Washington

77 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed

48th most burdensome licensing laws

9th most broadly and onerously licensed state

Washington is tied with Louisiana in licensing the most lower-income occupations in this study—77 of 102. The state’s licensing laws, however, are less burdensome than most, ranking 48th in the nation. On average, they require $209 in fees, 163 days of education and experience, and around one exam. Nevertheless, because Washington licenses so many occupations, it ranks as the ninth most broadly and onerously licensed state.

Washington’s long list of licensed occupations includes several that are rarely licensed elsewhere. For example, few other states license dairy equipment still machine setters (two), travel agencies (six), dental assistants (eight) or farm labor contractors (nine). Washington also licenses some more widely licensed occupations more onerously than other states. For example, water well earth drillers must sacrifice an estimated 1,265 days to education and experience (5,400 hours of experience and 32 continuing education units) to become licensed in the state. That is substantially more than the national average requirement of 837 days in this occupation.

Washington also imposes burdens on some occupations that seem excessive compared to those for other occupations that may present a greater risk to public safety. For example, aspiring EMTs are deemed qualified first responders after completing an estimated 26 days (110 hours) of education and paying $80 in fees. Cosmetologists, on the other hand, face much more stringent requirements: roughly 373 days (1,600 hours) of education and $230 in fees. Washington could expand employment opportunities in the state by reducing or repealing its illogical licensing burdens for cosmetologists and other occupations, or—if government regulation is necessary—by replacing them with less restrictive regulatory alternatives such as inspections or voluntary certification.

Burden Rank Occupation States Licensed Fees Estimated Calendar Days Lost Education Experience Exams Min. Grade Min. Age
1 Preschool Teacher, Public School 50 $1004 2190 4 years 2 years 2 0 0
2 Fire Alarm Installer 39 $676 1471 48 clock hours 4 years 4 0 16
3 Security Alarm Installer 37 $676 1471 48 clock hours 4 years 4 0 16
4 Athletic Trainer 49 $475 1461 4 years and 7 clock hours 1 0 0
5 Midwife, Direct Entry 28 $1674 1095 3 years 2 12 21
6 Earth Driller, Water Well 51 $188 1265 32 Continuing Education Units 5400 clock hours 1 0 0
7 Optician 22 $200 731 2 years and 4 clock hours 3 12 18
8 Veterinary Technician 36 $580 731 2 years and 4 clock hours 2 0 0
9 School Bus Driver 51 $170 373 36 clock hours 1 years 6 0 21
10 Cosmetologist 51 $230 373 1600 clock hours 2 0 17
11 Barber 51 $25 233 1000 clock hours 2 0 17
11 Shampooer 37 $25 233 1000 clock hours 2 0 17
13 Pharmacy Technician 44 $189 140 600 clock hours 1 12 0
14 Skin Care Specialist 50 $210 175 750 clock hours 2 0 17
15 Child Care Home, Family 44 $42 70 10 credit hours 0 12 21
16 Manicurist 50 $210 140 600 clock hours 2 0 17
17 Emergency Medical Technician 51 $80 26 110 clock hours 2 12 18
18 Mobile Home Installer 39 $260 184 10 clock hours 6 months 1 0 0
19 Massage Therapist 44 $336 117 500 clock hours 2 0 18
20 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer 51 $325 37 160 clock hours 5 0 18
21 Coach, Head (High School Sports) 48 $0 1 4 clock hours 0 12 21
22 Bus Driver, City/Transit 51 $335 8 36 clock hours 5 0 18
23 Truck Driver, Other 51 $325 11 48 clock hours 4 0 18
24 Bill Collection Agency 31 $850 0 0 0 18
25 Crane Operator 18 $225 4 24 clock hours 2 0 18
26 Travel Guide 37 $515 0 0 0 16
27 Taxi Driver/Chauffeur 16 $118 3 3 days 1 0 21
28 Security Guard, Unarmed 34 $91 3 16 clock hours 1 0 18
29 Bartender 13 $0 1 3 clock hours 1 0 21
30 Wildlife Control Operator 23 $50 2 10 clock hours 1 0 18
31 Fisher, Commercial 43 $200 0 0 0 16
32 Pest Control Applicator 51 $240 0 2 0 0
32 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator 51 $240 0 2 0 0
34 Weigher 25 $50 0 0 0 18
35 Taxidermist 28 $250 0 0 0 0
36 Gaming Cage Worker 29 $219 0 0 0 0
36 Gaming Dealer 28 $219 0 0 0 0
36 Gaming Supervisor 30 $219 0 0 0 0
39 Travel Agency 7 $202 0 0 0 0
40 Landscape Contractor (Residential) 48 $176 0 0 0 0
41 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) 47 $176 0 0 0 0
42 Auctioneer 30 $155 0 0 0 0
43 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) 25 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) 30 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) 24 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) 24 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) 29 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) 30 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) 22 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) 27 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) 26 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Glazier Contractor (Residential) 30 $113 0 0 0 0
43 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) 37 $113 0 0 0 0
43 HVAC Contractor (Residential) 35 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Insulation Contractor (Residential) 30 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) 26 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) 30 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Mason Contractor (Commercial) 26 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Mason Contractor (Residential) 31 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Painting Contractor (Commercial) 22 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Painting Contractor (Residential) 28 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Paving Contractor (Commercial) 24 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Paving Contractor (Residential) 28 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Pipelayer Contractor 27 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) 37 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) 36 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) 26 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) 31 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) 23 $113 0 0 0 0
43 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) 28 $113 0 0 0 0
73 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) 30 $113 0 0 0 0
74 Dental Assistant 9 $40 1 7 clock hours 0 0 0
75 Milk Sampler 42 $50 0 0 0 0
75 Still Machine Setter, Dairy Equipment 3 $50 0 0 0 0
77 Farm Labor Contractor 10 $35 0 0 0 0

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