North Dakota Best In The Nation When It Comes To Low Burden Of Occupational Licensing
Occupational licensing – essentially a permission slip from the government allowing you to earn your living – is a major economic obstacle. Ostensibly occupational licensing requirements/fees are put in place to ensure professionalism and safety within an industry. In reality, it’s more often about protecting those already in a given industry from competition by raising the cost of entering the market.
I’m often pretty critical of North Dakota government, so let me strike a positive note for a change and give the state some kudos for not doing something a lot of other states are doing which is choking professional with a lot of unnecessary regulation. According to the Institute for Justice, North Dakota has some of the least onerous occupational licensing laws in the nation.
Overall the state ranks 42nd out of 50, though that doesn’t mean there isn’t some room for improvement according to the report:
North Dakota’s low burden ranking is thanks to its light licensing of construction occupations: It only requires aspiring contractors to be 18 years old and pay a $75 fee. Still, in a few occupations, North Dakota’s licensing requirements are above-average. For example, aspiring barbers lose almost two years to education and experience, whereas the average across the states is just over one year — 416 days. It is one of two states that require anything over two weeks to become a security guard, requiring 241 days of training. Occupations like these could be candidates for reform to improve prospects for the states low- to moderate-income workers.
One of the dumbest bills in the last legislative session dramatically increased the fees barbers must pay to obtain their certificates and open up shops. But overall, the state is doing a pretty good job of keeping these burdens low.
Here’s a video from the Institute for Justice detailing the silliness of occupational licensing fees in general: