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Iowa

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

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

Highlights

54 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
46th most burdensome licensing laws
20th most extensively and onerously licensed state

(Last updated April 24, 2012)

Summary

Iowa licenses 54 of the 102 low- and middle-income occupations studied. Only six states license more. Iowa's licensing burdens are lighter than most states, ranking 46th, but because it licenses so many occupations, it ranks as the 20th most broadly and onerously licensed state. Iowans seeking to enter one of the 54 licensed occupations can expect, on average, to pay $141 in fees, lose 181 days, or more than six months, to education and experience requirements and take one exam prior to licensure. Of the 54 occupations, 15 are licensed in fewer than half of the other states.

Though Iowa's licensing laws are among the least burdensome overall there are some glaring exceptions. Cathodic protection testers (those who inspect certain systems designed to protect buried or submerged metal piping and tanks) and tank testers face the most restrictive laws in the country to obtain a license. Of the 16 states that license cathodic protection testers, 15 require licensees to obtain about eight days of training. Iowa requires 738 -- over two years -- of education and experience. Tank testers lose 739 days to education and experience requirements -- compared to a national average of 162 days. Iowa's cosmetology license is the second most difficult in the country to obtain -- aspiring cosmetologists lose 490 days to training requirements compared to a national average of 372.

Emergency medical technicians can obtain a license in Iowa with about 28 days of training. Yet it takes 420 days to become a barber and 140 days to become a skin care specialist.

To improve employment prospects, Iowa policymakers should cut unnecessary licensing schemes and reduce licensing burdens, particularly those that are higher than other states or compared to actual threats to public health and safety.

Licensing Requirements

Burden RankOccupationNumber of States that LicenseFeesEducation/Experience (Days)ExamsMinimum GradeMinimum Age
1 Preschool Teacher 49 150 1,825 0 0 0
2 HVAC Contractor (General/Commercial) 40 135 1,460 1 0 18
3 Athletic Trainer 46 420 1,460 1 0 0
4 Cathodic Protection Tester 16 1850 738 2 0 18
5 Tank Tester 14 350 739 1 0 18
6 Earth Driller 47 500 730 2 0 0
7 Veterinary Technologist 37 135 730 2 0 0
8 Cosmetologist 51 175 490 1 12 0
9 Barber 50 280 420 2 10 16
10 Dental Assistant 7 86 370 3 12 17
11 Mobile Home Installer 39 300 366 1 0 18
12 Makeup Artist 36 115 140 2 12 0
12 Skin Care Specialist 50 115 140 2 12 0
14 Massage Therapist 39 220 117 1 0 0
15 School Bus Driver 51 41 2 6 0 18
16 Bus Driver (City/Transit) 51 26 0 5 0 18
17 Sign Language Interpreter 16 780 2 3 0 0
18 Truck Driver 51 16 0 4 0 18
19 Emergency Medical Technician 51 20 28 2 0 17
20 Coach (School Sports) 24 85 13 0 0 18
21 Animal Control Officer 17 25 0 1 0 18
22 Slot Key Person 21 66 0 0 0 18
22 Gaming Cage Worker 22 66 0 0 0 18
22 Gaming Dealer 24 66 0 0 0 18
22 Gaming Supervisor 23 66 0 0 0 18
26 Taxi Driver/Chauffeur 12 40 0 0 0 18
27 Child Care Worker 33 0 7 0 0 16
28 Security Guard 37 10 0 0 0 18
29 Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester 18 43 7 2 0 0
30 Manicurist 50 180 9 1 0 0
31 Pest Control Applicator 51 75 0 2 0 0
31 Vegetation Pesticide Handler 51 75 0 2 0 0
33 Title Examiner 6 70 0 1 0 0
34 Milk Sampler 34 10 0 1 0 0
35 Fisher 41 200 0 0 0 0
36 Floor Sander Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 50 0 0 0 0
36 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 50 0 0 0 0
36 Painting Contractor (General/Commercial) 28 50 0 0 0 0
36 Iron/Steel Contractor (General/Commercial) 31 50 0 0 0 0
36 Cement Finishing Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 50 0 0 0 0
36 Paving Equipment Operator Contractor 27 50 0 0 0 0
36 Insulation Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 50 0 0 0 0
36 Pipelayer Contractor 29 50 0 0 0 0
36 Glazier Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 50 0 0 0 0
36 Terrazzo Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 50 0 0 0 0
36 Door Repair Contractor 35 50 0 0 0 0
36 Drywall Installation Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 50 0 0 0 0
36 Sheet Metal Contractor (General/Commercial) 28 50 0 0 0 0
36 Mason Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 50 0 0 0 0
50 Pharmacy Technician 12 44 0 0 0 0
51 Taxidermist 26 16 0 0 0 0
52 Animal Breeder 26 16 0 0 0 0
53 Travel Agent 8 15 0 0 0 0
54 Bill Collector Agency 30 10 0 0 0 0

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