International Affairs Office, U.S. Department of Education 12/2007
Recognition of Foreign Qualifications:
NOTE: The U.S. Department of Education and USNEI do not evaluate foreign degrees or qualifications. Please DO NOT submit requests for such evaluations to us or submit diplomas or other records for review. Refer to the LINKs below.
See Visiting the United States for important information about the process of coming to the United States.
The competent U.S. authority for recognizing previous education and qualifications, including licenses, in regulated professions is the appropriate state or territorial licensing authority that regulates the profession in the jurisdiction where you intend to live and work.
There are over 50 professional fields that are licensed in all U.S. states and territories, of which a majority require some formal postsecondary education or training as a prerequisite for entry. Not all of these professions have specialized credential evaluation services, nor do all of them have procedures for recognizing non-U.S. qualifications. The information below is provided for professions in which there are recognized U.S. accrediting agencies for pre-professional education. This information should not be considered exhaustive, and you should always consult state licensing boards and professional associations directly for the most timely and authoritative guidance.
Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) is a national association of state and provincial licensing authorities (it includes Canadian boards). The website provides extensive information, directories, and links to licensing boards and national professional associations.
Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards (FARB) is an organization composed of national associations of state licensing boards in selected professional fields, providing information on joint activities and links.
National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA) is an organization of professional associations and licensing examination bodies that have agreed to common standards and submit to NOCA accreditation.
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) provides extensive information and resources concerning the practice of accounting in the United States, becoming an accountant, and information on legal issues including links to state associations and licensing authorities.
International CPA Applicants is information and guidance prepared for accountancy graduates from outside the United States who seek to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination.
National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) provides information on state licensing boards, the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination, and the International Qualifications Examination (IQEX) for non-U.S. accountants seeking recognition for purposes of working with U.S. accountants or prior to taking the U.S. CPA examination.
The allied health professions are generally considered to include most of the clinical laboratory, assisting, and diagnostic specializations that provide specialized support to nurses and physicians.
Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) is authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to conduct credential evaluations and issue certificates of eligibility for non-U.S. holders of qualifications in medical technology, clinical laboratory science, medical and clinical laboratory technicians, and physician assistants as well as occupational and physical therapy (see below).
American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthic Care (ABCOP) provides information on the professions that provide technical and clinical care to patients requiring medical protheses, shoes, and other therapeutic devices; certification and licensure; and educational requirements.
ARCHITECTURE AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
National Council of Architecture Registration Boards (NCARB) provides information on the licensure of architects, state requirements, and links to state boards.
NCARB Requirements for Certification of Foreign Architects provides guidance for non-U.S. architects seeking to become registered in the United States.
NCARB Reciprocity Information provides information on state reciprocity arrangements.
EESA-NCARB Evaluation Services for Architects is the approved credential evaluation service for non-U.S. architects seeking to become registered by state licensing boards.
Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) provides information on the licensure of landscape architects in the United States, including the Landscape Architecture Registration Examination (LARE). The website may be difficult to navigate depending on your system characteristics.
Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB) provides information on U.S. requirements for the licensure of chiropractors, including state policies and links to state boards.
National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) provides information on licensing examinations, including the Special Purpose Exam for Chiropractic (SPEC) for which licensed non-U.S. chiropractors are eligible.
There is no nationally recognized credential evaluation service or recognition process for the cosmetology professions. Check with individual state boards for guidance.
National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) provides information on licensure in the professions related to hairstyling, barbering, nail care and other cosmetic services.
There is no nationally recognized credential evaluation service or recognition process for the counseling professions. Check with individual state boards for guidance.
American Counseling Association (ACA) Licensure and Certification Page provides information and resources on the requirements and procedures for the licensing of counselors in the United States.
National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) provides information on national and state certification examinations. provides information on the licensed profession of school counselor and state certification requirements.
American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB) provides information on state licensing policies, portability of licenses, and links to state boards.
American School Counselor Association (ASCA) provides information about the certification of counselors licensed to provide services to students and parents in U.S. schools.
