards include completing specific training or education, working in the field, and passing an exam. What…exam? Yes, you may have more standardized testing in your future if you intend to work in certain occupations.

Certificates are Different from Licenses

Now, don’t confuse earning a certificate with getting a license. Some people mistakenly use these terms interchangeably when they are actually different. A certification is not required to work a job, but may make an individual more competitive in the marketplace. And earning a certificate may include taking a standardized exam. 

License Finder Tool

It’s helpful to gather this information while completing career planning. Career OneStop actually has a License Finder feature searchable by either state or occupation or both. When I put in my home state of Ohio, I find there are 106 occupations for which the state of Ohio requires a license to practice. For fun and interest, I played around and found that only Nebraska requires software engineers to be licensed….wouldn’t you want to know that ahead of time? 


Keep in mind, college students hoping to go on for further study in graduate or professional school will have a strong likelihood of also taking exams for entrance to specific programs. These include but are not limited to MCAT for medical school, PCAT for pharmacy school, as well as GRE and GMAT for a wide variety of programs. 

My personal opinion is there are a large number of students and aspiring professionals who have a lot of testing in their future. I’m not convinced it’s wise that college-bound high school students are getting a pass when sitting for an ACT/SAT can be valuable practice for extended time consuming standardized tests. With all things, practice makes progress. 

Remember, be intentional with discovering the jobs you are wired to do and choosing one for that first step into the world of work…or even that next step. This is just one strategy for my second pillar in the Launch framework – Know Careers

Want to learn more?

Join me in my Launch Career Clarity course next time it’s offered for 15 to 25-year-olds.