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District of Columbia

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing

Highlights

41 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
23rd most burdensome licensing laws
27th most extensively and onerously licensed state

(Last updated April 24, 2012)

Summary

The District of Columbia licenses 41 of the 102 occupations studied, slightly fewer than average, but imposes the 23rd most burdensome licensing laws. On average, those hoping to break into these occupations must pay $240 in fees, lose 311 days to mandatory training and pass one exam.

For several occupations, D.C.'s laws are among the most onerous in the nation. All 50 states and D.C. license pest control workers; 38 of those require 10 days of training or less. The District requires a full year. D.C. and three states require a teaching license -- which requires at least four years of education -- for school sports coaches, while most states require far less training. HVAC contractors face the second most restrictive rules in the country -- five years of training requirements compared to a national average of 891 days.

Besides the District, only three states license interior designers. All four require enormous time and expense -- six years -- to meet the education and experience requirements. D.C. also requires social and human service assistants to obtain a bachelor's degree. Only three states require that much training; in fact, only six states license the occupation at all.

D.C. could boost employment prospects by repealing or easing such restrictive rules.

Licensing Requirements

Burden RankOccupationNumber of States that LicenseFeesEducation/Experience (Days)ExamsMinimum GradeMinimum Age
1 Interior Designer 4 925 2,190 1 0 0
2 Preschool Teacher 49 68 1,825 2 0 0
3 HVAC Contractor (General/Commercial) 40 20 1,825 1 0 0
4 Social and Human Service Assistant 7 348 1,460 1 0 18
5 Athletic Trainer 46 300 1,460 1 0 0
6 Coach (School Sports) 24 0 1,479 0 0 0
7 Midwife 29 430 730 1 0 18
8 Cosmetologist 51 230 350 2 8 17
9 Barber 50 230 350 2 0 18
10 Skin Care Specialist 50 230 140 2 8 17
11 Pest Control Applicator 51 65 365 2 0 0
11 Vegetation Pesticide Handler 51 65 365 2 0 0
13 Manicurist 50 230 82 2 8 0
14 Massage Therapist 39 262 117 1 0 18
15 School Bus Driver 51 156 0 6 0 21
16 Bus Driver (City/Transit) 51 156 0 5 0 21
17 Truck Driver 51 156 0 4 0 21
18 Taxi Driver/Chauffeur 12 555 12 2 0 0
19 Emergency Medical Technician 51 70 0 2 0 18
20 Travel Guide 21 118 0 1 0 18
21 Iron/Steel Contractor (General/Commercial) 31 595 0 0 0 0
21 Paving Equipment Operator Contractor 27 595 0 0 0 0
23 Security Guard 37 54 0 0 0 18
24 Tank Tester 14 200 9 1 0 0
25 Auctioneer 33 0 0 0 0 18
26 Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester 18 180 9 1 0 0
27 Glazier Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 262 0 0 0 0
27 Painting Contractor (General/Commercial) 28 262 0 0 0 0
27 Pipelayer Contractor 29 262 0 0 0 0
27 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 262 0 0 0 0
27 Cement Finishing Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 262 0 0 0 0
27 Iron/Steel Contractor (Residential) 11 262 0 0 0 0
27 Sheet Metal Contractor (General/Commercial) 28 262 0 0 0 0
27 Insulation Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 262 0 0 0 0
27 Mason Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 262 0 0 0 0
27 Floor Sander Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 262 0 0 0 0
27 Door Repair Contractor 35 262 0 0 0 0
27 Drywall Installation Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 262 0 0 0 0
27 Terrazzo Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 262 0 0 0 0
40 Security Alarm Installer 34 96 0 0 0 0
40 Fire Alarm Installer 34 96 0 0 0 0

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