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Hawaii

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

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

Highlights

43 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
1st most burdensome licensing laws
6th most extensively and onerously licensed state

(Last updated April 24, 2012)

Summary

Though Hawaii licenses only 43 of the 102 low- and middle-income occupations studied, the barriers to entry are extremely onerous, ranking as the most burdensome licensing laws in the nation. Overall, the state places in the top tier -- number six -- of most broadly and onerously licensed states. On average, Hawaiians wishing to enter these 43 occupations lose 724 days to education and experience mandates, pay $367 in fees and must pass two exams.

Hawaii's high rank is driven by onerous licensing of construction trades. The state requires commercial contractors to obtain four years of experience prior to working in carpentry, floor sanding, HVAC, door repair and other specialties listed below. While many of these occupations are licensed widely (more than half the states license them), many states just require a fee and maybe an exam. For instance, 19 of the 34 states that license floor sander contractors for commercial work have no education and experience requirement. Twenty-two of the 35 states that license commercial door repair contractors have no education and experience requirement.

Hawaii's licensing laws are also burdensome outside the construction trades. Teacher's assistants must train for two years compared to a national average of 152 days for the occupation. Cosmetologists must train for 420 days compared to a national average of 372 days. Fire alarm and security alarm installers must undergo four years of training compared to national averages of 486 days and 535 days, respectively.

To create job opportunities for low- and middle-income Hawaiians, restrictions like these could be loosened or eliminated.

Licensing Requirements

Burden RankOccupationNumber of States that LicenseFeesEducation/Experience (Days)ExamsMinimum GradeMinimum Age
1 Preschool Teacher 49 48 1,825 2 0 0
2 Mason Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 HVAC Contractor (General/Commercial) 40 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Iron/Steel Contractor (General/Commercial) 31 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Painting Contractor (General/Commercial) 28 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Floor Sander Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Paving Equipment Operator Contractor 27 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Pipelayer Contractor 29 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Drywall Installation Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Door Repair Contractor 35 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Glazier Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Insulation Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Sheet Metal Contractor (General/Commercial) 28 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 815 1,460 2 0 18
2 Cement Finishing Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 815 1,460 2 0 18
16 Terrazzo Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 740 1,460 1 0 18
17 Security Alarm Installer 34 380 1,460 2 0 18
17 Fire Alarm Installer 34 380 1,460 2 0 18
19 Earth Driller 47 250 1,460 1 0 18
20 Optician 22 75 700 2 12 18
21 Teacher Assistant 29 45 730 1 12 0
22 School Bus Driver 51 135 365 6 0 21
23 Barber 50 45 350 2 0 17
24 Cosmetologist 51 70 420 1 0 0
25 Skin Care Specialist 50 60 140 1 12 16
26 Child Care Worker 33 0 11 0 12 18
27 Massage Therapist 39 130 133 1 0 18
28 Crane Operator 18 715 0 3 0 21
29 Bus Driver (City/Transit) 51 130 0 5 0 21
30 Emergency Medical Technician 51 160 74 2 0 18
31 Truck Driver 51 125 0 4 0 21
32 Vegetation Pesticide Handler 51 50 0 2 0 18
32 Pest Control Applicator 51 50 0 2 0 18
34 Manicurist 50 200 82 1 0 0
35 Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester 18 180 9 1 0 0
36 Milk Sampler 34 25 0 1 0 0
36 Weigher 24 25 0 1 0 0
38 Bill Collector Agency 30 160 0 0 0 0
39 Travel Agent 8 95 0 0 0 0
40 Fisher 41 50 0 0 0 0
41 Travel Guide 21 25 0 0 0 0
41 Animal Breeder 26 25 0 0 0 0
43 Auctioneer 33 15 0 0 0 0

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