North Carolina

68 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed
41st most burdensome licensing laws
17th most broadly and onerously licensed state

North Carolina’s licensing laws for lower-income occupations are the 41st most burdensome in the nation. They require, on average, $199 in fees, 234 days of education and experience, and around one exam. Because North Carolina licenses more of the lower-income occupations studied here than most other states—67 of 102—it ranks as the nation’s 17th most broadly and onerously licensed state.

North Carolina licenses several occupations that are unlicensed elsewhere, such as opticians and sign language interpreters, who are both licensed by just 21 other states. Despite infrequent licensure in other states, both occupations are fairly onerously licensed in North Carolina. Opticians must demonstrate about 912 days of education and experience (comprising two years of education and six months of experience) before becoming licensed—much more than the average of 714 days across licensed states. And sign language interpreters face $938 in fees and 1,469 days (four years and 40 hours) of education in North Carolina—considerably higher than the licensed-state averages of $661 in fees and 1,088 days of education and experience.

North Carolina also licenses some occupations much more onerously than it does others that may have a stronger connection to public safety. For example, North Carolina has one of the most burdensome barbering licenses in the nation, requiring $270 in fees, 722 days lost to education and experience (comprising 1,528 hours of schooling and one year of experience), and three exams. But EMTs need just 43 days (166 hours of education and 24 hours of experience) and two exams to become licensed. North Carolina should consider whether its heavy licensing burdens for barbers and other occupations can be reduced, repealed or—if government regulation is necessary—replaced with less restrictive regulatory alternatives such as inspections or voluntary certification.

Burden Rank Occupation Fees Estimated Calendar Days Lost Education Experience Exams Minimum Grade Minimum Age
1 Preschool Teacher, Public School $260 2555 4 years 3 years 1 0 18
2 Interpreter, Sign Language $938* 1469* 4 years and 40 clock hours* - 2 0 18
3 Athletic Trainer $500 1460 4 years - 1 0 0
4 Fire Alarm Installer $175 1095 - 3 years 1 0 18
5 Security Alarm Installer $175 1095 - 3 years 0 0 18
6 Optician $225 912 2 years 6 months 1 12 18
7 Pest Control Applicator $318 731 8 clock hours 2 years 3 0 18
8 Veterinary Technician $410 730 2 years - 2 0 18
9 Barber $270 722 1528 clock hours 1 years 3 0 0
10 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) $260 730 - 2 years 2 0 0
10 HVAC Contractor (Residential) $260 730 - 2 years 2 0 0
10 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) $260 730 - 2 years 2 0 0
10 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) $260 730 - 2 years 2 0 0
14 Earth Driller, Water Well $250 546 - 18 months 1 0 18
15 Child Care Home, Family $105 401 4 credit hours 1 years and 36 clock hours 0 12 21
16 Cosmetologist $197 350 1500 clock hours - 2 0 0
17 Massage Therapist $405 117 500 clock hours - 1 12 18
18 School Bus Driver $190 185 3 days 6 months 6 0 18
19 Auctioneer $314 19 80 clock hours - 1 12 18
20 Makeup Artist $168 140 600 clock hours - 2 0 0
20 Skin Care Specialist $168 140 600 clock hours - 2 0 0
22 Bus Driver, City/Transit $175 0 - - 5 0 18
23 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer $160 0 - - 5 0 18
24 Truck Driver, Other $160 0 - - 4 0 18
25 Bill Collection Agency $1050 0 - - 0 0 0
26 Manicurist $168 70 300 clock hours - 2 0 0
27 Emergency Medical Technician $0 43 166 clock hours 24 clock hours 2 0 18
28 Crane Operator $225 0 - - 2 0 18
29 Locksmith $338 0 - - 1 0 18
30 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator $145 0 - - 2 0 18
31 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) $75 0 - - 1 0 18
31 Landscape Contractor (Residential) $75 0 - - 1 0 18
33 Security Guard, Unarmed $68 3 16 clock hours - 0 0 18
34 Fisher, Commercial $400 0 - - 0 0 0
35 Mobile Home Installer $250 0 - - 1 0 0
36 Weigher $25 0 - - 0 0 18
37 Pharmacy Technician $159 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Glazier Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Insulation Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Mason Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Mason Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Paving Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Paving Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Pipelayer Contractor $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) $145 0 - - 1 0 0
63 Milk Sampler $5 0 - - 1 0 0
64 Animal Breeder $75 0 - - 0 0 0
65 Travel Guide $17 0 - - 0 0 0
66 Taxidermist $12 0 - - 0 0 0
67 Coach, Head (High School Sports) $0 1 4.5 clock hours - 0 0 0
68 Midwife, Direct Entry $0 0 - - 0 0 0