Professional licensure requirements originated in the Middle Ages, with trade guilds controlling the regulation of crafts and trades such as merchants, weavers, masons, and blacksmiths. Generally, membership in a guild was necessary to legally conduct business. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, engineers, attorneys, and general contractors are just a few of the former guild-regulated professions that we recognize today.
While some professions are disciplined by a central governmental entity, others are governed by boards made up of fellow members working in coordination with a government agency. Complaints brought to these boards occasionally involve criminal allegations, but more often stem from someone’s general dissatisfaction with a particular result, such as a homeowner who disagrees with an engineer’s home assessment or the losing party in a divorce, who blames his or her attorney.