Author Topic: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?  (Read 8535 times)

jfer_rose

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Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« on: January 30, 2014, 01:52:39 PM »
I passed the relevant tests and obtained my professional license in 2006. In 2008, I switched to a job that neither requires the license, nor pays for me to maintain it despite the fact that the work I do is still somewhat related to the license I hold. I just got notice that my license renewal fee is due and now I'm wondering if it might make more sense to let the license expire.

I hope to stop working full time in ten years or so. I don't anticipate ever needing this license yet I feel so reluctant to close the door, just in case I change paths. Once lapsed, the license will be somewhat of a hassle to reinstate (a HUGE hassle if I let it lapse for 5 years or more). The license was very difficult to earn-- it entailed passing five exams, some of which had passing rates of about 30%-- so in some ways having it feels like a badge of honor. But the reality is that I never actually needed the license to begin with so it doesn't make a ton of sense to spend money to maintain it.

 Has anyone else experienced anything similar and do you have any words of wisdom to share?

seattlecyclone

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 01:58:35 PM »
How expensive is the renewal fee? How likely is it that you'll need it in the future? If you move to a job that requires this license, how much more money would you be earning compared to a job that didn't require the license?

If the fee is on the order of $100, I'd probably just renew it. You never know what the future might hold, and having the license might give you a leg up when you apply for your next job.

oldtoyota

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 02:01:28 PM »
That is a tricky call especially without knowing what the license is for (and I can understand if you don't want to say).

How much does it cost per year?

Could it make sense to keep it for another five years just in case you decide to move paths? At the five year mark, you'd be only five years from your projected retirement and it seems like the license would be even less important than now.

However, it's tricky to say whether you should keep it for five more years given that I do not know if it costs $500 or $1,000 to maintain.

And I understand it was difficult to get. I think some would say the time spent to get it is akin to a "sunk cost" and so to ignore that even though it's not easy to do so. =-)

If a similar situation helps, I'll add this. I had a business structure when I ran my own consulting business. Every year, I paid $300 to keep the LLC alive. Eventually, I did not want to work on the business. I gave my clients to others and I kept the business "alive" for a few more years. When I felt ready to close it down, I did so. That saved me the $300 in fees as well as the money I used to pay an accountant to handle the tax work.

My situation is not exactly the same, yet my decision was based on 1) whether I felt ready and 2) whether I would use the business structure.

Hope this helps!

Wolf_Stache

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 02:29:36 PM »
I faced this same dilemma recently with my CPA license. I am doing Financial Accounting, and I don't need the CPA designation for my current work. My company doesn't reimburse the class tuiton for CPE or the licensing fees.

I let mine drop, but CPA licenses are pretty easy to reinstate so I don't think its a huge deal. Sounds like yours might be more of a hassle.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 02:40:15 PM »
Based on the description I was thinking this was a CPA license. I'm a CPA and I've never looked into reinstating the license since I've never considered letting it lapse. I would've thought it would be very difficult to reinstate, but I'll defer to GamerGirl since she's let hers lapse.

Whatever the license is, I would hang onto it for 5 more years based on your description. In 5 years you let it lapse, then in 5 more years you'll be able to stop working. If at any time during the last 5 working years you feel you might need it again it will still be easier to reinstate.

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 02:47:55 PM »
I had to make this decision with my CPA license last year. The renewal fee is trivial ($100) but the continuing education to maintain the license can get pricey. And my employer seems to be leaning towards maybe not paying for it any more (up in the air...)

Putting my license on "inactive" status isn't difficult in my state, and I would think that, if I needed it for my job in the future, my employer should be willing to pay the fees to have it put back on active status.

Professional licensing is generally a state by state thing though...

Numbers Man

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2014, 04:00:19 PM »
I let my CPA License lapse since I moved to another state and am at a phase in my life where I don't want to spend the time on CPE. Only let your license lapse if you don't believe there are any benefits to having that license.

Workinghard

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2014, 04:54:05 PM »
Years ago I wanted to drop my nursing license because I wasn't working.  My dh convinced me to renew it every time it was due. I am so glad I did!  I went back to work 10 years later. It would have been extremely difficult to retest. 

minimalist

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2014, 05:02:30 PM »
Can you be less vague? I think it depends on the license. I would renew something like a CPA, CFA, etc. license past early retirement because they open up more part-time consulting opportunities.

