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License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing
52 out of 102 moderate-income occupations licensed
2nd most burdensome licensing laws
5th most extensively and onerously licensed state
(Last updated April 24, 2012)
Arkansas is the fifth most broadly and onerously licensed state in the country. One needs a license to practice 52 of the 102 low- and moderate-income occupations studied -- more than all but 10 other states. The barriers to entering these occupations are significant -- the second most burdensome of all the states -- and combine with the large number of licensed occupations to place Arkansas in the top tier of most broadly and onerously licensed states.
The high ranking is driven mainly by the five years of education and experience required for many of the construction trades. Workers in other states are required to undergo only between 507 days (sheet metal workers) and 390 days (insulation contractors) of training to get a job in the same occupations, on average. Many states either do not have training requirements or do not require a license at all.
Arkansas licenses a number of occupations that few other states do, such as funeral attendants, psychiatric technicians and residential dry wall installers. Moreover, many occupations are subject to entry restrictions that exceed national averages. Opticians in Arkansas, for instance, must train for more than three years, about a year more than the national average. Fire alarm installers lose 1,095 days to education and experience requirements versus a national average of 486 days.
Thirty occupations take longer to break into in Arkansas than emergency medical technician, most by a considerable margin. The state allows EMTs to work in ambulances after 28 days of training. Massage therapists, on the other hand, are required to complete 117 days of training. Barbers and cosmetologists must obtain 350 days of training.
To improve job prospects for residents, Arkansas could reduce or eliminate many of its licensing requirements.