Forester Licensing

mcour at telxon.com mcour at telxon.com
Tue Mar 3 13:20:37 EST 1998


Some further points on liscensing professionals:

Liscensing often keeps the most poorly qualified people out of
a profession.  But it can also keep out the most qualified people.
You see, I have a PhD in Physics from MIT and I would dearly love
to teach physical science at the High School or College level.  There
is a serious glut of Physicists on the market right now, so the college
teaching jobs are few and far between.

The problem with liscensing is that I would need to get a teaching certificate
(jump through a bunch of hoops, go back to school, student teach, etc.) to
teach at a public high school.  The teaching certificate is not needed to
teach at private schools, and I've had two offers from private Christian
schools, but both were for less than half of what I'm making as an engineer.
Public schools can usually do much better and there are several public schools
in the area that could pay a teacher with my credentials about 80% of what I'm
making now.  That's enoug to pay the mortgage.  A friend of mine who teaches
Physics in a local suburb actually makes about the same salary as I do.

It's silly when you think about it.  I'm qualified and could easily be hired
to teach at any College or University in the country, but I can't teach in a
public high school.  I understand the concerns about a PhD's ability to
interact and communicate with high school students,  but these issues are
better answered by a school's principal, faculty, and administration than by a
teaching certificate.

So. depending on the particulars, professional liscensing can keep qualified
people out of a profession, as well as keeping out the riff-raff.  In addition
to the issue described above, depending on state-to-state liscensing
differences, it could be very difficult for a professional in one state to
move his practice to another state.  Any lawyers out there ever try to move to
Louisiana?  Depending on the two states involved, it is ofen difficult for
teachers to move.

I'm not sure what's involved in liscensing foresters, but be careful lest you
keep qualified foresters from practicing in your state.  Or is that really
your true motivation?  Let's make forestry a club that's hard to get into so
we'll have less competition and can charge higher prices.  Now, I am not
accusing foresters of this, it's just that in other areas I have strongly
suspected this as a motivation of professional liscensing, especially when the
professionals themselves tend to be strong proponents of liscensing.

As a seperate example of professional liscensing gone awry.  A young woman was
recently fined in Cleveland for practicing hair styling without a liscense.
It seems that she was skilled at a creating a particular ethnic hairstyle, and
had a number of clients who paid her big bucks for the service.  Neither her
nor her clients were displeased with her lack of a liscense, but her
competitors were jealous and reported her.  The legal wheels turned and she
was fined.  In an interview, the young woman was reluctant to take the time
and expense to attend a beauty school (required for the liscense) which would
teach ner nothing about the ethnic hairstyle in which she specialized.  Why
should she pay and take time away from her lucrative profession to learn stuff
she doesn't need to know?

I would bet that there are a lot of analogues to these examples in the
forestry profession, but I'm not familiar enough with forestry to point them
out.  But I expect that most foresters will see them if they consider the
issue carefully.

Here's a stab at one.  You pros tell me whether it's a fantasy or a real
possibility.  Suppose a guy has been in the maple syrup business for his whole
life.  He's successfully implemented every stage from site selection, to
planting, thinning, tapping, boiling, and marketing.  Having gained the
knowledge to set up and operate a very successful maple syrup operation, a
newcomer to the maple syrup business wants to hire him as a consultant to help
him get into the business.  The problem is that some of the consulting work
overlaps with forestry and our experienced syrup producer isn't liscensed.
Now our maple expert probably knows much more about the maple sugaring aspects
of forestry than most liscensed foresters, but he can't consult for the
newcomer without going back to school (or even going to school in the first
place), taking tests, and getting liscensed as a forester.

Michael Courtney

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