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Welcome to CSG’s Occupational Licensure website. Here you will be able to find all the publications and information we have to offer.

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Over the last 60 years, the number of jobs requiring an occupational license, or government approval to practice a profession, has grown from about one in 20 to nearly one in four. When implemented properly, occupational licensing can help protect the health and safety of consumers by requiring practitioners to undergo a designated amount of training and education in their field. However, differences and disparities in occupational licensing laws across states can create barriers for those looking to enter the labor market and make it harder for workers to relocate across state lines. Certain populations—including military spouses and families, immigrants with work authorization, people with criminal records, and unemployed and dislocated workers—are affected especially hard by the requirements and variances of occupational licensing.

To begin looking for solutions to these problems, the National Conference of State Legislatures, or NCSL, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, NGA Center, and The Council of State Governments, or CSG, are launching a three-year project entitled Occupational Licensing: Assessing State Policy and Practice, with the goal of enhancing the portability of occupational licenses. This work is made possible through a grant from the U. S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.

Blog

Virginia Becomes First State to Fully Digitize Professional Licensing

On Sept. 3, 2019, Virginia became the first state to fully digitize its professional licensing and credentialing system. Many professions take advantage of current technology to offer digital copies of licenses and certifications, but before September, no state offered universal electronic licensing. Through a partnership between the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation and …

Wisconsin Reduces Licensing Fees for Nearly 75% of Licensed Occupations

Occupational licensure is one of the most overarching labor market issues facing low-income workers. The proportion of the labor force required to obtain a license exceeds that of both minimum wage earners and union members.1,2,3 The costs of licensing, such as exams, training courses, continuing education, and application and renewal fees, can present significant barriers to …

Should Licensing Reformers Still Be Talking About African Hair Braiding?

If you’ve studied the issue of occupational licensing reform for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly heard about African hair braiders. The issue of state government regulating the hair braiding industry is a compelling one. Why would a state subject a hair braider to obtain a full cosmetology license, endure hundreds of hours of unnecessary …

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