License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing
49 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
37th most burdensome licensing laws
22nd most extensively and onerously licensed state
(Last updated April 24, 2012)
Rhode Island is the 22nd most broadly and onerously licensed state, placing it in the second tier of states. It licenses 49 of the 102 occupations studied. Rhode Island has the 37th most burdensome licensing laws, with an average of $164 in fees, 211 days -- about seven months -- lost to education and experience and one exam.
A handful of Rhode Island occupations require excessive training requirements compared with other states. For example, Rhode Island has the most burdensome laws for HVAC contractors, requiring over five years of experience. The average across licensed states is less than two-and-a-half years. Rhode Island is one of only eight states to require that truck drivers and city/transit bus drivers possess a driver's license for a year or more prior to licensure. It is also one of 20 states with a similar requirement for school bus drivers, and Rhode Island's is among the longest at three years. Other states require only tests, fees, a minimum age and in some states a short course or training session for these occupations.
Some of Rhode Island's requirements also appear overly burdensome compared to other occupations the state licenses. For example, it takes only 37 days of training to become an emergency medical technician, but nearly twice that time to earn a manicurist license. Barbers, cosmetologists, skin care specialists and massage therapists must undergo even more training.
Rhode Island could expand employment prospects for low-income workers by reducing or removing overly burdensome or needless barriers to low- and moderate-income jobs.