Kentucky

37 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed

12th most burdensome licensing laws

40th most broadly and onerously licensed state

Kentucky’s lower-income occupational licensing laws rank as the 12th most burdensome, requiring, on average, $240 in fees, 466 days of education and experience, and around two exams. Because Kentucky licenses relatively few of the lower-income occupations studied here—37 out of 102—it ranks as the 40th most broadly and onerously licensed state.

Kentucky imposes more onerous requirements than many other states for several occupations. For example, the average license requirements for auctioneers are a $278 fee, 94 days of education and experience, and one exam. Kentucky, on the other hand, requires nearly twice as much in fees ($530), nearly eight times as much education and experience (around 751 days, comprising two years of experience and 92 hours of education), and twice as many exams (two). These steep requirements are out of sync with the relatively lower burdens imposed by other states that license auctioneers, and 31 states do not license them at all.

Kentucky also makes it much more difficult to enter 20 occupations than it does to become an EMT. EMTs must only pay a $168 fee, complete about 28 days (119 hours) of education and pass two exams to obtain a license. But cosmetologists, for example, must pay $200 in fees, sacrifice an estimated 602 days to education and experience (comprising 1,800 hours of education and six months of experience), and pass three exams before being allowed to work in Kentucky. To open up opportunity for lower-income workers, Kentucky should repeal or reduce its heavy burdens for cosmetologists and other occupations, or—if government regulation is necessary—replace 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 $358 1825 4 years and 1 years 2 0 0
2 Interpreter, Sign Language 22 $850 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
3 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) 37 $506 1460 4 years 3 0 18
3 HVAC Contractor (Residential) 35 $506 1460 4 years 3 0 18
3 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) 37 $506 1460 4 years 3 0 18
3 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) 36 $506 1460 4 years 3 0 18
7 Athletic Trainer 49 $400 1460 4 years 1 0 0
8 Auctioneer 30 $530 751 92 clock hours 2 years 2 12 18
9 Optician 22 $500 730 2 years 3 12 18
10 Earth Driller, Water Well 51 $315 730 2 years 1 0 18
11 Cosmetologist 51 $200 602 1800 clock hours 6 months 3 12 16
12 Pest Control Applicator 51 $95 730 2 years 1 0 18
13 Veterinary Technician 36 $335 730 2 years 1 0 0
14 Barber 51 $400 532 1500 clock hours 6 months 2 12 18
14 Shampooer 37 $400 532 1500 clock hours 6 months 2 12 18
16 Coach, Head (High School Sports) 48 $20 450 64 credit hours and 10 clock hours 0 12 21
17 Makeup Artist 41 $200 233 1000 clock hours 2 12 18
17 Skin Care Specialist 50 $200 233 1000 clock hours 2 12 18
19 Manicurist 50 $100 140 600 clock hours 2 12 16
20 Massage Therapist 44 $320 140 600 clock hours 1 0 18
21 Emergency Medical Technician 51 $168 28 119 clock hours 2 12 18
22 School Bus Driver 51 $135 4 25 clock hours 6 0 21
23 Bus Driver, City/Transit 51 $130 0 5 0 18
24 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer 51 $125 0 5 0 18
25 Child Care Home, Family 44 $80 1 6 clock hours 0 12 18
26 Truck Driver, Other 51 $125 0 4 0 18
27 Mobile Home Installer 39 $100 87 15 clock hours 60 days 1 0 0
28 Wildlife Control Operator 23 $100 0 1 0 18
29 Travel Guide 37 $190 1 3 clock hours 0 0 18
30 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator 51 $55 0 4 0 0
31 Pharmacy Technician 44 $25 0 0 0 16
32 Fisher, Commercial 43 $150 0 0 0 0
32 Taxidermist 28 $150 0 0 0 0
34 Milk Sampler 42 $15 1 1 days 1 0 0
35 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) 47 $40 0 0 0 0
35 Landscape Contractor (Residential) 48 $40 0 0 0 0
37 Packer 6 $20 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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