Kentucky’s lower-income occupational licensing laws rank as the 12th most burdensome, requiring, on average, $240 in fees, 466 days of education and experience, and around two exams. Because Kentucky licenses relatively few of the lower-income occupations studied here—37 out of 102—it ranks as the 40th most broadly and onerously licensed state.
Kentucky imposes more onerous requirements than many other states for several occupations. For example, the average license requirements for auctioneers are a $278 fee, 94 days of education and experience, and one exam. Kentucky, on the other hand, requires nearly twice as much in fees ($530), nearly eight times as much education and experience (around 751 days, comprising two years of experience and 92 hours of education), and twice as many exams (two). These steep requirements are out of sync with the relatively lower burdens imposed by other states that license auctioneers, and 31 states do not license them at all.
Kentucky also makes it much more difficult to enter 20 occupations than it does to become an EMT. EMTs must only pay a $168 fee, complete about 28 days (119 hours) of education and pass two exams to obtain a license. But cosmetologists, for example, must pay $200 in fees, sacrifice an estimated 602 days to education and experience (comprising 1,800 hours of education and six months of experience), and pass three exams before being allowed to work in Kentucky. To open up opportunity for lower-income workers, Kentucky should repeal or reduce its heavy burdens for cosmetologists and other occupations, or—if government regulation is necessary—replace them with less restrictive regulatory alternatives such as inspections or voluntary certification.