New Hampshire licenses 38 of the 102 lower-income occupations studied here—fewer than average—and its laws rank as the 34th most burdensome. On average, New Hampshire’s barriers to entry to lower-income occupations are $183 in fees, 273 days of education and experience, and roughly two exams. New Hampshire ranks as the 41st most broadly and onerously licensed, placing it among the nation’s less burdened states.
New Hampshire licenses several occupations that are rarely licensed elsewhere, such as animal trainers (licensed by eight other states), sign language interpreters (21 others), opticians (21 others) and auctioneers (29 others). Among those, sign language interpreters face particularly steep burdens in New Hampshire: $875 in fees, about 1,469 days (four years and 40 hours) of education and two exams.
New Hampshire also makes it much more difficult to enter many occupations—such as barbering or cosmetology—than it does to become an EMT, an occupation that arguably has a stronger connection to public safety. Barbers must complete 800 hours (an estimated 187 days) of education, while cosmetologists must complete 1,500 hours (an estimated 350 days). EMTs, on the other hand, need only complete 150 hours (an estimated 35 days) of education. In 2017, New Hampshire exempted hair braiders from the state’s cosmetology laws. It could expand opportunities by reducing or repealing its heavy licensing burdens for other lower-income occupations, or—if government regulation is demonstrably necessary—by replacing them with less restrictive alternatives.