Ranking the Occupations

Breadth of Licensure

As shown in Table 1, 10 of the 102 occupations studied in this report are licensed by all 50 states and the District of Columbia: barber, city/transit bus driver, cosmetologist, emergency medical technician (EMT), pest control applicator, school bus driver, tractor-trailer driver, other truck driver, vegetation pesticide applicator, and water well earth driller. Another 13 occupations are licensed by 40 to 50 states. (Throughout the report, we count the District of Columbia as a state.) Thus, the vast majority of the occupations studied here are licensed by fewer than 40 states. Six are licensed by only one state each: conveyor operator, florist, forest worker, home entertainment installer, psychiatric aide and social and human service assistant. On average, the occupations on this list are licensed by about 27 states.

Burdens of Licensure

Table 2 provides the average requirements for all 102 occupations in the states that license them. Because education and experience requirements take different forms, we created a standard measure (“estimated calendar days lost”) to allow for averaging and comparisons. As its name suggests, this measure estimates how long it takes to complete required education and experience. Because the requirements in Table 2 are averages, minimum grade level and age may be confusing. No state has a minimum age of three, for example—more typical is 16, 18 or 21 (or no minimum at all). A low average indicates that while a few states impose age minimums, more do not; the zeros for those states bring down the average. An average age of roughly 18, by contrast, indicates that states fairly consistently impose an age minimum of 18 across licensed occupations.

Table 2 also ranks occupations from most to least burdensome. To create this ranking, we combined the various average requirements into a single “burden score,” weighting the measures to reflect the relative difficulty of meeting different types of requirements. For example, we consider education and experience requirements to be more burdensome than fees. (See Appendix A for details.) Our rankings of occupations do not reflect any judgment about whether the burdens placed on occupational aspirants are appropriate; rather, they compare average burdens across occupations to determine which occupations are easier or more difficult to enter.

Interior designer tops the list as the most difficult occupation to enter in the states that license it, just as it did in the first edition of this report. The occupation is licensed by only three states and D.C., but the requirements are onerous. Aspiring interior designers must pass a national exam, pay an average of $1,265 in fees and devote an average of almost 2,200 days—six years—to a combination of education and apprenticeship before they can begin work. The next five occupations require, on average, almost four years of education and experience in addition to fees ranging from nearly $400 to $1,383, one to two exams, and minimum grade and age requirements.

Thirty-six occupations require one to three years of education and experience, while another 28 require three months to one year. For 52 occupations, an average of at least one exam is required. On average, the occupational licenses studied here require passing one exam, paying more than $260 in fees, and completing more than 360 days, or almost a year, of education and experience.

Breadth and Burden Combined

Table 3 provides a national perspective that combines measures of the breadth and burden of licensure for lower-income workers. To create this combined measure, we multiplied the burden scores used in Table 2 by the number of states that license each occupation, as listed in Table 1. The occupations that top this ranking are licensed both widely and onerously.

The example of interior designer illustrates the difference between the rankings in Tables 2 and 3: While it has the most burdensome entry requirements (Table 2), it ranks as the 87th most widely and onerously licensed occupation (Table 3) because it is licensed by only three states and D.C. By contrast, EMT has the 74th most burdensome entry requirements, but because it is licensed by all states, it ranks as the 15th most widely and onerously licensed occupation. Factoring in the number of licensed states has a significant effect on the ranking of occupations.

The Occupation Profiles provide definitions for each occupation drawn from the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*NET OnLine (www.onetonline.org), except where noted. The Occupation Profiles also provide summary results for each occupation.

Table 2: Burdens of Licensure

Occupations Ranked by Average Burden

[table]Rank,Occupation,States Licensed,Average Fees,Average Estimated Calendar Days Lost,Average Exams,Average Min. Grade,Average Min. Age
1,Interior Designer,4,”$1,265 “,”2,190″,1,3,5
2,”Preschool Teacher, Public School”,50,$492 ,”2,050″,2,0,5
3,Athletic Trainer,49,$472 ,”1,460″,1,0,4
4,”Midwife, Direct Entry”,28,”$1,383 “,”1,152″,1,10,8
5,”Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial)”,37,$394 ,”1,215″,2,1,10
6,HVAC Contractor (Commercial),37,$400 ,”1,197″,2,1,10
7,”Interpreter, Sign Language”,22,$661 ,”1,088″,2,3,16
8,HVAC Contractor (Residential),35,$397 ,”1,055″,2,0,10
9,”Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential)”,36,$384 ,”1,026″,2,1,9
10,Fire Alarm Installer,39,$557 ,915,2,1,11
11,Optician,22,$449 ,714,2,11,17
12,Security Alarm Installer,37,$487 ,836,2,1,11
13,”Earth Driller, Water Well”,51,$356 ,837,2,1,10
14,Psychiatric Aide,1,$0 ,730,0,12,18
15,Dietetic Technician,2,$176 ,835,1,0,0
16,Veterinary Technician,36,$380 ,730,2,1,7
17,Social and Human Service Assistant,1,$50 ,730,1,0,0
18,Home Entertainment Installer,1,$185 ,575,1,12,0
19,Tree Trimmer,7,$325 ,574,2,0,13
20,Glazier Contractor (Commercial),26,$366 ,581,1,0,7
21,”Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial)”,26,$360 ,567,1,0,8
22,Pipelayer Contractor,27,$377 ,546,1,0,8
23,Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial),26,$368 ,525,1,0,7
24,Mason Contractor (Commercial),26,$372 ,525,1,0,7
25,Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial),25,$365 ,517,1,0,7
26,Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial),25,$381 ,517,1,0,6
27,Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial),24,$365 ,508,1,0,7
28,Paving Contractor (Commercial),24,$365 ,508,1,0,7
29,Door Repair Contractor (Commercial),24,$372 ,508,1,0,7
30,Cosmetologist,51,$177 ,386,2,8,13
31,Painting Contractor (Commercial),22,$382 ,488,1,0,7
32,Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial),22,$359 ,485,1,0,7
33,Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial),23,$364 ,482,1,0,6
34,Barber,51,$154 ,368,2,7,14
35,Insulation Contractor (Commercial),25,$366 ,458,1,0,6
36,Psychiatric Technician,5,$119 ,346,1,12,7
37,School Bus Driver,51,$112 ,300,6,0,19
38,Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential),30,$318 ,392,1,0,7
39,Mason Contractor (Residential),31,$319 ,380,1,0,8
40,Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential),30,$319 ,368,1,0,7
41,Glazier Contractor (Residential),30,$322 ,368,1,0,7
42,Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential),30,$313 ,368,1,0,7
43,”Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential)”,31,$302 ,356,1,0,8
44,Log Scaler,2,$25 ,365,2,0,9
45,Shampooer,37,$130 ,248,2,8,13
46,”Coach, Head (High School Sports)”,48,$79 ,367,0,2,4
47,Door Repair Contractor (Residential),29,$320 ,343,1,0,7
48,Mobile Home Installer,39,$344 ,309,1,0,8
49,Paving Contractor (Residential),28,$295 ,329,1,0,6
50,Pest Control Applicator,51,$260 ,274,2,0,11
51,Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential),30,$300 ,307,1,0,7
52,Terrazzo Contractor (Residential),28,$301 ,290,1,0,6
53,Floor Sander Contractor (Residential),27,$308 ,287,1,0,6
54,Insulation Contractor (Residential),30,$302 ,283,1,0,7
55,Painting Contractor (Residential),28,$312 ,277,1,0,6
56,Skin Care Specialist,50,$175 ,145,2,8,13
57,Crane Operator,18,$225 ,222,2,0,17
58,Makeup Artist,41,$169 ,134,2,8,14
59,Massage Therapist,44,$372 ,142,1,5,15
60,Manicurist,50,$172 ,91,2,8,13
61,”Bus Driver, City/Transit”,51,$106 ,100,5,0,19
62,Landscape Contractor (Commercial),47,$235 ,228,1,0,3
63,Vegetation Pesticide Applicator,51,$259 ,134,3,0,10
64,”Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer”,51,$107 ,79,5,0,18
65,Bill Collection Agency,31,$551 ,159,0,1,5
66,Landscape Contractor (Residential),48,$203 ,198,0,0,4
67,”Truck Driver, Other”,51,$106 ,79,4,0,18
68,Auctioneer,30,$278 ,94,1,3,14
69,Taxi Driver/Chauffeur,16,$47 ,148,0,0,16
70,”Child Care Home, Family”,44,$79 ,48,0,7,18
71,Dental Assistant,9,$138 ,92,1,4,8
72,Title Examiner,7,$355 ,104,1,0,8
73,Pharmacy Technician,44,$136 ,46,1,7,9
74,Emergency Medical Technician,51,$108 ,34,2,3,18
75,”Teacher Assistant, Non-Instructional”,5,$16 ,1,0,12,8
76,Animal Trainer,9,$209 ,122,1,0,3
77,Travel Guide,37,$323 ,78,0,0,8
78,Funeral Attendant,3,$124 ,2,0,8,6
79,Locksmith,14,$167 ,54,1,1,9
80,”Security Guard, Unarmed”,34,$89 ,10,1,1,15
81,Conveyor Operator,1,$117 ,0,1,0,18
82,Slot Supervisor,28,$467 ,0,0,0,14
83,Gaming Supervisor,30,$462 ,0,0,0,13
84,Bartender,13,$7 ,1,1,0,20
85,Gaming Cage Worker,29,$174 ,0,0,0,13
86,Electrical Helper,2,$55 ,0,0,0,17
87,Gaming Dealer,28,$174 ,0,0,0,12
88,Wildlife Control Operator,23,$68 ,0,1,0,9
89,”Still Machine Setter, Dairy Equipment”,3,$67 ,0,1,0,6
90,Forest Worker,1,$300 ,0,1,0,0
91,Weigher,25,$62 ,0,0,0,9
92,Florist,1,$189 ,0,1,0,0
93,Animal Control Officer,7,$26 ,12,1,0,3
94,Travel Agency,7,$211 ,0,0,0,3
95,Farm Labor Contractor,10,$173 ,0,0,0,2
96,Milk Sampler,42,$22 ,0,1,0,1
97,”Fisher, Commercial”,43,$142 ,0,0,0,2
98,Animal Breeder,28,$148 ,0,0,0,1
99,Upholsterer,10,$102 ,0,0,0,0
100,Taxidermist,28,$78 ,0,0,0,0
101,Nursery Worker,2,$55 ,0,0,0,0
102,Packer,6,$33 ,0,0,0,0[/table]

