1. Search the Internet for programs and support groups in your area that offer support for international professionals, such as Careers for New Americans or, for the health care field, the Welcome Back Initiative.
2. Gather detailed information about your education and credentials, including contact information (address, phone number, web address and e-mail) of the institutions that granted your degree or license. The International Education Research Foundation, a credentialing service, offers an online tool to help applicants understand what information is needed.
3. Decide the state in which you’d like to be licensed. Contact the state licensing board to learn about the application process and examination. Be sure to ask which credential verification services are accepted. The National Association of Credential Evaluation Services offers a list of reliable evaluating services on its website.
4. Select a credential evaluation firm to verify your educational background and licensing in your native country. A basic evaluation, which costs $80 to $100 and takes about a week, verifies years of study and their equivalency to a U.S. degree. A more detailed evaluation, which costs $165 and takes 15 to 20 business days to complete, resembles a U.S. transcript that verifies every class taken by the applicant and the grades earned. A few professions, such as nursing and physical therapy, require more exhaustive investigations of the actual coursework for every class so that the precise skills taught can be verified and compared with U.S. skills requirements. This process can take up to two months.
5. Take English courses, if needed, to improve verbal and written skills. Listen to English-language radio and watch television shows in English to increase familiarity with the language.
6. Apply to the licensing board in your desired state of residence and choose when you’ll take the licensing examination (if necessary). Take a test preparation class if you can afford it. Look for opportunities to join study groups with other international professionals; community colleges are good resources.