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Giving Up a Professional License
Old 11-03-2011, 12:09 PM   #1
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Giving Up a Professional License

I technically "retired" in October 2010, but shortly thereafter went back to work on a "temporary" assignment with my former employer. My last day will be 31 December and I am contemplating letting my professional license lapse by not paying the annual dues in January and by not completing the additional continuing education classes that are mandated by my profession. While I would like to maintain my license (just in case), I can't justify the expense if I am unlikely to use it. However, it has been my "security blanket," and perhaps part of my identity, for over 30 years and I find it difficult to let it go. Have others faced this issue? Any advice/comment?
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:19 PM   #2
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Yep, I faced that. The annual renewal fees were trivial but the effort to accumulate re-certification points primarily by attending continuing education classes would have been expensive and time consuming.

Fortunately, just in time, they implemented a special "retired" category which requires no annual renewal fees and no re-certification. So I went that way. There was an age and experience requirement which I met.

If it hadn't been for that "retired" category, I think I would have let the license expire. Sitting in expensive classes every year "just in case" would have been too much for me.
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:21 PM   #3
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I will be in the same situation as you when I retire early. I have two different professional licenses. If I do not engage in part time work after retirement, or otherwise find a funding source for these licenses, I think I may have to let them become inactive. It is hard though, because I think about all of the time and money that was spent in order to acquire them in the first place.
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:41 PM   #4
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I am considering that this next year myself, even though I am still working. I have been maintaining a license in a state I have not lived or worked in for 30 years. I have never stamped anything. The simple fact of having achieved a license has been sufficient to impress the rubes and keep me actively employed. My reputation and networking have been enough to keep me busy even in tough times. I am more in demand these days than ever. Gypsy engineer.

I am more concerned about dropping my professional society, from which the only benefit I have ever derived has been term life insurance. The fees remain the same, but the benefits decline annually.

What is more significant to me is, what will I do with my library? Over 40+ years I have accumulated a treasure trove of references and personal files. I have been looking for a young engineer who would appreciate my books, if not other irreplaceable files, but the list is very short. I doubt that a library would be interested, even my alma mater. Mine is a dying art. Much of it will go to the trash I suppose, but I may be able to find a home for the books.
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:48 PM   #5
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How easy would it be to relicense once you let it lapse? Do you have to go through all the original testing again, or maybe just catch up on classes and fees? Does not having the license severely limit or exclude you from w*rking part-time in your field of interest? Not something I had to deal with, but I did unexpectedly do some part-time w*rk for a couple of years. I might keep it until I hadn't used it for a couple of years if losing it was like jumping of a cliff.
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:48 PM   #6
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What is more significant to me is, what will I do with my library? Over 40+ years I have accumulated a treasure trove of references and personal files. I have been looking for a young engineer who would appreciate my books, if not other irreplaceable files, but the list is very short. I doubt that a library would be interested, even my alma mater. Mine is a dying art. Much of it will go to the trash I suppose, but I may be able to find a home for the books.
I advertised mine on Craig's List and gave them away to a local guy. While he didn't give me any money for them ( I didn't want any), he did stand in my driveway and patiently listen to old war stories about the profession for almost an hour. A very theraputic session for an old geezer five years away from his profession......
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:49 PM   #7
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Yep, I faced that. The annual renewal fees were trivial but the effort to accumulate re-certification points primarily by attending continuing education classes would have been expensive and time consuming.

Fortunately, just in time, they implemented a special "retired" category which requires no annual renewal fees and no re-certification. So I went that way. There was an age and experience requirement which I met.

If it hadn't been for that "retired" category, I think I would have let the license expire. Sitting in expensive classes every year "just in case" would have been too much for me.

+1 on this...



As I am working right now on getting my CE done this year Which, BTW, does not help me at all...
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:08 PM   #8
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I went inactive this last year on a particular license. Just called up the certifying authority and said what do I need to do? I had to file a request to go inactive. The advantage is that I don't have to pay a fee to remain inactive, and no CE requirements. I think to reactivate I have to make up all missed CE up to a limit (45 hrs??). And pay a small fee to renew on top of annual license fee.

As others have expressed, it was the CE requirements that made me go inactive, not the $400 or so annual license fee. 2 days a year plus many many hundreds in tuition for CEs - no thanks!
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:46 PM   #9
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I went inactive this last year on a particular license. Just called up the certifying authority and said what do I need to do? I had to file a request to go inactive. The advantage is that I don't have to pay a fee to remain inactive, and no CE requirements. I think to reactivate I have to make up all missed CE up to a limit (45 hrs??). And pay a small fee to renew on top of annual license fee.

As others have expressed, it was the CE requirements that made me go inactive, not the $400 or so annual license fee. 2 days a year plus many many hundreds in tuition for CEs - no thanks!

Only 2 days.... PIKER...


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Old 11-03-2011, 02:31 PM   #10
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Only 2 days.... PIKER...
That's on top of the 2+ days of professional development I already have to put in to maintain my license that I use in my 9 to 5 job.
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:54 PM   #11
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My husband is an architect and has pondered the same. He can earn CE credits through the NCARB for a reasonable cost and local credit programs (energy saving design, lighting, for example) are often sponsored by utilities at no charge. He went 'emeritus' on one state licence and is maintaining the other. Maintaining his licence enables him to help one of the kids with land use planning issues, the CEs keep is busy brain perking.