Wolf_Stache

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2014, 11:21:42 AM »
Based on the description I was thinking this was a CPA license. I'm a CPA and I've never looked into reinstating the license since I've never considered letting it lapse. I would've thought it would be very difficult to reinstate, but I'll defer to GamerGirl since she's let hers lapse.

Whatever the license is, I would hang onto it for 5 more years based on your description. In 5 years you let it lapse, then in 5 more years you'll be able to stop working. If at any time during the last 5 working years you feel you might need it again it will still be easier to reinstate.

You do have to catch up on the last three years of CPE to reinstate, but thats the only requirement. I would have just changed it to inactive but WA Doesn't allow that anymore.

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2014, 11:27:55 AM »
Based on the description I was thinking this was a CPA license. I'm a CPA and I've never looked into reinstating the license since I've never considered letting it lapse. I would've thought it would be very difficult to reinstate, but I'll defer to GamerGirl since she's let hers lapse.

Whatever the license is, I would hang onto it for 5 more years based on your description. In 5 years you let it lapse, then in 5 more years you'll be able to stop working. If at any time during the last 5 working years you feel you might need it again it will still be easier to reinstate.

You do have to catch up on the last three years of CPE to reinstate, but thats the only requirement. I would have just changed it to inactive but WA Doesn't allow that anymore.

In my state, you only have to do 80 hours to reinstate, which amounts to 2 years worth of CPE, but you can cram it into one. That's why it's important to look at your state's licensing rules.

oldtoyota

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 12:01:55 PM »

Whatever the license is, I would hang onto it for 5 more years based on your description. In 5 years you let it lapse, then in 5 more years you'll be able to stop working. If at any time during the last 5 working years you feel you might need it again it will still be easier to reinstate.

That's what I was trying to say, but you said it better. =-)

Lorin

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2014, 12:31:32 PM »
Is it possible to go to an inactive status rather then letting it lapse? Sometimes there's a less expensive option that will make it easier to get it reinstated.

chardog

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2014, 10:07:36 PM »
Is it possible to go to an inactive status rather then letting it lapse? Sometimes there's a less expensive option that will make it easier to get it reinstated.

That's what I am doing with my Engineering licence.  Very cheap "insurance".

MrsPete

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2014, 05:59:45 AM »
I'll face the same issue in a few years, and I'm going to maintain my license -- at least a while.  I don't anticipate I'll return to teaching after I've retired (but then, who ever thinks he or she will go back to work after retirement?).  I don't pay my own renewal fees right now, but I think it's in the neighborhood of $50 every five years, which is very low.  My renewal credits are pretty flexible and inexpensive. 

By keeping my license, though, if I want to tutor (or similar), I can still say I'm a licensed teacher.  And if I were to choose to sub, a licensed teacher gets paid more than a regular sub. 

I figure I can only lose by letting my license go. 

TomTX

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2014, 06:35:00 AM »
Unless it is quite costly, I would maintain the license.

Perhaps you will need a new job in the next 10 years. The license can only help.

Perhaps you want to do some consulting on the side, so that you can be done "working" in 8 years instead of 10. The license can only help.

Rural

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2014, 08:12:18 AM »
Unless it's thousands of dollars, I'd keep it. Even at thousands, I'd seriously consider it.

MissPeach

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2014, 01:00:53 AM »
Is it something you might need if you changed employers, decided to go on you own, or use in retirement? For example I knew several people with engineering licenses who you rent their license stamp out for extra income and just come in once a week to review and sign drawings/calcs. It was probably an hour a week for $1,000 /month. Are there ways you can benefit from it even in er?

jfer_rose

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2014, 01:18:04 PM »
Thanks everyone!

I really appreciate all your insights. I don't want to say what my license is because it's not a very common one. But your thoughtful comments really got me thinking about this. In particular, those who suggested maintaining it for five years and then considering letting it lapse. I hope to keep working part time once FI and it occurred to me that maybe I would start using the license at that point if I started my own business. It's true that the license cost is actually pretty low --$55 per year, paid every two years. I also need to consider the professional development/professional association membership costs.

In any case, I think I will renew now which will get me to 2016. I can always change my mind then.

Thanks again!!

Exflyboy

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Re: Is it worth the money to maintain my professional license?
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2014, 04:33:51 PM »
Hmm.. well my professional engineering license is quite hard to maintain due to the ongoing educational requirements.. 30 ours every two years is not much time but getting classes of the right level can be costly.

Like you though it was a boatload of study to get it so I will face the asme dilemma next year.

Frank