Utah licenses more lower-income occupations than average—64 of the 102 studied here—and its laws are the 13th most burdensome. On average, Utah law requires $367 in fees, 504 days of education and experience, and roughly two exams to enter a licensed occupation. Utah ranks as the 15th most broadly and onerously licensed state, leaving much room for improvement.
Utah frequently licenses occupations that are unlicensed by most other states, such as upholsterers (licensed by nine other states), crane operators (17 others), commercial floor sander contractors (21 others) and commercial painting contractors (21 others). The latter two contractor occupations also face particularly steep burdens in Utah: an estimated 733 days lost to education and experience (20 hours of education and two years of experience), $549 in fees, and two exams. By comparison, the average requirements for these occupations in states that license them comprise fewer than 500 days of education and experience, less than $400 in fees, and around one exam. Given that so few states see fit to license commercial floor sander and painting contractors at all, Utah’s requirements appear particularly heavy-handed.
Utah also imposes burdens on some occupations that seem excessive compared to those for other occupations that may have a stronger connection to public safety. Fifty of Utah’s 64 occupational licenses, including all of its commercial and residential contractor licenses as well as its licenses for barbers, cosmetologists, manicurists and massage therapists, are more difficult to obtain than the state’s EMT license. For example, while cosmetologists need more than a year of education (an estimated 373 days or 1,600 hours), EMTs need only about a month (an estimated 28 days or 120 hours). Utah could improve its rankings by reducing or repealing heavy licensing burdens for lower-income occupations, or—if government regulation is necessary—by replacing them with less restrictive regulatory alternatives.