Wisconsin

42 of 102 lower-income occupations licensed
42nd most burdensome licensing requirements
36th most widely and onerously licensed occupation

Wisconsin licenses 42 of the 102 lower-income occupations studied here, which is fewer than most states. Ranking as the 42nd most burdensome, Wisconsin’s licensing laws require, on average, $259 in fees, 214 days of education and experience, and around one exam. The state ranks as the nation’s 36th most broadly and onerously licensed.

Wisconsin frequently licenses occupations that are unlicensed by other states. For example, few other states license animal trainers (eight), farm labor contractors (nine), bartenders (12) or sign language interpreters (21). Among those, sign language interpreters face particularly steep education and experience requirements: 1,469 days (four years and 40 clock hours) of education. The average in states that license the occupation, meanwhile, is 1,088 days. And bill collection agencies, which are unlicensed in 20 states, face unusually high fees in Wisconsin ($1,200 versus an average of $551).

Wisconsin 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, it takes over 10 times as long to become a cosmetologist in Wisconsin as it does to become an EMT. EMTs must complete roughly 35 days (150 hours) of education, while cosmetologists need an estimated 362 (1,550 hours). Wisconsin could expand lower-income employment opportunities by reducing or repealing its 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 $520 2555 4 years 3 years 2 0 0
2 Interpreter, Sign Language $750* 1469* 4 years and 40 clock hours* - 2 0 18
3 Athletic Trainer $375 1460 4 years - 1 0 0
4 Midwife, Direct Entry $1085 730 2 years - 1 12 0
5 Veterinary Technician $475 730 2 years - 2 0 18
6 Earth Driller, Water Well $100 731 6 clock hours 2 years 1 0 20
7 Shampooer $391 233 1000 clock hours - 2 12 18
8 Cosmetologist $391 362 1550 clock hours - 2 0 18
9 Massage Therapist $345 140 600 clock hours - 2 12 18
10 Barber $391 233 1000 clock hours - 2 0 18
11 Makeup Artist $391 105 450 clock hours - 2 0 18
11 Skin Care Specialist $391 105 450 clock hours - 2 0 18
13 Manicurist $391 70 300 clock hours - 2 0 18
14 School Bus Driver $129 0 - - 6 0 18
15 Bus Driver, City/Transit $124 0 - - 5 0 18
15 Truck Driver, Tractor-Trailer $124 0 - - 5 0 18
17 Truck Driver, Other $124 0 - - 4 0 18
18 Emergency Medical Technician $80 35 150 clock hours - 2 0 18
19 Pipelayer Contractor $540 0 - - 1 0 18
20 Bill Collection Agency $1200 0 - - 0 0 0
21 Vegetation Pesticide Applicator $199 2 2 days - 2 0 16
22 Auctioneer $201 0 - - 1 0 18
23 Mobile Home Installer $115 2 12 clock hours - 1 0 18
24 Child Care Home, Family $68 21 3 credit hours - 0 0 18
25 Pest Control Applicator $152 1 1 days - 1 0 16
26 Security Guard, Unarmed $114 0 - - 0 0 18
27 Animal Breeder $625 0 - - 0 0 0
28 Travel Guide $40 0 - - 0 0 18
29 Bartender $0 1 3 clock hours - 0 0 18
30 Animal Control Officer $60 9 40 clock hours - 1 0 0
31 Animal Trainer $25 0 - - 0 0 10
32 Milk Sampler $60 0 - - 1 0 0
33 HVAC Contractor (Commercial) $175 0 - - 0 0 0
33 HVAC Contractor (Residential) $175 0 - - 0 0 0
33 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Commercial) $175 0 - - 0 0 0
33 Sheet Metal Contractor, HVAC (Residential) $175 0 - - 0 0 0
37 Farm Labor Contractor $100 0 - - 0 0 0
38 Taxidermist $50 0 - - 0 0 0
39 Landscape Contractor (Commercial) $30 0 - - 0 0 0
39 Landscape Contractor (Residential) $30 0 - - 0 0 0
41 Coach, Head (High School Sports) $0 1 4 clock hours - 0 0 0
42 Fisher, Commercial $2 0 - - 0 0 0