License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing
49 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
27th most burdensome licensing laws
17th most extensively and onerously licensed state
(Last updated April 24, 2012)
West Virginia is the 17th most broadly and onerously licensed state, licensing 49 of the 102 low- to moderate-income occupations studied. On average, these workers are required to pay $132 in fees, spend 247 days obtaining education or experience and pass two exams before they can become licensed to work in their chosen occupation -- the 27th most burdensome licensing laws. These factors combine to limit opportunities for low-income workers.
West Virginia has above-average barriers to entry in a number of occupations. For example, aspiring auctioneers lose two years to experience requirements and must take three exams, while the average among the 33 licensed states is 100 days lost to experience requirements and only one exam. West Virginia 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; the state requires two years for both. It is also one of 20 states with a similar requirement for school bus drivers, and West Virginia'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.
West Virginia could ease burdens on aspiring workers by lowering or removing needless licensing barriers.