Iowa

71 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed

37th most burdensome licensing laws

12th most broadly and onerously licensed state

Iowa’s licensing laws for lower-income occupations are the 37th most burdensome. The state’s average barriers to entry are $178 in fees, 288 days lost to education and experience, and around one exam. Because Iowa licenses a relatively high number of the 102 occupations studied here—71—it ranks as the 12th most broadly and onerously licensed state, making it one of the worst states for occupational licensing for lower-income workers.

Iowa frequently licenses occupations that are rarely licensed elsewhere. For example, few other states license travel agencies (six) or dental assistants (eight). Iowa’s dental assistant license requires 20 hours of education and six months of experience (about 185 days total), $86 in fees, and three exams, steep requirements given that most states do not license the occupation at all. Iowa also licenses commercial and residential HVAC contractors and HVAC sheet metal contractors—some of the most heavily burdened occupations in the nation—much more onerously than the three dozen or so other states that license them. These occupations require 2,190 days—a full six years—of experience in Iowa compared to averages of about half that across licensed states.

Iowa also places some of the highest experience requirements in the nation on barbers and cosmetologists. Aspiring licensees must demonstrate 2,100 hours (roughly 490 days) of experience, while EMTs need only demonstrate 110 hours (roughly 26 days) to become licensed. Iowa should evaluate whether its high burdens for barbers, cosmetologists and other occupations can be reduced, repealed or—if government regulation is necessary—replaced with less restrictive regulatory alternatives.

Burden Rank Occupation States Licensed Fees Estimated Calendar Days Lost Education Experience Exams Min. Grade Min. Age
1 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) 37 $890 2190 6 years 2 12 18
1 HVAC Contractor (Residential) 35 $890 2190 6 years 2 12 18
1 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) 37 $890 2190 6 years 2 12 18
1 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) 36 $890 2190 6 years 2 12 18
5 Preschool Teacher, Public School 50 $512 2190 4 years 2 years 2 0 0
6 Fire Alarm Installer 39 $1208 1825 5 years 3 0 0
7 Interpreter, Sign Language 22 $795 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
8 Athletic Trainer 49 $420 1460 4 years 1 0 0
9 Security Alarm Installer 37 $893 730 2 years 2 0 0
10 Earth Driller, Water Well 51 $450 730 2 years 2 0 0
11 Veterinary Technician 36 $335 730 2 years 2 0 0
12 Barber 51 $135 490 2100 clock hours 2 10 16
13 Cosmetologist 51 $118 490 2100 clock hours 1 12 0
13 Shampooer 37 $118 490 2100 clock hours 1 12 0
15 Mobile Home Installer 39 $300 366 8 clock hours 1 years 1 0 18
16 Dental Assistant 9 $86 185 20 clock hours 6 months 3 12 17
17 Makeup Artist 41 $118 140 600 clock hours 1 12 0
17 Skin Care Specialist 50 $118 140 600 clock hours 1 12 0
19 Manicurist 50 $118 76 325 clock hours 1 12 0
20 School Bus Driver 51 $72 3 15 clock hours 6 0 18
21 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer 51 $52 0 5 0 18
22 Bus Driver, City/Transit 51 $26 0 5 0 18
23 Massage Therapist 44 $315 117 500 clock hours 1 0 0
24 Pharmacy Technician 44 $169 0 1 12 0
25 Truck Driver, Other 51 $52 0 4 0 18
26 Emergency Medical Technician 51 $110 26 110 clock hours 2 0 17
27 Wildlife Control Operator 23 $25 0 2 0 18
28 Milk Sampler 42 $20 1 1 days 2 0 16
29 Coach, Head (High School Sports) 48 $85 15 65 contact hours 0 0 18
30 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator 51 $75 0 3 0 0
31 Gaming Cage Worker 29 $68 0 0 0 18
31 Gaming Dealer 28 $68 0 0 0 18
31 Gaming Supervisor 30 $68 0 0 0 18
31 Slot Supervisor 28 $68 0 0 0 18
35 Security Guard, Unarmed 34 $40 0 0 0 18
35 Taxi Driver/Chauffeur 16 $40 0 0 0 18
37 Pest Control Applicator 51 $75 0 2 0 0
38 Fisher, Commercial 43 $202 0 0 0 0
39 Animal Breeder 28 $175 0 0 0 0
40 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) 47 $75 0 0 0 0
40 Landscape Contractor (Residential) 48 $75 0 0 0 0
42 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) 25 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) 30 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) 24 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) 30 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) 24 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) 29 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) 30 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) 22 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) 27 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) 26 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Glazier Contractor (Residential) 30 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Insulation Contractor (Residential) 30 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) 26 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) 30 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Mason Contractor (Commercial) 26 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Mason Contractor (Residential) 31 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Painting Contractor (Commercial) 22 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Painting Contractor (Residential) 28 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Paving Contractor (Commercial) 24 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Paving Contractor (Residential) 28 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Pipelayer Contractor 27 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) 26 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) 31 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) 23 $50 0 0 0 0
42 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) 28 $50 0 0 0 0
69 Taxidermist 28 $18 0 0 0 0
70 Travel Agency 7 $15 0 0 0 0
71 Bill Collection Agency 31 $10 0 0 0 0
N/A Midwife, Direct Entry 28 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

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