Occupational Licensing in Connecticut
What is Occupational Licensing?
Occupational licensing is a permit issued by the government that allows someone to work in a particular field. In Connecticut, nearly one in five workers must now get an occupational license before they can legally do their job. But many of these licenses are too strict, and they don’t even improve service quality or protect the public from actual harm.
Licenses Create Barriers to Working in Connecticut
That makes it much harder for people to find work or to start a new business. According to the Institute for Justice’s report, License to Work, the average license for low- and moderate-income jobs in Connecticut takes 374 days of education and experience. And those required classes can be very expensive.
For instance, cosmetology is one of the state’s most popular licenses. In Connecticut, it takes at least 1,500 hours of classes to get a license in cosmetology. On average, a cosmetology program in the state costs $19,357, while the average student takes out $6,709 in federal student loans. But despite such a hefty investment, many cosmetologists barely earn enough to get by: Half of cosmetologists make less than $30,610 a year.
All told, the state’s licensing requirements come with heavy costs. A separate study by IJ, At What Cost?, estimated that occupational licensing costs the state’s economy $6.34 billion and leads to 48,000 fewer jobs each year.
The Institute for Justice’s Fight Against Strict Licensing Laws in Connecticut
To better foster economic liberty, the Institute for Justice has filed several lawsuits against strict occupational licensing laws in Connecticut. On behalf of Susan Roberts, IJ successfully challenged a state law that banned interior designers from calling themselves “interior designers” without a government-issued license. IJ also filed a lawsuit over Connecticut’s teeth-whitening monopoly, which only allowed licensed dentists to offer over-the-counter teeth-whitening services. Although the state’s dental commission largely backed down, federal courts upheld the monopoly.
Can You Get a License to Work with a Criminal Record in Connecticut ?
In Connecticut, licensing boards can deny licenses to applicants if they have been convicted of a crime if it bears a “relationship to the job for which the person has applied.” Connecticut also bans boards from considering arrests and erased records. Overall, Connecticut received a C- in IJ’s Barred from Working report.
How You Can Help
If you are a Connecticut resident and you want to help fight against these unfair and unnecessary licensing laws, there are a few ways you can get involved. You can donate to the Institute for Justice, sign up for our email updates, and share our message with your network. Together, we can make sure that all Connecticut workers have the economic liberty they deserve.
CONNECTICUT OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING CASES
A Reason to Smile in the Constitution State: Entrepreneurs Challenge Connecticut’s Teeth-Whitening Monopoly
Connecticut’s prohibition on non-dentist teeth whitening was never about protecting consumers; it was about protecting dentists from honest competition.
Connecticut Occupational Licensing In The News
Are Occupational Licenses Preventing You From Working in Connecticut ?
Are you not able to exercise your job or open a business because of burdensome occupational licensing requirements in your state?
Are you forced to waste valuable time and money to become licensed?
We might be able to help.
If you want IJ to review your case, please share your situation through the following form.
Occupational Licensing Research
This third edition of IJ’s landmark License to Work report finds that for lower-income Americans, licensing continues to be widespread, burdensome and—frequently—irrational. It also provides a blueprint for meaningful licensing reform.
Cosmetology | Economic Liberty
Cosmetology is one of the most widely and onerously regulated occupations for lower-income workers, yet little research has explored the experiences of aspiring beauty workers. This first-of-its-kind study takes advantage of federal educational…
Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing
Earning an honest living is one of the best ways to prevent re-offending. But strict occupational licensing requirements make it harder for ex-offenders to find work, thwarting their chances of successful reentry.
Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing
Not only do state occupational licensing laws force people to spend a lot of time and money earning a license instead of earning a living, they also impose real economic costs. This study takes advantage…
Learn more about our Economic Liberty work.
Economic liberty—the right to earn a living in the occupation of your choice without unnecessary government interference—is at the heart of the American Dream. Unfortunately, all too many entrepreneurs find that this dream is under constant attack by unreasonable licensing, permitting and other requirements that stand in the way of honest competition.Learn More
Reforming Occupational Licensing Nationwide
All Americans deserve the opportunity to earn an honest living. Yet occupational licenses, which are essentially permission slips from the government, routinely stand in the way of honest enterprise. Since our founding, IJ has fought to roll back oppressive occupational-licensing rules in more than two dozen distinct occupations, ranging all the way from tax preparers to florists to traditional African hair braiders. Learn more about IJ’s occupational-licensing work in all 50 states:
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