Illinois leader asks for $6 million to fix outdated professional licensing system

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– A state department leader is trying to improve the process of how people get professional licenses. 

On Tuesday, we told you about a nurse who waited nearly three months to get hers.  

The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation secretary’s plan hopes to fix that problem. 

“It’s completely antiquated, outdated, and can’t withstand some of the needs that we have here in 2023,” said Mario Treto Jr.  

 That system has been around since 1999. Not only is the system outdated, there’s also a backlog which has prevented her from working in a hospital. 

“Two to three months is ludicrous, and it’s been going on for years,” said Senator Chapin Rose. “And quite frankly, if this director hadn’t taken over, I have no doubt this will continue to go on. I mean, the Pritzker administration is known for four years how bad this has been, and it’s not just medical licenses.” 

Rose and several other lawmakers think that the wait is far too long. So does the secretary of IDFPR It’s why he’s asking the state for 6 million dollars. 

“To be able to fund a new licensing system that is going to reduce those license processing times,” said Treto. 

 Before Treto junior took this job, he was the director for real estate license.  

“Real estate licenses were taking six to eight weeks in that in that world. And now they’re taking five business days,” said Treto. 

 Treto thinks a new system like that one would streamline the process for other professional licenses 

 “If he can truly get us to a five-day turnaround, I think that’s pretty reasonable for most people,” said Rose. 

Over a million people in the state need a professional license to work. Whether that’s your nail tech at a salon or your CPA. 

“You’re gonna see immediate impact within six months with a portion of our licensees,” said Treto. “And that will be inclusive of nursing, the nursing profession.” 

Severs says she is excited to hear about the proposal. 

“And that helps me to look forward to the future when I have to go and sit for my NCLEX for my RN,” said Severs. 

We reached out to Governor Pritzker’s office. A spokesperson sent us this statement. 

"Under the previous administration, the licensing team at IDFPR’s Division of Professional Regulation was reduced to just 20 processors. However, since 2019, IDFPR has more than doubled the number of processors (from 20 to 45) to review professional licensure applications. In addition, IDFPR has also implemented an online portal that enables professionals in almost all professions regulated by the agency to apply for a license online. This portal has helped improve and streamline the licensing process, replacing an antiquated process of applications being submitted through the mail. Combined, these steps led to the average license processing time being reduced from 10 to 12 weeks, to 4 to 5 weeks in many instances. 

Professional licensing times are also an issue at the national level. However, Illinois was featured in an NPR article in 2022 that showed IDFPR processed nursing applications three times faster than California and four times faster than Texas. IDFPR is committed to any and all improvements that further improve professional licensing times. The Department is currently exploring an opportunity to move all professional licensing services to a new online platform that would further streamline the application process and enable the issuing of licenses to qualified professionals in a matter of days. These discussions remain ongoing and IDFPR will make an announcement when an agreement for those services is finalized."



April 12, 2023 at 06:24PM

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