Tennessee

71 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed

39th most burdensome licensing laws

13th most broadly and onerously licensed state

Tennessee’s licensing laws for lower-income occupations rank as the 39th most burdensome. On average, they require $327 in fees, 226 days of education and experience, and approximately one exam. Because Tennessee licenses more lower-income occupations than most states—71 of the 102 studied here—it ranks as the 13th most broadly and onerously licensed.

Tennessee licenses several occupations rarely licensed elsewhere. For example, few other states license dental assistants (eight others), bartenders (12) or locksmiths (13). The state also imposes more onerous requirements than average for some occupations, such as auctioneers. Tennessee forces auctioneers to demonstrate about 756 days of education and experience (110 hours of education and two years of experience), pay $750 in fees, and pass two exams. But the licensed-state average burdens are just 94 days of education and experience, $278 in fees, and one exam. Making Tennessee’s burdens even more heavy-handed, 21 states do not deem it necessary to license auctioneers at all.

Tennessee also imposes burdens on some occupations that seem disproportionate compared to those for others that may pose greater risks to the public. Its burdens for fire and security alarm installers—some of the steepest of their type—are steeper than its burdens for all but one other occupation. Opening an alarm installation business requires four years of experience and two years of education (2,190 days total), nearly $1,000 in fees, and one exam. But EMTs need complete just 110 hours (roughly 26 days) of education, pay $205 in fees and pass two exams.  Tennessee could improve its rankings by reducing or repealing many of its licensing burdens for lower-income occupations, 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 $775 2555 4 years 3 years 5 0 18
2 Fire Alarm Installer 39 $985 2190 2 years 4 years 1 0 18
3 Security Alarm Installer 37 $963 2190 2 years 4 years 1 0 18
4 Athletic Trainer 49 $548 1460 4 years 2 0 0
5 Midwife, Direct Entry 28 $2043 1095 3 years 1 12 0
6 Auctioneer 30 $750 756 110 clock hours 2 years 2 12 21
7 Optician 22 $758 730 2 years 3 12 18
8 Earth Driller, Water Well 51 $557 730 2 years 3 10 18
9 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator 51 $325 730 2 years 3 0 18
10 Pest Control Applicator 51 $175 730 2 years 2 0 18
11 Taxi Driver/Chauffeur 16 $5 730 2 years 1 0 18
12 Veterinary Technician 36 $428 730 2 years 1 0 0
13 Barber 51 $215 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 17
14 Cosmetologist 51 $190 350 1500 clock hours 2 0 16
15 Manicurist 50 $190 140 600 clock hours 2 12 16
16 Makeup Artist 41 $190 175 750 clock hours 2 0 16
16 Skin Care Specialist 50 $190 175 750 clock hours 2 0 16
18 Emergency Medical Technician 51 $205 26 110 clock hours 2 12 18
19 Massage Therapist 44 $513 117 500 clock hours 1 0 18
20 School Bus Driver 51 $59 0 6 0 21
21 Dental Assistant 9 $78 0 0 12 18
22 Shampooer 37 $190 70 300 clock hours 2 0 16
23 Bus Driver, City/Transit 51 $57 0 5 0 21
24 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer 51 $84 0 5 0 19
25 Truck Driver, Other 51 $75 0 4 0 18
26 Locksmith 14 $338 16 30 clock hours 40 clock hours 1 0 18
27 Security Guard, Unarmed 34 $108 1 4 clock hours 1 0 18
28 Bartender 13 $20 1 5 clock hours 1 0 18
29 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) 37 $360 0 2 0 0
29 HVAC Contractor (Residential) 35 $360 0 2 0 0
29 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) 37 $360 0 2 0 0
29 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) 36 $360 0 2 0 0
33 Bill Collection Agency 31 $750 0 0 0 0
34 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) 47 $505 0 1 0 0
34 Landscape Contractor (Residential) 48 $505 0 1 0 0
36 Child Care Home, Family 44 $100 1 4 clock hours 0 0 18
37 Weigher 25 $50 0 0 0 18
38 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) 23 $307 0 1 0 0
38 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) 28 $307 0 1 0 0
40 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) 25 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) 30 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) 24 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) 30 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) 24 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) 29 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) 30 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) 22 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) 27 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) 26 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Glazier Contractor (Residential) 30 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Insulation Contractor (Residential) 30 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) 26 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) 30 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Mason Contractor (Commercial) 26 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Mason Contractor (Residential) 31 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Painting Contractor (Commercial) 22 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Painting Contractor (Residential) 28 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Paving Contractor (Commercial) 24 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Paving Contractor (Residential) 28 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Pipelayer Contractor 27 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) 26 $305 0 1 0 0
40 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) 31 $305 0 1 0 0
65 Mobile Home Installer 39 $25 3 15 clock hours 1 0 0
66 Milk Sampler 42 $25 0 1 0 0
67 Fisher, Commercial 43 $200 0 0 0 0
68 Travel Guide 37 $150 0 0 0 0
69 Pharmacy Technician 44 $127 0 0 0 0
70 Taxidermist 28 $122 0 0 0 0
71 Coach, Head (High School Sports) 48 $0 1 4.5 clock hours 0 0 0

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