Table 3: Breadth and Burdens of Licensure

Occupations Ranked by Number and Average Burden of Licensed States Combined

[table]Rank,Occupation,States Licensed,Average Fees,Average Estimated Calendar Days Lost,Average Exams,Average Min. Grade,Average Min. Age
1,”Preschool Teacher, Public School”,50,$492 ,”2,050″,2,0,5
2,Athletic Trainer,49,$472 ,”1,460″,1,0,4
3,”Earth Driller, Water Well”,51,$356 ,837,2,1,10
4,Cosmetologist,51,$177 ,386,2,8,13
5,Barber,51,$154 ,368,2,7,14
6,School Bus Driver,51,$112 ,300,6,0,19
7,Pest Control Applicator,51,$260 ,274,2,0,11
8,”Bus Driver, City/Transit”,51,$106 ,100,5,0,19
9,Skin Care Specialist,50,$175 ,145,2,8,13
10,Vegetation Pesticide Applicator,51,$259 ,134,3,0,10
11,”Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer”,51,$107 ,79,5,0,18
12,”Truck Driver, Other”,51,$106 ,79,4,0,18
13,Manicurist,50,$172 ,91,2,8,13
14,”Coach, Head (High School Sports)”,48,$79 ,367,0,2,4
15,Emergency Medical Technician,51,$108 ,34,2,3,18
16,”Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial)”,37,$394 ,”1,215″,2,1,10
17,HVAC Contractor (Commercial),37,$400 ,”1,197″,2,1,10
18,Fire Alarm Installer,39,$557 ,915,2,1,11
19,Landscape Contractor (Residential),48,$203 ,198,0,0,4
20,Landscape Contractor (Commercial),47,$235 ,228,1,0,3
21,”Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential)”,36,$384 ,”1,026″,2,1,9
22,Massage Therapist,44,$372 ,142,1,5,15
23,Security Alarm Installer,37,$487 ,836,2,1,11
24,HVAC Contractor (Residential),35,$397 ,”1,055″,2,0,10
25,”Child Care Home, Family”,44,$79 ,48,0,7,18
26,Pharmacy Technician,44,$136 ,46,1,7,9
27,Veterinary Technician,36,$380 ,730,2,1,7
28,Makeup Artist,41,$169 ,134,2,8,14
29,Mobile Home Installer,39,$344 ,309,1,0,8
30,”Fisher, Commercial”,43,$142 ,0,0,0,2
31,Milk Sampler,42,$22 ,0,1,0,1
32,Shampooer,37,$130 ,248,2,8,13
33,”Midwife, Direct Entry”,28,”$1,383 “,”1,152″,1,10,8
34,Travel Guide,37,$323 ,78,0,0,8
35,Mason Contractor (Residential),31,$319 ,380,1,0,8
36,”Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential)”,31,$302 ,356,1,0,8
37,”Security Guard, Unarmed”,34,$89 ,10,1,1,15
38,Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential),30,$318 ,392,1,0,7
39,Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential),30,$319 ,368,1,0,7
40,Glazier Contractor (Residential),30,$322 ,368,1,0,7
41,Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential),30,$313 ,368,1,0,7
42,Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential),30,$300 ,307,1,0,7
43,Bill Collection Agency,31,$551 ,159,0,1,5
44,Insulation Contractor (Residential),30,$302 ,283,1,0,7
45,Door Repair Contractor (Residential),29,$320 ,343,1,0,7
46,Pipelayer Contractor,27,$377 ,546,1,0,8
