Occupational Licensing in Massachusetts
What is Occupational Licensing?
Occupational licensing is a permit issued by the government that allows someone to work in a particular field. In Massachusetts, 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 Massachusetts
occupational licenses often impose high barriers to entry. 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 Massachusetts takes 511 days of education and experience. In fact, Massachusetts has the eighth most burdensome licensing laws in the entire country.
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 $7.9 billion and leads to 64,200 fewer jobs each year.
Recent Licensing Reforms in Massachusetts
Working with the Institute for Justice, lawmakers in Massachusetts recently exempted natural hair braiding from its licensing laws. Prior to reform, anyone who wanted to braid hair for a living had to become a licensed hairdresser, a license that takes at least 1,000 hours of course to complete. Worse, many hairdressing schools don’t even teach African-style natural hair braiding techniques.
Can You Get a License to Work with a Criminal Record in Massachusetts?
Unfortunately, Massachusetts has some of the worst laws for ex-offenders who want to become licensed. In Massachusetts, licensing boards can deny applicants based on any felony, no matter if the crime was completely irrelevant to the job at hand. Applicants can also be disqualified even if they’ve been fully rehabilitated. Overall, Massachusetts received a F in IJ’s Barred from Working report.
How You Can Help
If you are a Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts workers have the economic liberty they deserve.
Massachusetts Occupational Licensing in the NEws
Are Occupational Licenses Preventing You From Working in Massachusetts ?
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.
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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:
Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky |Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Washington, D.C. | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming