(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) Many current and former members of the United States Armed Forces have acquired extensive academic, professional and occupational training and experience in various professions and occupations while serving in the Armed Forces;
(2) In many instances, that level of academic education, training and experience may be comparable to, or may exceed, what is required in this state to register for examination, or qualify, for licensure, certification or registration for a similar or related occupation or profession.
(3) Armed forces service members often leave the military with documented training, education and experience which may be sufficient for application toward the requirements in this state to register for examination, or qualify, for licensure, certification or registration in a comparable profession or occupation.
(4) Armed forces members who are separating from service are frequently delayed getting post-service employment even though they have applicable military education, training and experience which can qualify them for professional license, certifications or registration.
(5) Military veterans have expended and sacrificed a significant portion of their most productive earning potential and working years to the service of their country; however, reported unemployment rates of veterans are higher than national averages, and accordingly, military veterans should be given the opportunity to take advantage of their military education, experience and training, as appropriate, toward pursuing a career in many of the professions and occupations identified in this chapter.
(6) The state may be experiencing a shortage of qualified candidates for licensure, certification or registration for these various professions and occupations. Therefore, it is in the public interest of this state to accommodate and attract persons with the appropriate military education, training and experience, to apply for licensure, certification or registration in a profession or occupation in West Virginia.
(7) The boards in this chapter have the particular expertise necessary to evaluate and determine what military education, training and experience is adequate, acceptable and appropriate to be applied toward the qualifications for licensure, certification or registration and whether it is necessary that the competency of those persons be determined and evaluated by examination before they are so licensed, certified or registered.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, and
notwithstanding any law to the contrary, all boards referred to in this chapter shall, upon presentation of satisfactory evidence by an applicant for licensure, certification or registration, accept education, training or experience of an individual as a member of the Armed Forces or Reserves of the United States, the National Guard of any state, or the military reserves of any state, as part of the evaluation process toward the qualifications to receive, or take examination for, that respective professional license, certification, or registration.
(c) Boards referred to in this chapter may propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code as are necessary to implement the provisions of this section. The proposed rules shall establish criteria or requirements for military education, training and experience that qualify the applicant to take an examination for licensure, certification or registration or for a waiver of any examination requirement to be licensed, certified or registered.
(d) The provisions of this section do not apply to the boards referred to in this chapter whose license, certification or registration requirements are subject to the provisions of article twenty-four of this chapter.
(e) This section shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purpose in the light of these findings and declarations. Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session