West Virginia

70 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed

44th most burdensome licensing laws

14th most broadly and onerously licensed state

West Virginia’s licensing laws for lower-income occupations are the nation’s 44th most burdensome. They require, on average, $172 in fees, 210 days of education and experience, and around two exams. But because West Virginia licenses more occupations than most states—70 of the 102 studied here—it ranks as the 14th most broadly and onerously licensed state.

West Virginia licenses several occupations that are not licensed elsewhere, such as upholsterers (licensed by nine other states), crane operators (17 others) and sign language interpreters (21 others). West Virginia also licenses auctioneers—who are unlicensed in 21 states—and does so quite onerously. While the licensed-state average of days lost to education and experience is an estimated 94 days for auctioneers, West Virginia requires more than twice as much: an estimated 201 days, or six months of experience and 80 hours of education.

West Virginia also imposes requirements on some occupations that seem excessive compared to those for others with a stronger connection to public safety. For example, in West Virginia, manicurists and massage therapists face more stringent requirements than EMTs. To provide their services, these workers must complete between 93 and 117 days of education. EMTs, on the other hand, can become licensed after completing only around 35 days (150 hours) of education. West Virginia could create more economic opportunity by reducing or repealing many of its occupational licenses, or—if government regulation is necessary—by replacing them with less restrictive regulatory alternatives.

Burden Rank Occupation States Licensed Fees Estimated Calendar Days Lost Education Experience Exams Min. Grade Min. Age
1 Preschool Teacher, Public School 50 $267 2190 4 years 2 years 2 0 18
2 Interpreter, Sign Language 22 $720 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
3 Earth Driller, Water Well 51 $565 1460 4 years 4 0 18
4 Athletic Trainer 49 $425 1460 4 years 1 0 18
5 School Bus Driver 51 $161 1106 40 clock hours 3 years and 12 clock hours 7 12 21
6 Fire Alarm Installer 39 $259 730 2 years 4 0 18
6 Security Alarm Installer 37 $259 730 2 years 4 0 18
8 Bus Driver, City/Transit 51 $151 730 2 years 5 0 18
9 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer 51 $142 730 2 years 5 0 18
10 Veterinary Technician 36 $410 730 2 years 2 0 18
11 Truck Driver, Other 51 $142 730 2 years 4 0 18
12 Cosmetologist 51 $134 420 1800 clock hours 3 12 18
13 Barber 51 $134 280 1200 clock hours 2 12 18
14 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator 51 $90 365 1 years 3 0 0
15 Pest Control Applicator 51 $90 365 1 years 2 0 0
16 Pharmacy Technician 44 $190 227 20 clock hours 960 clock hours 1 12 0
17 Makeup Artist 41 $159 140 600 clock hours 3 12 18
17 Skin Care Specialist 50 $159 140 600 clock hours 3 12 18
19 Crane Operator 18 $300 233 1000 clock hours 2 0 18
20 Auctioneer 30 $300 201 80 clock hours 6 months 3 0 18
21 Manicurist 50 $159 93 400 clock hours 3 12 18
22 Massage Therapist 44 $545 117 500 clock hours 1 0 0
23 Mobile Home Installer 39 $709 0 2 0 0
24 Shampooer 37 $35 1 3 clock hours 0 9 16
25 Emergency Medical Technician 51 $50 35 150 clock hours 2 0 18
26 Coach, Head (High School Sports) 48 $0 2 14 clock hours 0 12 0
27 Wildlife Control Operator 23 $50 0 1 0 18
28 Gaming Cage Worker 29 $100 0 0 0 21
28 Gaming Dealer 28 $100 0 0 0 21
28 Gaming Supervisor 30 $100 0 0 0 21
28 Slot Supervisor 28 $100 0 0 0 21
32 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) 24 $174 0 2 0 0
32 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) 30 $174 0 2 0 0
32 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) 37 $174 0 2 0 0
32 HVAC Contractor (Residential) 35 $174 0 2 0 0
32 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) 26 $174 0 2 0 0
32 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) 30 $174 0 2 0 0
32 Mason Contractor (Commercial) 26 $174 0 2 0 0
32 Mason Contractor (Residential) 31 $174 0 2 0 0
32 Pipelayer Contractor 27 $174 0 2 0 0
32 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) 37 $174 0 2 0 0
42 Child Care Home, Family 44 $37 0 0 0 18
43 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) 47 $192 0 1 0 0
43 Landscape Contractor (Residential) 48 $192 0 1 0 0
45 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) 25 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) 30 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) 24 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) 29 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) 30 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) 22 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) 27 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) 26 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Glazier Contractor (Residential) 30 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Insulation Contractor (Residential) 30 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Painting Contractor (Commercial) 22 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Painting Contractor (Residential) 28 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Paving Contractor (Commercial) 24 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Paving Contractor (Residential) 28 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) 36 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) 26 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) 31 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) 23 $132 0 1 0 0
45 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) 28 $132 0 1 0 0
66 Milk Sampler 42 $10 0 1 0 0
67 Bill Collection Agency 31 $30 0 0 0 0
68 Animal Breeder 28 $10 0 0 0 0
68 Travel Guide 37 $10 0 0 0 0
68 Upholsterer 10 $10 0 0 0 0

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