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Go to the Regulant Population List for the most recent number of regulated individuals/businsesses by license type.
DPOR is an executive branch agency under the Secretary of Commerce and Trade that oversees 17 policy boards. These boards are comprised of practitioners and citizens appointed by the governor and are responsible for regulating certain professions and occupations, as determined by the General Assembly. Our 200 employees serve more than 300,000 individuals and businesses across 167 license types, ranging from architects and contractors to cosmetologists and professional wrestlers.
DPOR issues professional credentials—licenses, certificates or registrations—in the least intrusive, least burdensome and most efficient way. Our goal is to ensure the minimum competency necessary to practice without harming the public, not to enhance professional stature or limit competition by keeping newcomers out. Policy boards determine the minimum standards necessary to enter a profession, and qualify applicants based on a combination of education, experience and examination.
DPOR also enforces standards of professional conduct. The agency investigates reports of regulatory violations and seeks to obtain compliance with the law or, when necessary, to discipline the licensee. Regulatory board sanctions against licensees include fines, probationary terms, suspension or license revocation.
Unlicensed activity—practicing a profession without a required state license—is a misdemeanor criminal violation. Regulatory boards do not have jurisdiction over unlicensed individuals. In cases involving allegations of unlicensed practice, DPOR attempts to obtain compliance with licensing requirements or works with local law enforcement to assist in bringing criminal charges. Ultimately, unlicensed activity is outside the boards' legal jurisdiction and prosecution is at the discretion of local officials.
DPOR strives to promote a positive business climate, ensure a competent workforce and provide exceptional customer service. As an executive branch agency under the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, we support Virginia's economic vitality by helping qualified people start businesses and work in their chosen fields. We protect the public by verifying minimum competency, investigating complaints, and upholding professional compliance with state law and regulations.
As a non-general fund agency, DPOR is financed solely by revenue collected through fees paid by licensees, not by tax revenues (general funds). Fees are adjusted periodically, as required by the "Callahan Act" (§ 54.1-113 of the Code of Virginia), to ensure revenues are sufficient to cover expenses, but not excessive.
DPOR operates in full view of the public and welcomes participation by licensees, consumers and all Virginians. All board meetings are announced in advance and open to the public, and board actions are reflected in the meeting minutes—all available online at the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.
Agency operations are governed by the Administrative Process Act (APA), which provides opportunities for public comment on proposed regulations as well as due process protections for licensees. The APA's three-stage process provides elected officials, businesses, individuals, and other interested parties ample opportunity to study proposed changes and provide comments.
Gordon N. Dixon
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