South Carolina

60 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed

17th most burdensome licensing laws

22nd most broadly and onerously licensed state

South Carolina licenses 60 of the 102 lower-income occupations studied here. Its laws are the 17th most burdensome and require, on average, $220 in fees, 440 days of education and experience, and around two exams. South Carolina ranks as the 22nd most broadly and onerously licensed state, placing it in the middle of the pack.

South Carolina frequently licenses occupations that are unlicensed elsewhere, such as commercial floor sander and painting contractors, both of whom are licensed by just 21 other states. And both these occupations face particularly steep burdens in South Carolina. The state requires 730 days (two years) of experience before these contractors can work. Meanwhile, the average education and experience requirements across states that license these occupations are under 500 days—50 percent less than South Carolina requires. Given that fewer than half of states license these occupations at all, it is curious that South Carolina licenses them so onerously.

South Carolina also imposes burdens on some occupations that seem excessive compared to those for other occupations that may present greater risks to the public. For example, aspiring EMTs must pay $80 in fees, complete an estimated 34 days (144 hours) of education and pass two exams. But it takes three times longer to become a makeup artist (105 days), 10 times longer to become a residential carpenter or cabinet maker contractor (365 days), and more than 20 times longer to become a veterinary technician (730 days). South Carolina could improve lower-income job prospects by repealing or easing these and other heavy licensing 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 $600 2555 4 years 3 years 3 0 18
2 Athletic Trainer 49 $350 1460 4 years 1 0 0
3 Midwife, Direct Entry 28 $1200 1095 3 years 2 12 0
4 Optician 22 $545 730 2 years 2 12 18
5 Earth Driller, Water Well 51 $417 730 2 years 3 0 18
6 Veterinary Technician 36 $360 730 2 years 2 0 18
7 Pest Control Applicator 51 $300 730 2 years 2 0 18
8 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) 37 $385 730 2 years 3 0 0
9 Mobile Home Installer 39 $150 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
10 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) 25 $325 730 2 years 2 0 0
10 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) 24 $325 730 2 years 2 0 0
10 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) 26 $325 730 2 years 2 0 0
13 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) 26 $310 730 2 years 2 0 0
13 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) 26 $310 730 2 years 2 0 0
13 Paving Contractor (Commercial) 24 $310 730 2 years 2 0 0
13 Pipelayer Contractor 27 $310 730 2 years 2 0 0
13 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) 37 $310 730 2 years 2 0 0
18 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) 24 $250 730 2 years 1 0 0
18 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $250 730 2 years 1 0 0
18 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) 22 $250 730 2 years 1 0 0
18 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $250 730 2 years 1 0 0
18 Mason Contractor (Commercial) 26 $250 730 2 years 1 0 0
18 Painting Contractor (Commercial) 22 $250 730 2 years 1 0 0
18 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) 23 $250 730 2 years 1 0 0
25 Cosmetologist 51 $175 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 16
26 Barber 51 $175 350 1500 clock hours 2 9 17
27 HVAC Contractor (Residential) 35 $280 365 1 years 2 0 0
27 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) 36 $280 365 1 years 2 0 0
29 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) 30 $270 365 1 years 2 0 0
30 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) 30 $50 365 1 years 0 0 0
30 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) 30 $50 365 1 years 0 0 0
30 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) 30 $50 365 1 years 0 0 0
30 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) 27 $50 365 1 years 0 0 0
30 Insulation Contractor (Residential) 30 $50 365 1 years 0 0 0
30 Mason Contractor (Residential) 31 $50 365 1 years 0 0 0
30 Painting Contractor (Residential) 28 $50 365 1 years 0 0 0
30 Paving Contractor (Residential) 28 $50 365 1 years 0 0 0
30 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) 31 $50 365 1 years 0 0 0
30 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) 28 $50 365 1 years 0 0 0
40 Massage Therapist 44 $345 117 500 clock hours 1 12 18
41 Makeup Artist 41 $175 105 450 clock hours 2 10 16
41 Skin Care Specialist 50 $175 105 450 clock hours 2 10 16
43 Manicurist 50 $175 70 300 clock hours 2 10 16
44 School Bus Driver 51 $23 5 20 clock hours 10 clock hours 8 0 18
45 Auctioneer 30 $435 19 80 clock hours 1 0 18
46 Bus Driver, City/Transit 51 $34 0 5 0 18
46 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer 51 $34 0 5 0 18
48 Fire Alarm Installer 39 $345 4 22 clock hours 2 0 18
48 Security Alarm Installer 37 $345 4 22 clock hours 2 0 18
50 Emergency Medical Technician 51 $80 34 144 clock hours 2 0 18
51 Truck Driver, Other 51 $32 0 4 0 18
52 Shampooer 37 $90 42 6 weeks 1 0 16
53 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator 51 $100 0 2 0 18
54 Security Guard, Unarmed 34 $65 1 6 clock hours 1 0 18
55 Glazier Contractor (Residential) 30 $270 0 2 0 0
56 Travel Guide 37 $150 0 0 0 0
57 Milk Sampler 42 $0 0 1 0 0
58 Pharmacy Technician 44 $40 0 0 0 0
59 Fisher, Commercial 43 $25 0 0 0 0
60 Weigher 25 $5 0 0 0 0

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