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Virginia

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

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

Highlights

46 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
8th most burdensome licensing laws
11th most extensively and onerously licensed state

(Last updated April 24, 2012)

Summary

Virginia is the 11th most broadly and onerously licensed state. It has the eighth most burdensome licensing laws, requiring aspiring practitioners to pay $153 in fees, lose 462 days -- more than 15 months -- to education and experience and take one exam. Sixteen of the 46 low- to moderate-income occupations Virginia licenses are commercial construction contractors and account for much of the state's ranking.

To become a contractor in 14 of these construction trades, aspiring workers lose two years to experience and pay $175 in fees. A majority of these occupations are licensed only in around 30 states, 19 of which have no training requirement. To obtain a license, an aspiring HVAC contractor loses more than four years to experience, takes two exams and pays $190 in fees. The average experience requirement of the 40 states that license HVAC contractors is less than two-and-a-half years.

Virginia also has higher-than-average requirements for other occupations. For example, aspiring teacher assistants lose two years to education, even though 19 of the 29 states that license the occupation mandate no training. Vegetation pesticide handlers are not required to have any experience in 39 states, yet Virginia requires one year. Virginia is one of only seven states to license upholsterers, charging them $100 in fees.

Policymakers looking to reduce or remove licensing barriers should start by examining occupations like these where Virginia imposes more or more onerous burdens than other states. Policymakers should also examine occupations with more burdensome requirements than may be justified by public safety concerns. For example, in Virginia, it takes more than four times as long to earn a massage therapist license as it does to become an emergency medical technician -- 117 days versus 28. It takes even longer to earn barber, cosmetologist and skin care specialist licenses.

Licensing Requirements

Burden RankOccupationNumber of States that LicenseFeesEducation/Experience (Days)ExamsMinimum GradeMinimum Age
1 Preschool Teacher 49 50 1,825 1 0 0
2 HVAC Contractor (General/Commercial) 40 190 1,516 2 0 0
3 Athletic Trainer 46 435 1,460 1 0 0
4 Optician 22 300 730 3 12 18
5 Teacher Assistant 29 0 730 0 12 0
6 Earth Driller 47 235 730 1 0 18
7 Insulation Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 175 731 0 0 18
7 Glazier Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 175 731 0 0 18
7 Iron/Steel Contractor (General/Commercial) 31 175 731 0 0 18
7 Mobile Home Installer 39 175 731 0 0 18
7 Painting Contractor (General/Commercial) 28 175 731 0 0 18
7 Floor Sander Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 175 731 0 0 18
7 Paving Equipment Operator Contractor 27 175 731 0 0 18
7 Pipelayer Contractor 29 175 731 0 0 18
7 Drywall Installation Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 175 731 0 0 18
7 Door Repair Contractor 35 175 731 0 0 18
7 Mason Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 175 731 0 0 18
7 Cement Finishing Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 175 731 0 0 18
7 Sheet Metal Contractor (General/Commercial) 28 175 731 0 0 18
7 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 175 731 0 0 18
7 Terrazzo Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 175 731 0 0 18
22 Midwife 29 277 730 1 0 0
23 Veterinary Technologist 37 30 730 1 0 0
24 Vegetation Pesticide Handler 51 70 365 2 0 18
24 Pest Control Applicator 51 70 365 2 0 18
26 Barber 50 225 350 2 0 0
27 Cosmetologist 51 170 350 2 0 0
28 Skin Care Specialist 50 170 140 2 0 0
29 Massage Therapist 39 105 117 1 0 18
30 Sign Language Interpreter 16 760 2 3 0 0
31 School Bus Driver 51 35 10 6 0 18
32 Bus Driver (City/Transit) 51 35 5 5 0 18
33 Truck Driver 51 27 8 4 0 18
34 Emergency Medical Technician 51 0 28 2 0 18
35 Locksmith 13 234 4 1 0 18
36 Manicurist 50 55 35 2 0 0
37 Security Alarm Installer 34 100 3 0 0 18
38 Fire Alarm Installer 34 345 0 0 0 0
39 Security Guard 37 50 3 0 0 18
40 Weigher 24 35 0 0 0 18
41 Auctioneer 33 90 19 1 0 0
42 Fisher 41 190 0 0 0 0
43 Animal Control Officer 17 0 19 0 0 0
44 Upholsterer 7 100 0 0 0 0
45 Milk Sampler 34 0 0 1 0 0
46 Taxidermist 26 40 0 0 0 0

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