License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing
44 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
40th most burdensome licensing laws
29th most extensively and onerously licensed state
(Last updated April 24, 2012)
Alaska requires a license to work in 44 of the 102 low- and medium-income occupations studied. To obtain a license, job seekers must give up an average of 179 days for education and training, pay $373 in fees and pass one exam. Would-be workers face the 40th most burdensome licensing requirements among the states.
Alaska also ranks as the 29th most broadly and onerously licensed state, suggesting there is room for improvement. Alaska could improve employment prospects by eliminating or easing licensing requirements. For example, aspiring workers in several occupations -- such as HVAC contractors and tank testers -- face barriers to entry that far exceed those in most other states. Alaska requires four years of training to become an HVAC contractor compared to a national average of 891 days. Of the 14 states that license tank testers, nine mandate 10 hours or fewer of training. The 365 days Alaska requires is exceeded only by Iowa. Alaska also charges exorbitant fees to midwives ($3,688) and commercial fishermen ($3,000), which far exceed the national averages for those occupations.
Alaska should also examine whether the requirements to enter some occupations are truly necessary or seem excessive compared to others. For instance, education and experience requirements are nearly three times longer for barbers and cosmetologists than for emergency medical technicians.