Hawaii

63 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed

1st most burdensome licensing laws

5th most broadly and onerously licensed state

Hawaii’s occupational licensing laws for lower-income occupations are the most burdensome in the nation. On average, Hawaii’s barriers to entry comprise $438 in fees, 988 days—nearly three years—of education and experience, and around two exams. Hawaii also licenses 63 of the 102 occupations studied here—more than average, though fewer than some other similarly burdensome states. For this reason, it ranks as the fifth most broadly and onerously licensed state. While this rank is better than Hawaii’s first-place burden score, it still means the Aloha State is one of the worst licensing environments for lower-income occupations.

Some of Hawaii’s most burdensome licenses are for occupations rarely licensed by other states. Tree trimmers, for example, must pay $615 in fees, demonstrate 1,460 days (four years) of experience and pass two exams before they can work, while the average burdens in the seven states that license the occupation are $325 in fees, 574 days of education and experience, and roughly two exams. With so few states licensing tree trimmers, it is questionable for Hawaii to license them at all, let alone so onerously.

Hawaii also imposes burdens on 54 occupations that are more onerous than those for EMTs, an occupation that arguably has a stronger connection to public safety. For example, it is harder to become a city/transit bus driver, cosmetologist or construction contractor than it is to become an EMT. Would-be EMTs must demonstrate 180 hours of education and 135 hours of experience (losing about 74 days) and pass two exams, while all 33 of the Hawaii contractor licenses studied require nearly 20 times as much education and experience (1,460 days or four years) and at least one—if not two—exams. Hawaii could improve its rankings by repealing or reducing such heavy burdens, 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 $584 2555 4 years 3 years 2 0 0
2 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) 25 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) 30 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) 24 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) 30 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) 30 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Earth Driller, Water Well 51 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Fire Alarm Installer 39 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) 22 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) 27 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) 26 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Glazier Contractor (Residential) 30 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) 37 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 HVAC Contractor (Residential) 35 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Insulation Contractor (Residential) 30 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) 26 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) 30 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) 47 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Landscape Contractor (Residential) 48 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Mason Contractor (Commercial) 26 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Mason Contractor (Residential) 31 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Painting Contractor (Commercial) 22 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Painting Contractor (Residential) 28 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Paving Contractor (Commercial) 24 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Paving Contractor (Residential) 28 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Pipelayer Contractor 27 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Security Alarm Installer 37 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) 37 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) 36 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) 26 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) 31 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
2 Tree Trimmer 7 $615 1460 4 years 2 0 18
35 Athletic Trainer 49 $685 1460 4 years 1 0 18
36 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) 24 $540 1460 4 years 1 0 18
36 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) 29 $540 1460 4 years 1 0 18
36 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) 23 $540 1460 4 years 1 0 18
36 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) 28 $540 1460 4 years 1 0 18
40 Optician 22 $536 730 2 years 2 12 18
41 Pest Control Applicator 51 $355 730 2 years 3 0 18
41 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator 51 $355 730 2 years 3 0 18
43 Cosmetologist 51 $110 420 1800 clock hours 1 12 16
44 School Bus Driver 51 $165 365 1 years 6 0 21
45 Shampooer 37 $110 292 1250 clock hours 1 12 16
46 Barber 51 $45 350 1500 clock hours 1 0 17
47 Makeup Artist 41 $110 140 600 clock hours 1 12 16
47 Skin Care Specialist 50 $110 140 600 clock hours 1 12 16
49 Manicurist 50 $110 82 350 clock hours 1 12 16
50 Security Guard, Unarmed 34 $150 1 8 clock hours 1 12 18
51 Bus Driver, City/Transit 51 $160 0 5 0 21
52 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer 51 $155 0 5 0 21
53 Massage Therapist 44 $140 133 570 clock hours 1 0 18
54 Truck Driver, Other 51 $155 0 4 0 21
55 Emergency Medical Technician 51 $184 74 180 clock hours 135 clock hours 2 0 18
56 Crane Operator 18 $375 0 2 0 21
57 Weigher 25 $25 0 1 0 18
58 Child Care Home, Family 44 $71 0 0 0 18
59 Bill Collection Agency 31 $139 0 0 0 0
60 Travel Agency 7 $110 0 0 0 0
61 Auctioneer 30 $100 0 0 0 0
62 Fisher, Commercial 43 $50 0 0 0 0
63 Travel Guide 37 $35 2 12 clock hours 0 0 0

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