American Dental Association (ADA) – U.S. Licensure for International Dentists provides extensive information and resources on the process of becoming licensed to practice in the United States.
American Association of Dental Examiners (AADE) provides information on state licensure requirements and links to state boards.
American Dental Hygiene Association (ADHA) Licensure Facts provides information on the procedure for becoming licensed as a dental hygienist in the United States.
American Dietetic Association (ADA) International Fact Sheet provides detailed information and resources on the process for becoming a registered dietician or dietician assistant in the United States, including a list of authorized credential evaluation services.
Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) provides information on dietetic registration examinations and state licensure laws, including links to state licensing agencies.
National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) provides information on the engineering profession in the United States including the various engineering specializations and related licensure information.
Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) provides, under “International Activities” on its home page, links to information on mutual recognition agreements and memoranda of understanding with engineering societies and educational institutions in other countries as well as frequently asked questions about obtaining recognition for non-U.S. engineering education.
National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) provides extensive information on the process of becoming a licensed professional engineer or surveyor in the United States, including state boards and their licensing requirements and licensing examinations.
NCEES Licensing Requirements Survey provides, under questions 23-25, information on individual state policies respecting non-U.S. engineering qualifications.
NCEES Licensure for Engineers provides a guide to the licensure process and specific requirements for persons with non-U.S. engineering qualifications.
Center for Professional Engineering Education Services (CPEES) is the credential evaluation service used by state engineering licensure boards to evaluate applicants with non-U.S. engineering qualifications.
There is no nationally recognized credential evaluation service or recognition process for the funeral service and embalming professions. Check with individual state boards for guidance.
American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) provides general information about the profession in the United States.
International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards (ICFSEB) provides more detailed information about funeral service careers, state regulations, and links to state licensing boards.
U.S. states and territories vary as to their policies with respect to non-U.S. legal qualifications. Some jurisdictions grant partial recognition and others do not, and additional requirements may have to be met. Check with individual state bar examination boards for guidance and for any recommended credential evaluation services.
American Bar Association (ABA) Post-J.D. Programs provides information on foreign study options for U.S. and non-U.S. lawyers and information on bar admissions for lawyers trained outside the United States.
National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) provides information on admission to practice law, multi-state bar examinations, and links to state boards of bar examiners. Note: The website is secure but no password is required – just click on “ok” and proceed.
Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions is the official guide to admission to practice law in the United States, and contains a table of state policies with respect to the recognition of non-U.S. legal qualifications.
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPY
There is no nationally recognized credential evaluation service or recognition process for marriage and family therapy. Check with individual state boards for guidance.
American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) provides extensive information on the profession and links to additional resources.
Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) provides information on state licensing boards, the national licensing examination, and other resources.
There is no nationally recognized credential evaluation service or recognition process for the massage therapy professions. Check with individual state boards for guidance.
American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) provides information on the U.S. profession and information on state massage practice laws and requirements.
National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) provides information on national professional examinations and certification, state regulations, and links to state licensing authorities.
Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) provides information on the medical licensure process in the United States, educational and credentialing requirements, examinations, and links to state boards.
Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is the authorized credential evaluation and guidance agency for non-U.S. physicians and graduates of non-U.S. medical schools who seek to practice in the United States or apply for a U.S. medical residency program. It provides comprehensive information and resources on licensure, the U.S. Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE), residencies, and recognition.
International Medical Education Directory (IMED) provides information on non-U.S. medical schools recognized by the competent authorities in their home countries.
Reference Guide for Medical Education Credentials provides a directory of the medical qualifications from other countries that are recognized by ECFMG as providing evidence of comparability to U.S. first-professional education in medicine.
American Nurses Association (ANA) Guide for Foreign Educated Nurses provides information on the process of becoming a registered nurse (RN) in the United States with non-U.S. nursing qualifications.
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) provides information on state boards and their policies, the NCLEX examination for Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses, the NNAAP competency evaluation for Nurse Aides, and information on requirements for international nurses.
Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) is the authorized credential evaluation service used by state boards of nursing and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to certify the qualifications of nurses educated outside the United States. (See Allied Health Professions, above, for additional information about CGFNS.)
