For Immediate Release - July 08, 2014

Division Of Professional Licensure Announces Reduced License Fees For Qualifying Military Members

Agency to offer reduced initial license and application fees for active military, veterans, and spouses qualifying for benefits under the VALOR Act

BOSTON – The Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) today announced that individuals who qualify under the VALOR Act will now be able to obtain new professional licenses for a reduced fee.

The announcement follows legislation signed into law by Governor Patrick this past April. The law, also known as the VALOR Act II, expands the initial protections offered to service members and their families in the 2012 VALOR Act (Veterans’ Allowances, Labor, Outreach, and Recognition).

“We in Massachusetts recognize the sacrifices made by the men and women in our armed forces, as well as by their families,” said Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. “We are proud to offer these accommodations to help ensure that military personnel can transition more easily to the civilian workforce, and that military spouses who are relocated to Massachusetts can continue working their trade or profession while they are here.”

“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has worked hard to ensure veterans have the opportunity to apply their skills in civilian employment and to earn civilian occupational credentials and licenses,” said Coleman Nee, Secretary of Veterans’ Services.  “Veterans are highly trained and when their service is concluded, we owe it to them and their families to help them accomplish a successful transition to the civilian labor market.  Leveraging the skills of our veterans and their families will build a stronger workforce in Massachusetts and the VALOR Act II fee waivers will ease employment challenges our veterans face.”

“The Division of Professional Licensure is pleased to provide these additional benefits to those who serve our country in the military, and their families,” said DPL Director Mark Kmetz.  “We deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made, and we hope to facilitate their return to the workforce in Massachusetts.” 

DPL, which oversees 31 boards of registration, has been working with its licensing vendors to waive the initial license and application fees for individuals qualifying for benefits under the original VALOR Act.  Under the update to the law, the Commonwealth will waive its portion of the initial license and application fees, resulting in reduced licensing costs for qualified applicants. For example, an applicant for a journeyman plumber’s license will now pay only $135 of the total $218 fee normally assessed during the licensing and application process. DPL will continue to work with vendors who assist with the processing of license applications to further reduce costs for all qualifying active duty military, relocated military spouses, and veterans.

To be eligible for this benefit, interested parties must self-identify as a service member, military spouse, or veteran, by visiting www.mass.gov/dpl/valor, downloading and completing the appropriate affidavit form, and returning it to DPL along with other requested documents.  The new law does not extend the waiver to other fees associated with the licensing process, such as renewal fees.

The new law also extends protections to students enrolled in private occupational schools by prohibiting the imposition of academic or financial penalties on students performing active-duty military service. Specifically, where a student is unable to complete an academic course because that student is called to or enlists in active duty, schools must allow that student the option of either completing the course at a later date without penalty, or withdrawing from the course with a full refund of fees and tuition paid.  If a student chooses to complete the course at a later date and the course is no longer available upon the student’s return, the student must be allowed to complete a replacement course for equivalent credit without penalty.  If a student chooses to withdraw from the course, the student’s record must reflect that his or her withdrawal is due to active-duty military service.

“An important part of our omnibus veterans’ legislation focused on transitional issues related to our servicemen and women,” said State Senator Mike Rush, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs.  “These provisions assist our veterans both financially and academically and I commend Undersecretary Anthony for promptly implementing these important aspects of the new law.”

“The honorable men and women who wear our nation's uniform deserve all the help we can give them when it comes time to transition back into civilian life," said State Representative Carlo Basile, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. "The updated VALOR Act passed by the legislature and signed by the governor will help make it easier for veterans to apply for professional licensure and I'm proud of the work we have done to make sure Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in veterans' services.”

The Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.  The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for more than 370,000 licensees in trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 31 boards of registration.  DPL also licenses and regulates private occupational schools.

Consumers are urged to visit the DPL's website at www.mass.gov/dpl and select the “Check a Professional's License” link to determine whether a professional with whom they may do business is licensed and in good standing.  Follow DPL on Twitter @MassDPL.

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Visit the Office’s website at www.mass.gov/consumer. Follow the Office at its blog, on Facebook and on Twitter, @Mass_Consumer