License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing
45 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
4th most burdensome licensing laws
7th most extensively and onerously licensed state
(Last updated April 24, 2012)
Florida's occupational licensing regime is in the top tier as one of the most restrictive in the nation. The state enforces burdensome laws that deter entry into 45 of the 102 low- and moderate-income occupations surveyed. On average, breaking into one of these occupations requires $274 in fees, 603 days lost to education and experience -- over a year-and-a-half -- and one exam.
The state requires four years of education or experience to work in many of the construction trades studied -- a requirement that far exceeds most other states. For instance, only 30 states license contractors working in carpentry. Of these, 19 have no training requirement at all. Likewise, 22 of the 34 states that license door repair contractors have no education and experience requirements. In Florida, it takes four years to obtain a license in both.
Florida is one of only four jurisdictions to license interior designers, though its license is limited to interior designers working on commercial spaces. Aspiring interior designers face the toughest requirements in the state -- six years of education and experience and an exam. Midwives need three years of education and experience. No other state requires more than two. Florida's pest control workers must have 1,275 days of education and experience compared to a national average of 191. Florida is the only state save California that requires farm labor contractors to pass an exam. Florida is one of only two states to require that school bus drivers possess a driver's license for five years prior to working. Most states have no such requirement; 22 states require a short course or training session instead, while eight states and the District of Columbia require only tests, fees and a minimum age.
Would-be emergency medical technicians train in Florida for about 34 days. This is less than what Florida requires for 25 of the occupations it licenses. For example, massage therapists must train for 117 days, more than three times as long as EMTs.
To improve job prospects for low- and moderate-income Floridians, the state should ease or eliminate unnecessary barriers to entry.