Not enough nuance in the choices to cast a vote.
First, the government doesn’t have exclusive use of the word “licensed.” The vast majority of licenses and licensing agreements (more than 99%) in North America don’t involve the government. Home Gauge and Home Inspector Pro “license” their software to home inspectors. I am licensed… licensed to use certain images from a private company. You’d be amazed to learn all the many licenses from private companies that have been granted to you in your lifetime.
And of course some government agencies don’t license, they certify. In our inspection industry, the state of Virginia (which certifies inspectors) comes to mind.
Anyway, IMHO it would only be an ethics violation if the member was using either word in a way to deceive the public and imply that he was governmentally licensed or certified when he was neither.
If he/she used the word “licensed” or “certified” in a sentence that clearly includes the non-governmental entity who has licensed or certified him/her… I don’t see an issue, certainly not an ethics issue.
In other words, to be on the safe side, only use the word “licensed” or “certified” alone if you have a governmentally-issued inspector’s license or certification. Otherwise, clearly state who has licensed or certified you.
This is particularly an issue for members who work near the borders of states and work across state lines (where one state issues licenses and the other doesn’t).
I’m a perfect example of this. I’m in Colorado and I’m a licensed home inspector, even though Colorado hasn’t adopted licensing for home inspectors. How could that be? It’s because I’m governmentally licensed in Florida both as a home inspector and a mold assessor. I’m governmentally licensed in Colorado as a septic system installer and a general contractor. I also hold dozens of other certifications and licenses. So what do I do? Even in my email signature, I state which state licensed me for what. That way no one can complain that I’m intentionally trying to deceive anyone into believing I have a Colorado government-issued home inspector’s license when non exists.
It’s best to always say exactly who licensed or certified you if you use either term.