Occupational Licensure

About the Video

Utah law violates the free market by unnecessarily burdening business owners and workers with occupational licensure requirements.

A century ago, the U.S Supreme Court noted that “the right to work for a living… is of the essence of that personal freedom and opportunity which it was the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment to secure.”

But a report of occupational licensure laws by the Institute for Justice recently found that Utah is the 12th most burdensome state. Compared to other states, there is significant opportunity to deregulate.

Featured Interviews

Jeff McNeill:

“In Idaho, where I don’t need a license, I still build the same quality home. Consumers are still protected. Why not in Utah?”

Jeff McNeill
General Contractor

Nickie Soholt:

“I’ve already spent a lot of money and hundreds of hours of time in my education, and now I have to put in more for something I’m never going to use.”

Nickie Soholt
Bowenwork Student

Joshua Salisbury:

“I can find the people—it’s just a matter of the state letting me put them to work. I’ll put them to work.”

Joshua Salisbury
Master Plumber

Scott Bullock:

“Utah ranked 12th in how oppressive and onerous the licensure laws are in the state.”

Scott Bullock
Institute for Justice

Josh Daniels:

“In the 1950s, only 1 in 20 Americans had to get one of these permission slips, known as an occupational license. Today that number stands at 1 in 3.”

Josh Daniels
Libertas Institute

Why Deregulate Occupational Licensure?

A Barrier to Entry

Many workers love licensure because it discourages competition, erecting a barrier over which applicants must first climb to compete. This anti-market policy especially hurts low-income workers.

It's Too Costly

While education is important and professionals want to be trained, licensure laws compel unnecessary and irrelevant education, adding—on top of application fees and renewals—to the cost of acquiring a license.

It Wastes Time

Initial and continuing education requirements mean potentially hundreds of wasted hours sitting in a classroom and passing a test merely to obtain a license; this time can be better spent actually working.

Violates the Right to Work

Especially for common occupations that present a low risk to one’s safety or health, a person should not be made to first obtain a permission slip from the state prior to offering their services to the public.

Address the Inconsistency

Many other states do not require licenses for the same occupations that Utah does, and if workers there are rendering their services without controversy, why should Utahns have to jump through regulatory hoops?

Encourages Complacency

Licenses can send the wrong market signal to a customer who believes that the worker has been properly vetted and qualified. In truth, passing a test and sitting in class does not convey competency or quality.