47,Auctioneer,30,$278 ,94,1,3,14
48,Paving Contractor (Residential),28,$295 ,329,1,0,6
49,Glazier Contractor (Commercial),26,$366 ,581,1,0,7
50,”Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial)”,26,$360 ,567,1,0,8
51,Terrazzo Contractor (Residential),28,$301 ,290,1,0,6
52,Painting Contractor (Residential),28,$312 ,277,1,0,6
53,Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial),26,$368 ,525,1,0,7
54,Mason Contractor (Commercial),26,$372 ,525,1,0,7
55,”Interpreter, Sign Language”,22,$661 ,”1,088″,2,3,16
56,Gaming Supervisor,30,$462 ,0,0,0,13
57,Floor Sander Contractor (Residential),27,$308 ,287,1,0,6
58,Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial),25,$365 ,517,1,0,7
59,Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial),25,$381 ,517,1,0,6
60,Gaming Cage Worker,29,$174 ,0,0,0,13
61,Insulation Contractor (Commercial),25,$366 ,458,1,0,6
62,Slot Supervisor,28,$467 ,0,0,0,14
63,Optician,22,$449 ,714,2,11,17
64,Gaming Dealer,28,$174 ,0,0,0,12
65,Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial),24,$365 ,508,1,0,7
66,Paving Contractor (Commercial),24,$365 ,508,1,0,7
67,Door Repair Contractor (Commercial),24,$372 ,508,1,0,7
68,Animal Breeder,28,$148 ,0,0,0,1
69,Taxidermist,28,$78 ,0,0,0,0
70,Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial),23,$364 ,482,1,0,6
71,Painting Contractor (Commercial),22,$382 ,488,1,0,7
72,Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial),22,$359 ,485,1,0,7
73,Weigher,25,$62 ,0,0,0,9
74,Wildlife Control Operator,23,$68 ,0,1,0,9
75,Crane Operator,18,$225 ,222,2,0,17
76,Taxi Driver/Chauffeur,16,$47 ,148,0,0,16
77,Locksmith,14,$167 ,54,1,1,9
78,Bartender,13,$7 ,1,1,0,20
79,Farm Labor Contractor,10,$173 ,0,0,0,2
80,Upholsterer,10,$102 ,0,0,0,0
81,Dental Assistant,9,$138 ,92,1,4,8
82,Animal Trainer,9,$209 ,122,1,0,3
83,Tree Trimmer,7,$325 ,574,2,0,13
84,Title Examiner,7,$355 ,104,1,0,8
85,Animal Control Officer,7,$26 ,12,1,0,3
86,Travel Agency,7,$211 ,0,0,0,3
87,Interior Designer,4,”$1,265 “,”2,190″,1,3,5
88,Packer,6,$33 ,0,0,0,0
89,Psychiatric Technician,5,$119 ,346,1,12,7
90,”Teacher Assistant, Non-Instructional”,5,$16 ,1,0,12,8
91,Funeral Attendant,3,$124 ,2,0,8,6
92,”Still Machine Setter, Dairy Equipment”,3,$67 ,0,1,0,6
93,Dietetic Technician,2,$176 ,835,1,0,0
94,Log Scaler,2,$25 ,365,2,0,9
95,Electrical Helper,2,$55 ,0,0,0,17
96,Nursery Worker,2,$55 ,0,0,0,0
97,Psychiatric Aide,1,$0 ,730,0,12,18
98,Social and Human Service Assistant,1,$50 ,730,1,0,0
99,Home Entertainment Installer,1,$185 ,575,1,12,0
100,Conveyor Operator,1,$117 ,0,1,0,18
101,Forest Worker,1,$300 ,0,1,0,0
102,Florist,1,$189 ,0,1,0,0

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