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) is the authorized credential evaluation service for the certification of occupational therapists trained outside the United States.
Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) provides information on state optometry boards and regulations and guidance for international optometrists interested in qualifying for U.S. licensure.
National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) provides information on the process and examinations for becoming licensed as an optometrist in the United States.
OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE (OSTEOPATHY)
There is no nationally recognized credential evaluation service or recognition process for oesteopathic medicine. Check with individual state boards for guidance (see Medicine above).
National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) provides information on the U.S. national licensing examination for osteopathic medicine.
American Osteopathic Association International FAQs provides information on policies and procedures related to the practice of osteopathic medicine internationally.
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) provides information on state regulation of pharmacists and pharmacy assistants, as well as links to state boards.
Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC) provides information on the required process for obtaining an evaluation of non-U.S. qualifications in pharmacy. FPGEC is operated by NABP and accepted by state boards of pharmacy.
Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) provides information on state requirements for licensure as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, links to state boards, and details of the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
FSBPT Licensure of Foreign-Educated Physical Therapists provides information on requirements for the U.S. licensure of physical therapists trained outside the United States.
Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT) is the credential evaluation service authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and state licensing boards to certify non-U.S. physical therapy qualifications.
PODIATRIC MEDICINE (PODIATRY)
There is no nationally recognized credential evaluation service or recognition process for podiatric medicine. Check with individual state boards for guidance.
Federation of Podiatric Medical Boards (FPMB) provides information on the practice of podiatric medicine in the United States, state requirements, and links to state licensing boards.
There is no nationally recognized credential evaluation service or recognition process for the professional practice of psychology. Check with individual state boards for guidance.
Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) provides information on state boards, requirements for licensure, approved U.S. doctoral programs, and other matters.
American Board of Professional Psychologists (ABPP) provides information on the process of becoming certified to practice various psychological specializations, usually at the post-doctoral level.
National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides information on the process of becoming certified as a psychologist licensed to provide diagnostic services in schools.
Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) provides information on licensure requirements, licensing examinations, and links to state licensing boards.
Social Work Laws and Regulations Online Comparison Guide provides a detailed analysis of state licensing requirements including recognition of non-U.S. social work qualifications.
International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service (ISWDRES) is the social work credential evaluation service provided by the Council on Social Work Education to state licensing boards and applicants with non-U.S. qualifications.
Higher Education. The role of professor or other academic faculty in higher education institutions is not a regulated profession in the United States. Higher education faculty are employees of their institution and employment policies are set by the institution. Professional standards are set by the disciplinary or professional association in the faculty member’s field. Faculty employed to teach in programs leading to qualifications for licensed professions may be required to hold professional licenses. Federal and state law uphold the right to freedom of research and teaching under Constitutional guarantees of free speech and association, and this is further underpinned by academic contracts and labor agreements.
School Teaching. School-level teaching is a regulated profession in every U.S. state and territory. Teachers may be certified in one or more subjects, by grade level, and hold administrative certificates if they are involved in supervising or managing schools.
Recognition of teacher credentials from another state is often limited, and recognition of non-U.S. teaching qualifications is also rare. There is no nationally recognized credential evaluation service or recognition process for teachers or school administrators. Check with individual state boards for guidance.
National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) provides information on teacher certification authorities in its State and Province Contacts directory.
Certification Requirements for 50 States is a database provided by the University of Kentucky that links directly to state teacher certification websites. Some of these have information for teachers from outside the United States or who have non-U.S. qualifications.
National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME) provides extensive information about the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE). The section on “Information for Graduates of Non-Accredited Schools” provides information on licensing procedures for persons with non-U.S. qualifications.
American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) provides information on the licensure of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and international veterinarians as well as links to state boards.
Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) is a credential evaluation service provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association and recognized by all state veterinary licensing boards for assessing non-U.S. veterinary education.
Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE) is a credential evaluation service provided by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards and recognized by licensing boards in 24 states.
See also: Information for Persons Seeking to Study in the United States
Information for Persons Seeking to Work in the United States
Visiting the United States
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