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May is Military Appreciation Month and the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, together with its regulatory agencies, acknowledges and remembers all the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. The Office also extends sincere and continued gratitude to our veterans and active duty members of the Armed Forces.

It is important to remind our service members and their families of the benefits offered to them under this Office and its agencies regulatory control. The Veterans’ Access, Livelihood, Opportunity, and Resources Act (aka the “VALOR Act”) allows the Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) to offer certain benefits to active duty military, veterans, and military families, including: credit for certain professional experience gained while in the military; expedited processing of applications; fee waivers; and extension of the life of a license.

Each of DPL’s 28 boards of registration accepts relevant education, training, and service completed by an applicant for licensure as a member of the armed forces or the military reserves, toward the qualifications required for licensure.

The license of a member of the military who is on active duty will remain valid until he or she is released from active duty, and for 90 days thereafter. Additionally, the law allows for an expedited licensure process for military spouses who are licensed in other states and have left employment there to accompany a spouse relocated to the Commonwealth due to a military transfer.

The VALOR Act II authorizes DPL to waive the Commonwealth’s portion of the initial licensure fee for active duty service members, military spouses, and veterans. Applicants are advised that they may still be required to pay fees charged by private vendors who assist DPL in processing license applications or administering exams. This benefit also applies to the boards under the Office of Public Safety and Inspections, within the DPL.

Those students who are enrolled in private occupational schools, which are licensed by DPL, are also protected from incurring academic or financial penalties as a result of performing 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:

  • 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.

Our military personnel and their families cannot ever fully be thanked for their service and sacrifice, but the OCABR and its agencies are proud to support them in our capacity.

For more information on the Division of Professional Licensure’s licensing benefits for military personnel and their families, visit their website.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education.

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