License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing
37 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
25th most burdensome licensing laws
34th most extensively and onerously licensed state
(Last updated April 24, 2012)
Though Massachusetts licenses only 37 of the 102 low- and middle-income occupations studied, somewhat fewer than average, its laws are relatively onerous -- the 25th most burdensome in the country. On average, Massachusetts requires license applicants to pay a fee of $181, obtain 293 days of training and education and pass one exam.
Massachussetts imposes significantly more burdensome entry requirements than other states in a number of occupations. For instance, aspiring barbers face one of the lengthiest education and training requirements in the country -- 733 days, or more than two years, compared to a national average of 416 days. Likewise, commercial HVAC contractors and commercial sheet metal contractors must each train for more than three years (1,458 days and 1,225 days, respectively), compared to national averages of 891 and 507 days.
Massachusetts requires that school bus drivers possess a driver's license for three 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.
Massachusetts also licenses 12 occupations that fewer than half of the other states license. For instance, Massachusetts is one of just three states that licenses home entertainment installers, one of 10 that licenses residential painting contractors and one of seven that licenses social and human services assistants. Barriers to becoming a social and human services assistant are particularly high -- the state requires a full two years of education before licensure.
Massachusetts could ease the path to employment in the state by reducing -- or doing away with entirely -- such barriers to entry.