Virginia

68 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed

7th most burdensome licensing laws

7th most broadly and onerously licensed state

Virginia’s licensing laws for lower-income occupations are some of the worst in the nation, ranking as the seventh most burdensome. On average, Virginia law requires $291 in fees, 620 days of education and experience, and approximately one exam. Licensing more lower-income occupations than average—68 of the 102 studied here—Virginia is also the seventh most broadly and onerously licensed state.

Virginia licenses a number of occupations that most other states do not license, including animal control officers (licensed by six other states), upholsterers (nine others), locksmiths (13 others), commercial floor sander contractors (21 others) and commercial painting contractors (21 others). The latter two contractor occupations face particularly steep training requirements in Virginia, where aspirants must demonstrate an estimated 731 days of education and experience (two years of experience and eight hours of education). By comparison, on average, licensed states require fewer than 500 days of education and experience (485 for floor sander contractors and 488 days for painting contractors). Given that so few states see fit to license these occupations at all, Virginia’s requirements appear excessive.

Virginia also imposes burdens on some occupations that seem disproportionate compared to those for other occupations that may present a greater risk to public safety. For example, it takes roughly 63 days (nine credit hours) and $80 in fees to become a licensed EMT. Becoming a licensed landscape contractor, on the other hand, requires roughly 731 days (two years of experience and eight hours of education) and $320 in fees. Virginia could improve its rankings by reducing or repealing such 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 Earth Driller, Water Well 51 $460 2203 56 clock hours 6 years 1 0 18
2 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) 37 $720 1826 8 clock hours 5 years 2 0 18
2 HVAC Contractor (Residential) 35 $720 1826 8 clock hours 5 years 2 0 18
2 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) 37 $720 1826 8 clock hours 5 years 2 0 18
2 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) 36 $720 1826 8 clock hours 5 years 2 0 18
6 Preschool Teacher, Public School 50 $630 1460 4 years 4 0 18
7 Coach, Head (High School Sports) 48 $450 1461 4 years and 4 clock hours 3 0 18
8 Athletic Trainer 49 $430 1460 4 years 1 0 0
9 Midwife, Direct Entry 28 $1277 1095 3 years 1 12 0
10 Security Alarm Installer 37 $650 1096 8 clock hours 3 years 0 0 0
11 Optician 22 $350 730 2 years 2 12 18
12 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) 25 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) 30 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) 24 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) 30 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) 24 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) 29 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) 30 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Fire Alarm Installer 39 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) 22 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) 27 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) 26 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Glazier Contractor (Residential) 30 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Insulation Contractor (Residential) 30 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) 26 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) 30 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) 47 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Landscape Contractor (Residential) 48 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Mason Contractor (Commercial) 26 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Mason Contractor (Residential) 31 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Painting Contractor (Commercial) 22 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Painting Contractor (Residential) 28 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Paving Contractor (Commercial) 24 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Paving Contractor (Residential) 28 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Pipelayer Contractor 27 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) 26 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) 31 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) 23 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
12 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) 28 $320 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
41 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) 25 $235 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
41 Mobile Home Installer 39 $235 731 8 clock hours 2 years 1 0 18
43 Veterinary Technician 36 $375 730 2 years 1 0 0
44 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator 51 $120 365 1 years 3 0 18
45 Pest Control Applicator 51 $120 365 1 years 2 0 18
46 Cosmetologist 51 $280 350 1500 clock hours 2 0 0
47 Barber 51 $275 350 1500 clock hours 2 0 0
48 Child Care Home, Family 44 $39 92 3 months and 6 clock hours 0 12 18
49 Massage Therapist 44 $335 117 500 clock hours 1 0 18
50 School Bus Driver 51 $33 8 24 clock hours 24 clock hours 6 0 18
51 Pharmacy Technician 44 $154 0 1 12 0
52 Skin Care Specialist 50 $175 140 600 clock hours 2 0 0
53 Emergency Medical Technician 51 $80 63 9 credit hours 2 0 18
54 Bus Driver, City/Transit 51 $30 0 5 0 18
55 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer 51 $27 0 5 0 18
56 Truck Driver, Other 51 $27 0 4 0 18
57 Auctioneer 30 $65 19 80 clock hours 1 0 18
58 Manicurist 50 $175 35 150 clock hours 2 0 0
59 Locksmith 14 $75 3 18 clock hours 1 0 18
59 Security Guard, Unarmed 34 $75 3 18 clock hours 1 0 18
61 Weigher 25 $25 0 0 0 18
62 Fisher, Commercial 43 $190 0 0 0 0
62 Travel Guide 37 $190 0 0 0 0
64 Milk Sampler 42 $0 0 1 0 0
64 Wildlife Control Operator 23 $0 0 1 0 0
66 Animal Control Officer 7 $0 20 84 clock hours 0 0 0
67 Taxidermist 28 $40 0 0 0 0
68 Upholsterer 10 $25 0 0 0 0

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