Learn About Program Authorizations and Licensure through the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA)

Here you will find information about programs within the University of Maine System that may lead program graduates to apply for or take tests for required state authorization and/or licensure in particular states. The University of Maine System includes seven universities and a law school; each of our universities has programs that may lead to authorization or licensure. Learn more below.

State Authorization

State authorization is a combination of federal, state and professional licensing board regulations which impact in-person and online education offered across state lines within the United States. Compliance with these regulations assures that a University of Maine System degree will be recognized and that a graduate will be eligible for licensure outside of the state of Maine.

Authorization for licensure requirements differs from state to state and programs and may impact university operations. At the University of Maine System, we have a team across all of our campuses and programs that are dedicated to staying up to date and advising on regulations, seeking and maintaining compliance with regulations and communicating changes in authorization status.

SARA and Programs in Maine

SARA stands for The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. SARA is a national initiative that increases student access to distance education courses and programs, while also maintaining compliance with individual state regulations. Institutions that participate in SARA can offer educational opportunities in all 49 SARA member states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico without seeking individual approval in each state or territory.

The University of Maine System was approved as a SARA institution in 2015. The University of Maine System’s participation in SARA broadens educational opportunities for all students within the System, decreases institutional risk and reduces costs surrounding System programs nationally.

SARA establishes national standards for offering interstate education, but the following out-of-state activities may require additional approvals:

  • Out of state field experiences in a licensed field
  • Online licensure programs
  • Placement of more than 10 students per program simultaneously at a placement facility
  • Establishment of a physical location
  • Requiring students to meet in person

To learn more about SARA, visit http://www.nc-sara.org (External Site).


The United States Department of Education regulations and NC-SARA policies require institutions to disclose whether a program that leads to a professional license or specific certification meets educational requirements for the licensure or certification in all participating states and territories within the United States.

Background Check Disclosure

Students seeking careers in certain fields, including those that require licensure or certification, may be required to undergo a background check in order: to be licensed, certified or otherwise professionally qualified to enter certain fields of professional activity; to participate in internships, practicums, field experiences, clinical experiences or other activities relevant to completing professional training; to engage in professional development; or to graduate from a particular program of study. Certain employers may also require a background check.

Background checks may include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Verification of educational history, including degrees earned
  • Review of criminal history, including convictions, deferred adjudications, judgments, and pending criminal charges involving felonies, Class A, Class B, and Class C violations or other criminal history
  • Social Security Number verification
  • Sex Offender Registry search

Having a notable history, depending on the exact circumstances, may not necessarily prevent you from earning a degree in your chosen field or the other ways noted above; however, individuals concerned about how their background may impact their ability to graduate or be successful in other educational or professional experiences, should consult with the relevant administrator in their program of study, and/or with their academic advisor, and/or with the board of professional licensure in the state in which they plan to practice professionally.

As you progress in your academic program, you are encouraged to maintain honest, accurate and forthcoming communication with your advisor, be prepared to share appropriate information on any application(s), and discuss any relevant concerns in your interviews.

Professional Licensure Disclosure Statement for distance education and other programs

The University of Maine System cannot confirm that the courses or degree programs of its universities meet the requirements for professional licensure outside of the State of Maine. The University of Maine System strongly encourages prospective and current students to contact the appropriate or applicable licensing board(s) in states in which they may wish to pursue licensure, before beginning any program of study.

Learn more about licensure and state authorization at the University of Maine System