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IWN Staff
June 1, 2023 - 2 minutes
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In 60 Seconds: Occupational Licensing

PDF Download: In 60 Seconds – Occupational Licensing

Most occupational licensing is unnecessary: Consumers are perfectly capable of deciding who is capable of doing most services, especially in this age of online reviews.

Easing the mobility of licensed professionals is a good start, but it does not address the fact that onerous regulations keep many out of stable jobs that could provide good incomes and careers.

Here’s the issue of occupational licensing in 60 seconds:

What’s at Stake

Across the states, occupational licensing:

  • Prevents people from working because of unnecessary and arbitrary requirements.
  • Creates costly hurdles for those who want to work in a licensed profession. The
    average license requires around 9 months of education and training, a process
    that workers must often restart if they move to a new state.
  • Reduces competition in a profession, protecting entrenched interests and increasing costs for consumers, while decreasing choice and quality.
  • Applies to far too many jobs, beyond the scope of health and safety. The number
    of licensed professions has ballooned from 1 in 20 jobs in the early 1950s to one in
    four jobs today.

Most occupational licensing is unnecessary: Consumers are perfectly capable of deciding who is capable of doing most services, especially in this age of online reviews.

Unnecessary occupational licenses hold back the entrepreneurial spirit of hard-working
Americans.

Reducing Barriers to Work

Reviewing and Eliminating Unnecessary Licenses
State lawmakers should review their specific occupational license requirements. This
review should result in repealing unnecessary licenses or replacing them with less
burdensome alternatives. By identifying the overly burdensome licenses that do not
protect public health and safety, lawmakers will help enterprising Americans find
meaningful work and will provide better services to the public.

Universal License Recognition
Arizona, Montana and Pennsylvania have all passed laws that help people to move
between states by recognizing out-of-state licenses, also known as “universal license
recognition.” Other states have allowed for this for military members and spouses, who
must move every couple years. This should be expanded to all Americans.

Easing the mobility of licensed professionals is a good start, but it does not address
the fact that onerous regulations keep many out of stable jobs that could provide good
incomes and careers.

Addressing Misperceptions: 

IWN Staff
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