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Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation

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Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) – Booth #L5

Who We Are

DPOR is an executive branch agency that oversees 18 regulatory boards and programs. Our policy boards–plus the Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation (BPOR)–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 several hundred license types, ranging from architects and contractors to cosmetologists and professional wrestlers.

What We Do

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.