Alabama licenses more lower-income occupations than average—63 of the 102 studied here—and its laws are the 47th most burdensome. On average, Alabama’s barriers to entry into lower-income occupations are $329 in fees, 142 days of education and experience, and approximately one exam. The state ranks as the 25th most broadly and onerously licensed, placing it right in the middle of the pack.
Alabama licenses some occupations that are rarely licensed elsewhere. For example, few other states license animal trainers (eight), bartenders (12) or locksmiths (13). And Alabama charges much higher fees than many other states for pipelayer contractors: $592 compared to the $377 average in the 27 states that license them.
Alabama 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, auctioneer is Alabama’s seventh most onerously licensed occupation, requiring $500 in fees and 385 days of education and experience (comprising an 85-hour course and a one-year apprenticeship). These barriers are higher than both the average barriers in the 30 states that license auctioneers ($278 in fees and 94 days of education and experience) and Alabama’s own fee and education and experience requirements for EMTs, an occupation that has far more to do with public health and safety. Aspiring EMTs need only pay a $90 fee and complete an estimated 42 days (180 hours) of education to become licensed. To expand opportunity for workers in the state, Alabama should reduce or repeal irrational licensing burdens, or—if government regulation is necessary—replace them with less restrictive regulatory alternatives.