Virginia launches state’s first digital professional licensing system

More than 300,000 licensed workers can now update their professional licenses using a mobile app, instead of waiting for a paper certificate in the mail.
Hai Phung / Unsplash

More than 300,000 licensed professionals across Virginia will benefit from a new electronic licensing program that Gov. Ralph Northam kicked off on Tuesday, designed to be faster and more efficient than the paper-based program the commonwealth currently uses.

Through a partnership with electronic credentialing firm Merit, Virginia’s Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation will begin issuing digital licenses to workers immediately. The licenses can be updated in real time as their owners earn certifications and other qualifications. DPOR estimates that 313,182 workers split among 40 industries working in Virginia require some form of a license or certification to do their jobs.

“Virginia is taking a bold step forward into the digital age,” Mary Broz-Vaughan, acting director of Virginia’s DPOR, said in a press release. “This new partnership has the potential to simplify everyday activities for both the hardworking businesses and individuals that make up Virginia’s economy.”

People working across a range of trades — from construction workers to barbers — will be able to access the new digital licenses through Merit’s mobile app or a web browser at no cost to themselves or the state.


“Electronic credentials will help cut red tape and modernize what is currently an antiquated system,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a press release. “The innovative use of technology by a state agency to streamline and enhance its services to Virginia’s citizens, consumers, workers, and industry is one of the reasons why our Commonwealth is the best place for business.”

While Virginia is one of the first states to offer digital licensing on a mobile app, other states, including Indiana and Pennsylvania, offer online renewal and verification.

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