DSPS: Record number of initial licenses issued to professionals in 2023

For the Tomahawk Leader

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) this week announced that it issued 60,696 initial licenses to professionals in 2023, representing a 38% increase over the 44,047 issued in 2022 and is the most the department has ever issued in a single year.

“We’re issuing more licenses more quickly than we ever have at DSPS,” said DSPS Secretary-designee Dan Hereth. “This success is a reflection of our credentialing team’s work and our agency’s focus on improving licensing times and getting qualified professionals into the workforce as quickly as possible without compromising the safety of Wisconsinites. When Governor Evers appointed me to lead this agency 17 months ago, we were talking about DSPS licensing review times in terms of months. We went from months to weeks, and now we’re measuring application review times in days.”

In a release, DSPS said the current average time it takes for it to review application materials is 3.6 calendar days, meaning DSPS is approving applicants who satisfy all legal requirements for a license in just a few days.

The department’s Occupational Licensing: By the Numbers performance dashboard (www.license.wi.gov/s/performance-data) tracks review times on the agency’s website and updates in real-time.

An audit of professional credentialing in Wisconsin found the “amount of time to issue initial credentials decreased considerably” in fiscal year 2023 (FY23), including a 52% year-over-year drop in the average time to receive a health license.

“This improvement comes in spite of a 60% increase in demand for applications over the last three fiscal years, according to the audit,” DSPS stated.

“Over FY23 alone, the increase in initial licenses issued by our department equates to $54 million more in wages for graduates in key industries across Wisconsin,” Hereth noted.

DSPS said it has “invested heavily in technology and staffing, with Governor Tony Evers directing emergency federal funding to the agency.”

“The department used the funding to create an online, self-guided system to apply for or renew a license and to add temporary staff to its credentialing team,” DSPS stated.

“That investment, along with a focus on improving processes, led to the record number of licenses issued last year,” said DSPS Division Administrator of Professional Credential Processing, Niko Ruud.

DSPS moved Health licenses onto the online system, called LicensE, in May 2022. Business licensing was moved to the online system in May 2023, followed by Trades licensing earlier this month.

About DSPS

DSPS issues more than 240 unique licenses, administers dozens of boards and councils that regulate professions, enforces state building codes and maintains the Wisconsin Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a key tool in the multi-faceted public health campaign to stem excessive opioid prescribing. A fee-based agency, DSPS is self-sustaining and receives no general fund tax dollars for its day-to-day operations. With four offices and 250 employees throughout Wisconsin, DSPS collaborates with constituents and stakeholders across a wide range of industries to promote safety and advance the economy.

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