Iowa

72 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed
37th most burdensome licensing requirements
12th most widely and onerously licensed occupation

Iowa’s licensing laws for lower-income occupations are the 37th most burdensome. The state’s average barriers to entry are $178 in fees, 288 days lost to education and experience, and around one exam. Because Iowa licenses a relatively high number of the 102 occupations studied here—71—it ranks as the 12th most broadly and onerously licensed state, making it one of the worst states for occupational licensing for lower-income workers.

Iowa frequently licenses occupations that are rarely licensed elsewhere. For example, few other states license travel agencies (six) or dental assistants (eight). Iowa’s dental assistant license requires 20 hours of education and six months of experience (about 185 days total), $86 in fees, and three exams, steep requirements given that most states do not license the occupation at all. Iowa also licenses commercial and residential HVAC contractors and HVAC sheet metal contractors—some of the most heavily burdened occupations in the nation—much more onerously than the three dozen or so other states that license them. These occupations require 2,190 days—a full six years—of experience in Iowa compared to averages of about half that across licensed states.

Iowa also places some of the highest experience requirements in the nation on barbers and cosmetologists. Aspiring licensees must demonstrate 2,100 hours (roughly 490 days) of experience, while EMTs need only demonstrate 110 hours (roughly 26 days) to become licensed. Iowa should evaluate whether its high burdens for barbers, cosmetologists and other occupations can be reduced, repealed or—if government regulation is necessary—replaced with less restrictive regulatory alternatives.

Occupation Fees Estimated Calendar Days Lost Education Experience Exams Minimum Grade Minimum Age
Animal Breeder $175 0 - - 0 0 0
Athletic Trainer $420 1460 4 years - 1 0 0
Barber $135 490 2100 clock hours - 2 10 16
Bill Collection Agency $10 0 - - 0 0 0
Bus Driver, City/Transit $26 0 - - 5 0 18
Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Coach, Head (High School Sports) $85 15 65 contact hours - 0 0 18
Cosmetologist $118 490 2100 clock hours - 1 12 0
Dental Assistant $86 185 20 clock hours 6 months 3 12 17
Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Door Repair Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Earth Driller, Water Well $450 730 - 2 years 2 0 0
Emergency Medical Technician $110 26 110 clock hours - 2 0 17
Fire Alarm Installer $1208 1825 - 5 years 3 0 0
Fisher, Commercial $202 0 - - 0 0 0
Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Gaming Cage Worker $68 0 - - 0 0 18
Gaming Dealer $68 0 - - 0 0 18
Gaming Supervisor $68 0 - - 0 0 18
Glazier Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Glazier Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
HVAC Contractor (Commercial) $890 2190 - 6 years 2 12 18
HVAC Contractor (Residential) $890 2190 - 6 years 2 12 18
Insulation Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Insulation Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Interpreter, Sign Language $795* 1469* 4 years and 40 clock hours* - 2 0 18
Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Landscape Contractor (Commercial) $75 0 - - 0 0 0
Landscape Contractor (Residential) $75 0 - - 0 0 0
Makeup Artist $118 140 600 clock hours - 1 12 0
Manicurist $118 76 325 clock hours - 1 12 0
Mason Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Mason Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Massage Therapist $315 117 500 clock hours - 1 0 0
Midwife, Direct Entry $0 0 - - 0 0 0
Milk Sampler $20 1 - 1 days 2 0 16
Mobile Home Installer $300 366 8 clock hours 1 years 1 0 18
Painting Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Painting Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Paving Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Paving Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Pest Control Applicator $75 0 - - 2 0 0
Pharmacy Technician $169 0 - - 1 12 0
Pipelayer Contractor $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Preschool Teacher, Public School $512 2190 4 years 2 years 2 0 0
School Bus Driver $72 3 15 clock hours - 6 0 18
Security Alarm Installer $893 730 - 2 years 2 0 0
Security Guard, Unarmed $40 0 - - 0 0 18
Shampooer $118 490 2100 clock hours - 1 12 0
Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) $890 2190 - 6 years 2 12 18
Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) $890 2190 - 6 years 2 12 18
Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Skin Care Specialist $118 140 600 clock hours - 1 12 0
Slot Supervisor $68 0 - - 0 0 18
Taxi Driver/Chauffeur $40 0 - - 0 0 18
Taxidermist $18 0 - - 0 0 0
Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) $50 0 - - 0 0 0
Travel Agency $15 0 - - 0 0 0
Truck Driver, Other $52 0 - - 4 0 18
Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer $52 0 - - 5 0 18
Vegetation Pesticide Applicator $75 0 - - 3 0 0
Veterinary Technician $335 730 2 years - 2 0 0
Wildlife Control Operator $25 0 - - 2 0 18