The AIA... don't get him started. The Construction Specifications Institute and NCARB are valuable programs in his opinion.
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Old 11-03-2011, 03:40 PM   #12
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I will face this soon, but it depends heavily on the cost/benefit. For me, the cost will be low. I'm a CMA (Certified Management Accountant), and they have a retiree renewal which is only about $40/year...and I can get all the CPE free of charge through group video sessions.

I can certainly understand that if the costs are high, this would be a tough call. IMO, you may want to pony up for one year just to give yourself time to think about whether you'll really need it long-term.
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Old 11-03-2011, 03:51 PM   #13
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My last day will be 31 December and I am contemplating letting my professional license lapse by not paying the annual dues in January and by not completing the additional continuing education classes that are mandated by my profession.
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I can certainly understand that if the costs are high, this would be a tough call. IMO, you may want to pony up for one year just to give yourself time to think about whether you'll really need it long-term.
+1 Complete retirement is a big adjustment. Maybe it would be easier for you if you kept the license for a year or two, and then let it lapse. By that time, you will have a better sense as to whether or not you think you will ever need or want your license any more.
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Old 11-03-2011, 03:58 PM   #14
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I kept my license for a few years after I retired but next year when it becomes due I am letting it lapse . I feel there is no way I will return to Nursing now so it is time .
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:51 PM   #15
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Can you put your license on inactive? If so, you could do that jan1 and possibly postpone your ultimate decision, payment, and any professional development responsibilities until a later date.

I'm glad you brought this up. Mine expires 11/30/2012. I don't know if I'll still be working part time then, so I'll build up professional development hours now on the company dime so that I'm covered in case I retire and decide later to renew on my own next year.
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:24 PM   #16
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It's been a tough decision for me. I will need to attend 33 hours of continuing education by the end of the year to satisfy my professional licensing requirements (we report them every 3 years) and of course I will have to pay dues ($425). And, I'm settling down in a state located nearly 2,000 miles from the only state where I am licensed to practice. However, my license it essential if I ever want to work accept a part-time gig with the Fed. Gov't (as I am doing now). So, it's tough letting it go. In the end, I will probably try to pick up the credits, bite the bullet, and pay the dues . . . at least for the coming year. But, I know it is going to be very difficult when the time comes to cut the cord. There's no easy way to "go back" once I let my license lapse. I would have to take the licensing exam again . . . I'd rather have a hundred root canals.
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:31 PM   #17
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I am contemplating letting my professional license lapse by not paying the annual dues in January and by not completing the additional continuing education classes that are mandated by my profession. While I would like to maintain my license (just in case), I can't justify the expense if I am unlikely to use it. However, it has been my "security blanket," and perhaps part of my identity, for over 30 years and I find it difficult to let it go. Have others faced this issue? Any advice/comment?
AS others have mentioned check and see if you can either let your license go inactive or emeritus. I have licenses in 2 professions. One license I still use (working part time). The other I do not. For the license I don't use I had a couple of options.

Choice 1 - I could go inactive and would not have to do continuing education and would pay a very nominal amount to maintain the inactive license. If I did that I could not do any work in that profession at all. However, it could be reactivated at any time. I actually did go inactive several years ago when I wasn't using it and then went back to active a few years ago.

Choice 2 - If retired I could go emeritus which was similar to Choice 1, but I would be allowed to do volunteer work in the profession. I would probably choose this now over Choice 1.

Choice 3 - I was able to find mostly online courses to do continuing education at low cost and a couple of local in person courses that weren't costly and just went ahead and renewed my license as active for 2 more years. I'll decide then whether to go emeritus or not.
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:49 PM   #18
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Geoffrey-may I suggest that you set yourself up to keep the license for next year? More than anything, this is simply insurance for you. If you have come this far in the planning, you have probably planned well, and will have "enough" to comfortably FIRE. However, sometimes people find that they want something more fulfilling to do, than to sit around watching the boob tube all day (or gardening, or whatever it is you plan to do in your newly found free time). Having the certifications will mean that you "can" go back to the old profession, if you ever decided you wanted to. In that sense it is also insurance. If after a year, you find that you are happily FIREd and do not need that insurance any longer, you could always give it up at that point. (BTW, one of my company's business services is providing career advice and training, and this piece of advice is one we would always give). FWIW

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Old 11-03-2011, 11:04 PM   #19
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A friend of my quit his law job a dozen years ago and let his license lapse (I think that is the right word). A couple of years ago he decide to renew his laws, the CA bar association was happy to do so if he paid his past dues, and got current with continue ed requirements. I believe he came out ahead because he didn't have to pay for all of the continuing ed classes.
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:09 PM   #20
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A friend of my quit his law job a dozen years ago and let his license lapse (I think that is the right word). A couple of years ago he decide to renew his laws, the CA bar association was happy to do so if he paid his past dues, and got current with continue ed requirements. I believe he came out ahead because he didn't have to pay for all of the continuing ed classes.
This totally depends upon the profession and state law. For example, on the profession where I might go emeritus (or inactive) in the future, it would be a terrible error to just let my license lapse. If I let it lapse, not only would I have to later on take the licensing exam again (a costly annoyance) but I would have to meet the then current requirements to obtain a license. So, for example, that could potentially having to try to go back to graduate course to take some new required course which might be impossible to do.

I believe that the OP indicated that for his profession if he lets his license lapse he would have to retake the licensing exam (I would also suggest he find out if he would also have to meet the then current licensing criteria. That would be another reason to keep his license current or see if there is an inactive option).
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