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Washington

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
41st most burdensome licensing laws
19th most extensively and onerously licensed state

(Last updated April 24, 2012)

Summary

Washington licenses 54 of the 102 low- to moderate-income occupations studied and is the 19th most broadly and onerously licensed state, mostly because of the large number of occupations licensed. Washington's licensing burdens are lower than most states, ranking 41st, but still impose serious barriers: $152 in fees, 199 days -- more than six months -- of training and one exam.

Most of Washington's licenses require only fees. However, for a few occupations, the state has above-average requirements. Aspiring fire and security alarm installers must acquire a full year more experience than the national average in other licensed states -- and several states do not even have experience requirements. Crane operators must acquire 466 days of experience to earn a license, while 12 of the 18 licensed states do not require any. Washington is one of only two states that license still machine setters.

Washington also licenses some occupations more onerously than appears warranted by concern for public safety. Aspiring emergency medical technicians can earn a license with 26 days training, but massage therapists must undergo more than four times as much training. Manicurists and skin care specialists must undertake five times as much training, and even more is required of barbers and cosmetologists.

Washington could help promote job prospects for low-income workers by reducing or removing the fees of occupations that only require paying money in order to work in their chosen occupation. It could also assist them by reducing or eliminating other high or needless barriers.

Licensing Requirements

Burden RankOccupationNumber of States that LicenseFeesEducation/Experience (Days)ExamsMinimum GradeMinimum Age
1 Preschool Teacher 49 115 1,825 2 0 0
2 Athletic Trainer 46 475 1,460 1 0 0
3 Earth Driller 47 75 1,335 0 0 0
4 Midwife 29 750 730 2 12 21
5 Optician 22 200 731 3 12 18
6 Fire Alarm Installer 34 128 941 1 0 0
6 Security Alarm Installer 34 128 941 1 0 0
8 Veterinary Technologist 37 175 730 2 0 0
9 Crane Operator 18 165 466 3 0 18
10 School Bus Driver 51 170 365 6 0 21
11 Cosmetologist 51 70 373 2 0 17
12 Barber 50 0 233 2 0 17
13 Mobile Home Installer 39 200 182 1 0 0
14 Skin Care Specialist 50 30 140 2 0 17
15 Coach (School Sports) 24 0 5 0 12 21
16 Massage Therapist 39 280 117 2 0 0
17 Manicurist 50 0 140 2 0 0
18 Bus Driver (City/Transit) 51 160 5 5 0 18
19 Truck Driver 51 150 8 4 0 18
20 Emergency Medical Technician 51 70 26 2 0 18
21 Vegetation Pesticide Handler 51 215 0 2 0 18
21 Pest Control Applicator 51 215 0 2 0 18
23 Bill Collector Agency 30 665 0 0 0 0
24 Fisher 41 630 0 0 0 0
25 Animal Control Officer 17 36 4 2 0 18
26 Auctioneer 33 255 0 0 0 18
27 Taxi Driver/Chauffeur 12 0 12 1 0 21
28 Security Guard 37 111 2 1 0 18
29 Bartender 13 35 1 1 0 21
30 Weigher 24 50 0 0 0 18
31 Gaming Cage Worker 22 202 0 0 0 0
31 Gaming Dealer 24 202 0 0 0 0
31 Gaming Supervisor 23 202 0 0 0 0
31 Travel Agent 8 202 0 0 0 0
35 Taxidermist 26 180 0 0 0 0
36 Pipelayer Contractor 29 100 0 0 0 0
36 Iron/Steel Contractor (General/Commercial) 31 100 0 0 0 0
36 Paving Equipment Operator Contractor 27 100 0 0 0 0
36 Painting Contractor (General/Commercial) 28 100 0 0 0 0
36 Sheet Metal Contractor (General/Commercial) 28 100 0 0 0 0
36 Terrazzo Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 100 0 0 0 0
36 HVAC Contractor (General/Commercial) 40 100 0 0 0 0
36 Mason Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 100 0 0 0 0
36 Door Repair Contractor 35 100 0 0 0 0
36 Insulation Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 100 0 0 0 0
36 Drywall Installation Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 100 0 0 0 0
36 Glazier Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 100 0 0 0 0
36 Floor Sander Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 100 0 0 0 0
36 Cement Finishing Contractor (General/Commercial) 29 100 0 0 0 0
36 Carpenter/Cabinet Maker Contractor (General/Commercial) 30 100 0 0 0 0
51 Animal Trainer 20 76 0 0 0 0
52 Dental Assistant 7 40 1 0 0 0
53 Farm Labor Contractor 9 35 0 0 0 0
54 Still Machine Setter 2 10 0 0 0 0

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