State working to address backlog of professional license renewals

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The state of Georgia is working to address a backlog of professional license renewals that is impacting more than a dozen industries, including therapists, nurses and cosmetologists.

For weeks, Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln has covered the complaints about delays with renewals.

Gabriel Sterling, who is the director of licensing with the Secretary of State’s Office, said they’re working to renew more licenses while ironing the kinks in their new software system.

The state has upgraded its more than 20-year-old software with a new system called the Georgia Online Application System (GOALS). The software has been rolling out in waves, but Sterling admits they’ve encountered a few hurdles.

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Some people are worried they’ll no longer be able to work out of salons or green rooms if they can’t renew their licenses on time.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure you’re going to continue to keep working,” Sterling said. “We’ve seen a lot of tremendous growth. They’ve given us $2.1 million to add more people.”

Sterling says they’re aware of the complaints, but because the system is new, a lot of the delays are the result of human error.

“We’re trying to tweak it and work it as best we can,” Sterling said.


Sterling said some of the major issues stalling the application are people not hitting the verify button, not using their government names and using old emails.

The state says in the last five years, there’s also been a significant jump in licenses. In 2019 there were 400,000 licenses state-wide. Currently, there are more than 600,000.

“Since we’ve launched GOALS we’ve had over 57,000 successful log-ins,” Sterling said.

A look at the numbers reveals that 28,000 licenses have been renewed and 4,300 licenses were issued.

The state says that by industry, 88% of physical therapist licenses have been renewed.

However, in cosmetology, which is one of the state’s largest industries, only 11,000 out of 50,000 licenses have been renewed.

Sterling said his office will extend renewal dates so people can keep working.

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“We’re doing everything we can to make sure you’re going to continue to get to keep to work, and that’s the main thing if we’re going to keep Georgia working,” Sterling said.”We want to make it as easy and seamless as possible and we ask for people’s patience.”

Pamela Kelly said that for weeks, she hasn’t been able to log into her account.

“It’s actually said I don’t even have an account and I said, ‘How is that possible when I’ve been licensed for 19 years?’” Kelly said.

The check your renewal deadline date, click here: