Tennessee

71 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed
39th most burdensome licensing requirements
13th most widely and onerously licensed occupation

Tennessee’s licensing laws for lower-income occupations rank as the 39th most burdensome. On average, they require $327 in fees, 226 days of education and experience, and approximately one exam. Because Tennessee licenses more lower-income occupations than most states—71 of the 102 studied here—it ranks as the 13th most broadly and onerously licensed.

Tennessee licenses several occupations rarely licensed elsewhere. For example, few other states license dental assistants (eight others), bartenders (12) or locksmiths (13). The state also imposes more onerous requirements than average for some occupations, such as auctioneers. Tennessee forces auctioneers to demonstrate about 756 days of education and experience (110 hours of education and two years of experience), pay $750 in fees, and pass two exams. But the licensed-state average burdens are just 94 days of education and experience, $278 in fees, and one exam. Making Tennessee’s burdens even more heavy-handed, 21 states do not deem it necessary to license auctioneers at all.

Tennessee also imposes burdens on some occupations that seem disproportionate compared to those for others that may pose greater risks to the public. Its burdens for fire and security alarm installers—some of the steepest of their type—are steeper than its burdens for all but one other occupation. Opening an alarm installation business requires four years of experience and two years of education (2,190 days total), nearly $1,000 in fees, and one exam. But EMTs need complete just 110 hours (roughly 26 days) of education, pay $205 in fees and pass two exams.  Tennessee could improve its rankings by reducing or repealing many of its licensing burdens for lower-income occupations, or—if government regulation is necessary—by replacing 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 $775 2555 4 years 3 years 5 0 18
2 Fire Alarm Installer $985 2190 2 years 4 years 1 0 18
3 Security Alarm Installer $963 2190 2 years 4 years 1 0 18
4 Athletic Trainer $548 1460 4 years - 2 0 0
5 Midwife, Direct Entry $2043 1095 3 years - 1 12 0
6 Auctioneer $750 756 110 clock hours 2 years 2 12 21
7 Optician $758 730 2 years - 3 12 18
8 Earth Driller, Water Well $557 730 - 2 years 3 10 18
9 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator $325 730 - 2 years 3 0 18
10 Pest Control Applicator $175 730 - 2 years 2 0 18
11 Taxi Driver/Chauffeur $5 730 - 2 years 1 0 18
12 Veterinary Technician $428 730 2 years - 1 0 0
13 Barber $215 350 1500 clock hours - 2 10 17
14 Cosmetologist $190 350 1500 clock hours - 2 0 16
15 Manicurist $190 140 600 clock hours - 2 12 16
16 Makeup Artist $190 175 750 clock hours - 2 0 16
16 Skin Care Specialist $190 175 750 clock hours - 2 0 16
18 Emergency Medical Technician $205 26 110 clock hours - 2 12 18
19 Massage Therapist $513 117 500 clock hours - 1 0 18
20 School Bus Driver $59 0 - - 6 0 21
21 Dental Assistant $78 0 - - 0 12 18
22 Shampooer $190 70 300 clock hours - 2 0 16
23 Bus Driver, City/Transit $57 0 - - 5 0 21
24 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer $84 0 - - 5 0 19
25 Truck Driver, Other $75 0 - - 4 0 18
26 Locksmith $338 16 30 clock hours 40 clock hours 1 0 18
27 Security Guard, Unarmed $108 1 4 clock hours - 1 0 18
28 Bartender $20 1 5 clock hours - 1 0 18
29 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) $360 0 - - 2 0 0
29 HVAC Contractor (Residential) $360 0 - - 2 0 0
29 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) $360 0 - - 2 0 0
29 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) $360 0 - - 2 0 0
33 Bill Collection Agency $750 0 - - 0 0 0
34 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) $505 0 - - 1 0 0
34 Landscape Contractor (Residential) $505 0 - - 1 0 0
36 Child Care Home, Family $100 1 - 4 clock hours 0 0 18
37 Weigher $50 0 - - 0 0 18
38 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) $307 0 - - 1 0 0
38 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) $307 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Glazier Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Insulation Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Mason Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Mason Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Painting Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Painting Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Paving Contractor (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Paving Contractor (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Pipelayer Contractor $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
40 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) $305 0 - - 1 0 0
65 Mobile Home Installer $25 3 15 clock hours - 1 0 0
66 Milk Sampler $25 0 - - 1 0 0
67 Fisher, Commercial $200 0 - - 0 0 0
68 Travel Guide $150 0 - - 0 0 0
69 Pharmacy Technician $127 0 - - 0 0 0
70 Taxidermist $122 0 - - 0 0 0
71 Coach, Head (High School Sports) $0 1 4.5 clock hours - 0 0 0