Illinois’ licensing laws for lower-income occupations are the 35th most burdensome. On average, Illinois’ barriers to entry are $244 in fees, 249 days lost to education and experience, and around one exam. Licensing 40 of the 102 lower-income occupations studied here, Illinois is the 39th most broadly and onerously licensed state.
Illinois imposes more onerous requirements than many other states for some occupations. For example, sign language interpreters—the state’s most onerously licensed occupation—must pay a $900 fee, complete four years and 40 hours of education (roughly 1,469 days total), and pass two exams to become licensed. But more than half of states (29) do not license the occupation at all and, among those that do, the average requirements are just $661 in fees, about 1,088 days of education and experience, and two exams.
Illinois 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, it takes more schooling to become a barber or a cosmetologist in Illinois than it does to become an EMT. EMTs can become licensed after completing about 37 days (160 hours) of education. Barbers and cosmetologists, on the other hand, must spend nearly 10 times as long in school (1,500 hours or roughly 350 days) before they can work. Illinois could expand lower-income employment opportunities by reducing or repealing these and other licensing burdens, or—if government regulation is necessary—by replacing them with less restrictive regulatory alternatives.