Massachusetts

50 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed
10th most burdensome licensing laws
29th most broadly and onerously licensed state

Massachusetts’ licensing laws for lower-income occupations are the 10th most burdensome, requiring, on average, $309 in fees, 513 days lost to education and experience, and roughly one exam. Massachusetts licenses fewer lower-income occupations than most states—50 of 102—making it the 29th most broadly and onerously licensed state.

Massachusetts licenses some occupations much more onerously than other states, including some that are already among the nation’s most burdened occupations. For example, both of the state’s commercial sheet metal contractor licenses—HVAC and other—require five years (1,825 days) of experience. But the average education and experience requirement across licensed states is 1,215 days for HVAC sheet metal contractors and just 567 days for other sheet metal contractors. These disparities are particularly jarring given that several states do not license these occupations at all.

Massachusetts also imposes burdens on some occupations that seem excessive compared to those for other occupations that may present greater risks to the public. Cosmetologists, for example, must complete 1,000 hours of education and then demonstrate two years of experience (the equivalent of 963 days)—the heaviest education and experience requirements of their type. But Massachusetts deems EMTs able to administer life-saving aid after having demonstrated only 150 hours (about 35 days) of education. To expand opportunity for lower-income workers, Massachusetts should repeal or reduce irrationally heavy licensing burdens, or—if government regulation is necessary—replace them with less restrictive regulatory alternatives.

Burden Rank Occupation Fees Estimated Calendar Days Lost Education Experience Exams Minimum Grade Minimum Age
1 Preschool Teacher, Public School $405 2555 4 years 3 years 2 0 0
2 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) $370 1825 - 5 years 1 12 17
2 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) $370 1825 - 5 years 1 12 17
4 Athletic Trainer $447 1460 4 years - 1 0 0
5 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) $370 1095 - 3 years 1 12 17
5 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) $370 1095 - 3 years 1 12 17
7 School Bus Driver $200 1107 28 clock hours 3 years and 32 clock hours 6 0 18
8 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) $500 1095 - 3 years 1 0 18
8 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) $500 1095 - 3 years 1 0 18
8 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) $500 1095 - 3 years 1 0 18
8 Glazier Contractor (Residential) $500 1095 - 3 years 1 0 18
8 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) $500 1095 - 3 years 1 0 18
8 Mason Contractor (Residential) $500 1095 - 3 years 1 0 18
14 Earth Driller, Water Well $275 1095 - 3 years 1 0 0
15 Cosmetologist $270 963 1000 clock hours 2 years 2 0 0
16 Optician $509 730 2 years - 3 12 18
17 Fire Alarm Installer $330 800 300 clock hours 2 years 2 12 0
18 Barber $164 779 1000 clock hours 18 months 3 0 18
19 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) $115 700 1000 clock hours 2000 clock hours 1 12 18
20 Pest Control Applicator $450 730 - 2 years 2 0 18
20 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator $450 730 - 2 years 2 0 18
22 Security Alarm Installer $276 800 300 clock hours 2 years 2 0 0
23 Child Care Home, Family $135 189 - 6 months and 32 clock hours 0 12 18
24 Massage Therapist $225 152 650 clock hours - 0 12 18
25 Shampooer $188 233 1000 clock hours - 2 0 0
26 Bus Driver, City/Transit $150 0 - - 5 0 18
27 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer $140 0 - - 5 0 18
28 Gaming Supervisor $1000 0 - - 0 0 18
28 Slot Supervisor $1000 0 - - 0 0 18
30 Truck Driver, Other $140 0 - - 4 0 18
31 Emergency Medical Technician $150 35 150 clock hours - 2 0 18
32 Bill Collection Agency $1300 0 - - 0 0 0
33 Pharmacy Technician $150 56 240 clock hours - 1 0 18
34 Skin Care Specialist $188 70 300 clock hours - 2 0 0
35 Funeral Attendant $70 7 1 credit hours - 0 12 0
36 Auctioneer $100 19 83 clock hours - 1 0 18
37 Crane Operator $75 0 - - 2 0 18
38 Gaming Cage Worker $300 0 - - 0 0 18
38 Gaming Dealer $300 0 - - 0 0 18
40 Manicurist $188 23 100 clock hours - 2 0 0
41 Dental Assistant $60 1 4 clock hours - 0 0 18
42 Wildlife Control Operator $136 1 1 days - 1 0 0
43 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) $250 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Insulation Contractor (Residential) $250 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Painting Contractor (Residential) $250 0 - - 0 0 0
46 Fisher, Commercial $195 0 - - 0 0 0
47 Travel Guide $65 0 - - 0 0 0
48 Animal Breeder $32 0 - - 0 0 0
49 Milk Sampler $20 0 - - 0 0 0
50 Coach, Head (High School Sports) $0 1 6.5 clock hours - 0 0 0