In my legal work I come across some interesting dilemmas with clients.  The issue that is the most challenging is understanding the client’s scope of practice.  Many professionals are licensed.  In Massachusetts the Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The DPL oversees 31 boards of registration, which license and regulate more than 370,000 individuals and businesses to practice some 50 trades and professions in Massachusetts.  If you are licensed, then you need to stay within what you were trained or educated to do.  For example, you cannot be a home inspector and then do mold remediation. 

This happens frequently when people want to change their profession, but find it difficult to make the educational commitment (whether it is cost or time).  Instead they find something “close,” which they can do on the weekends or online.  It sounds like a great idea.

It’s not. The simple reason is a liability issue arises.  I recently learned about a health coach doing nutrition counseling. In Massachusetts dietitians and nutritionists are licensed and will be reimbursed by insurance companies.   A health coach may provide information, but it will not be covered by insurance.  Other states have other rules, and in Florida the health coach is being sued because nutrition and supplement information is not what a health coach should be doing in that state, only licensed registered dieticians are allowed.

Be careful of licensing issues and staying within your scope of practice.  Know the rules in your state. If there is no licensing, then a professional association in your field should be able to help provide guidance. 


Cynthia Pasciuto is an attorney, consultant, mediator and educator in Massachusetts who has taught at Bentley University, NIWH and NESA.