Washington

77 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed
48th most burdensome licensing laws
9th most broadly and onerously licensed state

Washington is tied with Louisiana in licensing the most lower-income occupations in this study—77 of 102. The state’s licensing laws, however, are less burdensome than most, ranking 48th in the nation. On average, they require $209 in fees, 163 days of education and experience, and around one exam. Nevertheless, because Washington licenses so many occupations, it ranks as the ninth most broadly and onerously licensed state.

Washington’s long list of licensed occupations includes several that are rarely licensed elsewhere. For example, few other states license dairy equipment still machine setters (two), travel agencies (six), dental assistants (eight) or farm labor contractors (nine). Washington also licenses some more widely licensed occupations more onerously than other states. For example, water well earth drillers must sacrifice an estimated 1,265 days to education and experience (5,400 hours of experience and 32 continuing education units) to become licensed in the state. That is substantially more than the national average requirement of 837 days in this occupation.

Washington also imposes burdens on some occupations that seem excessive compared to those for other occupations that may present a greater risk to public safety. For example, aspiring EMTs are deemed qualified first responders after completing an estimated 26 days (110 hours) of education and paying $80 in fees. Cosmetologists, on the other hand, face much more stringent requirements: roughly 373 days (1,600 hours) of education and $230 in fees. Washington could expand employment opportunities in the state by reducing or repealing its illogical licensing burdens for cosmetologists and other occupations, or—if government regulation is necessary—by replacing them with less restrictive regulatory alternatives such as inspections or voluntary certification.

Burden Rank Occupation Fees Estimated Calendar Days Lost Education Experience Exams Minimum Grade Minimum Age
1 Preschool Teacher, Public School $1004 2190 4 years 2 years 2 0 0
2 Fire Alarm Installer $676 1471 48 clock hours 4 years 4 0 16
3 Security Alarm Installer $676 1471 48 clock hours 4 years 4 0 16
4 Athletic Trainer $475 1461 4 years and 7 clock hours - 1 0 0
5 Midwife, Direct Entry $1674 1095 3 years - 2 12 21
6 Earth Driller, Water Well $188 1265 32 Continuing Education Units 5400 clock hours 1 0 0
7 Optician $200 731 2 years and 4 clock hours - 3 12 18
8 Veterinary Technician $580 731 2 years and 4 clock hours - 2 0 0
9 School Bus Driver $170 373 36 clock hours 1 years 6 0 21
10 Cosmetologist $230 373 1600 clock hours - 2 0 17
11 Barber $25 233 1000 clock hours - 2 0 17
11 Shampooer $25 233 1000 clock hours - 2 0 17
13 Pharmacy Technician $189 140 - 600 clock hours 1 12 0
14 Skin Care Specialist $210 175 750 clock hours - 2 0 17
15 Child Care Home, Family $42 70 10 credit hours - 0 12 21
16 Manicurist $210 140 600 clock hours - 2 0 17
17 Emergency Medical Technician $80 26 110 clock hours - 2 12 18
18 Mobile Home Installer $260 184 10 clock hours 6 months 1 0 0
19 Massage Therapist $336 117 500 clock hours - 2 0 18
20 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer $325 37 160 clock hours - 5 0 18
21 Coach, Head (High School Sports) $0 1 4 clock hours - 0 12 21
22 Bus Driver, City/Transit $335 8 36 clock hours - 5 0 18
23 Truck Driver, Other $325 11 48 clock hours - 4 0 18
24 Bill Collection Agency $850 0 - - 0 0 18
25 Crane Operator $225 4 - 24 clock hours 2 0 18
26 Travel Guide $515 0 - - 0 0 16
27 Taxi Driver/Chauffeur $118 3 - 3 days 1 0 21
28 Security Guard, Unarmed $91 3 16 clock hours - 1 0 18
29 Bartender $0 1 3 clock hours - 1 0 21
30 Wildlife Control Operator $50 2 10 clock hours - 1 0 18
31 Fisher, Commercial $200 0 - - 0 0 16
32 Pest Control Applicator $240 0 - - 2 0 0
32 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator $240 0 - - 2 0 0
34 Weigher $50 0 - - 0 0 18
35 Taxidermist $250 0 - - 0 0 0
36 Gaming Cage Worker $219 0 - - 0 0 0
36 Gaming Dealer $219 0 - - 0 0 0
36 Gaming Supervisor $219 0 - - 0 0 0
39 Travel Agency $202 0 - - 0 0 0
40 Landscape Contractor (Residential) $176 0 - - 0 0 0
41 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) $176 0 - - 0 0 0
42 Auctioneer $155 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Glazier Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 HVAC Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Insulation Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Mason Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Mason Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Painting Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Painting Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Paving Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Paving Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Pipelayer Contractor $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
43 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
73 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) $113 0 - - 0 0 0
74 Dental Assistant $40 1 7 clock hours - 0 0 0
75 Milk Sampler $50 0 - - 0 0 0
75 Still Machine Setter, Dairy Equipment $50 0 - - 0 0 0
77 Farm Labor Contractor $35 0 - - 0 0 0