License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing
34 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
17th most burdensome licensing laws
32nd most extensively and onerously licensed state
(Last updated April 24, 2012)
Texas licenses 34 lower-income occupations, fewer than most states, but has the 17th most burdensome licensing laws. These laws impose an average of $304 in fees, 326 days of training and two exams on those wishing to enter licensed occupations. Texas can promote employment for low-income workers by reducing these high barriers -- or eliminating them altogether.
Texas outpaces most other states' education and experience requirements for a few occupations. Because they must be licensed teachers, aspiring school sports coaches lose four years to education, one of only four states to require anything remotely close to that. Texas is the only state to require more than two weeks of training to become a backflow prevention assembly tester, and it requires two years.
Aspiring practitioners in Texas also face high fees. For example, fishers must pay fees of $4,800 -- 10 times higher than the average fee of $403. Texas is also one of only five states to license shampooers, requiring a worker to pay $128 in fees and to pass two exams in order to wash somebody's hair.
In Texas, it takes just 33 days of training to earn a license as an emergency medical technician. But it takes substantially more to become a licensed massage therapist (117 days), manicurist (140), skin care specialist (175), cosmetologist (350) or barber (350). Occupations like these, where training required does not line up with public safety concerns, make possible targets for reform, as well as occupations that are more difficult to enter in Texas than elsewhere.