West Virginia

70 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed
44th most burdensome licensing laws
14th most broadly and onerously licensed state

West Virginia’s licensing laws for lower-income occupations are the nation’s 44th most burdensome. They require, on average, $172 in fees, 210 days of education and experience, and around two exams. But because West Virginia licenses more occupations than most states—70 of the 102 studied here—it ranks as the 14th most broadly and onerously licensed state.

West Virginia licenses several occupations that are not licensed elsewhere, such as upholsterers (licensed by nine other states), crane operators (17 others) and sign language interpreters (21 others). West Virginia also licenses auctioneers—who are unlicensed in 21 states—and does so quite onerously. While the licensed-state average of days lost to education and experience is an estimated 94 days for auctioneers, West Virginia requires more than twice as much: an estimated 201 days, or six months of experience and 80 hours of education.

West Virginia also imposes requirements on some occupations that seem excessive compared to those for others with a stronger connection to public safety. For example, in West Virginia, manicurists and massage therapists face more stringent requirements than EMTs. To provide their services, these workers must complete between 93 and 117 days of education. EMTs, on the other hand, can become licensed after completing only around 35 days (150 hours) of education. West Virginia could create more economic opportunity by reducing or repealing many of its occupational licenses, 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 $267 2190 4 years 2 years 2 0 18
2 Interpreter, Sign Language $720* 1469* 4 years and 40 clock hours* - 2 0 18*
3 Earth Driller, Water Well $565 1460 - 4 years 4 0 18
4 Athletic Trainer $425 1460 4 years - 1 0 18
5 School Bus Driver $161 1106 40 clock hours 3 years and 12 clock hours 7 12 21
6 Fire Alarm Installer $259 730 - 2 years 4 0 18
6 Security Alarm Installer $259 730 - 2 years 4 0 18
8 Bus Driver, City/Transit $151 730 - 2 years 5 0 18
9 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer $142 730 - 2 years 5 0 18
10 Veterinary Technician $410 730 2 years - 2 0 18
11 Truck Driver, Other $142 730 - 2 years 4 0 18
12 Cosmetologist $134 420 1800 clock hours - 3 12 18
13 Barber $134 280 1200 clock hours - 2 12 18
14 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator $90 365 - 1 years 3 0 0
15 Pest Control Applicator $90 365 - 1 years 2 0 0
16 Pharmacy Technician $190 227 20 clock hours 960 clock hours 1 12 0
17 Makeup Artist $159 140 600 clock hours - 3 12 18
17 Skin Care Specialist $159 140 600 clock hours - 3 12 18
19 Crane Operator $300 233 - 1000 clock hours 2 0 18
20 Auctioneer $300 201 80 clock hours 6 months 3 0 18
21 Manicurist $159 93 400 clock hours - 3 12 18
22 Massage Therapist $545 117 500 clock hours - 1 0 0
23 Mobile Home Installer $709 0 - - 2 0 0
24 Shampooer $35 1 3 clock hours - 0 9 16
25 Emergency Medical Technician $50 35 150 clock hours - 2 0 18
26 Coach, Head (High School Sports) $0 2 14 clock hours - 0 12 0
27 Wildlife Control Operator $50 0 - - 1 0 18
28 Gaming Cage Worker $100 0 - - 0 0 21
28 Gaming Dealer $100 0 - - 0 0 21
28 Gaming Supervisor $100 0 - - 0 0 21
28 Slot Supervisor $100 0 - - 0 0 21
32 Cement Finishing Contractor (Commercial) $174 0 - - 2 0 0
32 Cement Finishing Contractor (Residential) $174 0 - - 2 0 0
32 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) $174* 0* - - 2* 0 0*
32 HVAC Contractor (Residential) $174* 0* - - 2* 0 0*
32 Iron/Steel Contractor (Commercial) $174 0 - - 2 0 0
32 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) $174 0 - - 2 0 0
32 Mason Contractor (Commercial) $174 0 - - 2 0 0
32 Mason Contractor (Residential) $174 0 - - 2 0 0
32 Pipelayer Contractor $174 0 - - 2 0 0
32 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) $174* 0* - - 2* 0 0*
42 Child Care Home, Family $37 0 - - 0 0 18
43 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) $192 0 - - 1 0 0
43 Landscape Contractor (Residential) $192 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Commercial) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (Residential) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Door Repair Contractor (Commercial) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Door Repair Contractor (Residential) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Drywall Installation Contractor (Commercial) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Drywall Installation Contractor (Residential) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Floor Sander Contractor (Commercial) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Floor Sander Contractor (Residential) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Glazier Contractor (Commercial) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Glazier Contractor (Residential) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Insulation Contractor (Commercial) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Insulation Contractor (Residential) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Painting Contractor (Commercial) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Painting Contractor (Residential) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Paving Contractor (Commercial) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Paving Contractor (Residential) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) $132* 0* - - 1* 0 0*
45 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Commercial) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Sheet Metal Contractor, Other (Residential) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Terrazzo Contractor (Commercial) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
45 Terrazzo Contractor (Residential) $132 0 - - 1 0 0
66 Milk Sampler $10 0 - - 1 0 0
67 Bill Collection Agency $30 0 - - 0 0 0
68 Animal Breeder $10 0 - - 0 0 0
68 Travel Guide $10 0 - - 0 0 0
68 Upholsterer $10* 0 - - 0 0 0