License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing
62 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
7th most burdensome licensing laws
2nd most extensively and onerously licensed state
(Last updated April 24, 2012)
California is the second most broadly and onerously licensed state in the country. The state requires a license to work in 62 of the low- and moderate-income occupations surveyed -- more than any state but Louisiana and Arizona. The laws themselves are the seventh most burdensome -- on average, applicants to licensed occupations can expect to pay $300, lose 549 days to education and experience requirements and pass one exam.
Few states emulate California's onerous licensing of construction trades. California imposes four years of education and experience requirements with attendant fees and examinations on would-be workers. Many states either require no education or experience or do not license these occupations at all.
California is one of only a few states that license tree trimmers (seven states), landscape workers (10), dietetic technicians (three), psychiatric aides (two), still machine setters (two), funeral attendants (nine), dental assistants (seven) and farm labor contractors (nine). The requirements are often very burdensome as well. California requires that tree trimmers and landscape contractors hold a contractor's license, costing aspirants four years of training -- the most onerous requirements in the nation for those jobs.
California also has the nation's most onerous requirements for mobile home installers, who need 1,460 training days to work in California; the national average for the occupation is 245. Save for Florida, California is the only state to require farm labor contractors to pass a test. Of the 13 states that license pharmacy technicians, only four -- California included -- have an education and experience requirement. California, Arizona and Illinois each require two years of training. Of the 46 states that license teachers' assistants, only 10 have an education and training requirement. California's -- at two years -- is the longest, tied with five other states.
California could improve job prospects for its residents by lifting or easing these high licensing burdens.