License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing
47 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
38th most burdensome licensing laws
24th most extensively and onerously licensed state
(Last updated April 24, 2012)
Alabama licenses 47 of the occupations studied, and its laws are the 38th most burdensome. On average, Alabama's barriers to entry into low- and medium-income occupations are $319 in fees, two exams and 182 days of education and experience. It ranks as the 24th most broadly and onerously licensed state, putting it in the middle of the states.
However, Alabama licenses several occupations that are rarely licensed elsewhere. For example, few other states join Alabama in licensing tree trimmers (only six other states), shampooers (four), bartenders (12) or locksmiths (12). Alabama is one of only 16 states that licenses cathodic protection testers (those who inspect certain systems designed to protect buried or submerged metal piping and tanks) and sign language interpreters. Both of these occupations have multiple exams and high fees ($1,500 and $695, respectively).
Alabama also imposes more onerous requirements than other states for some occupations. Driven by high fees in the construction trades, Alabama's licensing fees average $328, which is exceeded only by four states. Alabama could improve its burden ranking by moderating these fees. Moreover, Alabama could ease entry into occupations by, at the least, trimming education and experience requirements. For instance, makeup artists in Alabama must complete 280 days of training versus a national average 138, and auctioneers must complete 385 days versus a national average of 100.