Reports

Promising Practices on Occupational Licensing Requirements and Portability Options

Promising Practices on Licensure Mobility

A key barrier imposed by occupational licensing is the inability of some professionals licensed by one state to work in another state. Varying licensure requirements across the states often inhibit multistate practice and delay licensees from working in their occupations upon relocation to a new state. However, there are options to improve license portability. Some professions have developed model laws or interstate compacts that improve licensure portability nationwide. Read More…

Barriers to Work:
Improving Access to Licensed Occupations For Immigrants with Work Authorization

This brief is focused on immigrant professionals who are authorized to work by the federal government and highlights innovative state approaches to overcoming employment barriers, particularly in licensing and credentialing. Read more…

Barriers to Work:
Improving Employment in Licensed Occupations for Individuals with Criminal Records

Approximately 77 million Americans, or one in three adults, have a criminal record. Having a criminal record can make it difficult, or even impossible, for an individual to work in a given field, especially one that requires an occupational license. In 2014, employment barriers faced by people with felony convictions—including occupational licensing and other challenges, such as lower levels of education and job skills—were associated with a reduction in the overall employment rate. This amounted to a loss of at least 1.7 million workers from the workforce and a cost of at least $78 billion to the economy. Read more…

Barriers to Work:
Improving Access to Licensed Occupations for Veterans and Military Spouses

The United States is home to millions of military families, made up of veterans, active-duty service members, spouses and dependents. These individuals offer a unique set of skills, experiences and leadership abilities, yet many struggle to find and maintain employment. For veterans, translating their skills to the civilian workforce and marketing themselves to employers play a role. For military spouses, challenges stem from frequent moves and parenting responsibilities. Both groups face barriers and challenges with state occupational licensing regulations. Read more…

Barriers to Work:
Improving Access to Licensed Occupations For Low-Income, Unemployed and Dislocated Workers

There is a strong connection between employment and poverty. It is intuitive that people who have access to full-time, year-round employment are less likely to be living in poverty and the data bears this out: In 2016, 5.8 percent of all workers ages 18 to 64 lived in poverty. Among all individuals who worked full time and year-round, 2.2 percent were living in poverty. By contrast, among those ages 18 to 64 who did not work at least one week during the calendar year, the poverty rate was 30.5 percent. Read more…

The State of Occupational Licensing
Research, State Policies and Trends

Occupational licensing has grown dramatically over the years, leading to a larger share of American workers who need a license to perform their work. Accounting for just 5 percent of the employed population in the 1950s, licensed workers now comprise nearly 25 percent of all employed Americans.1 Spurred by concerns for public safety, consumer protection or other policy goals, the growth in state licensing over time has created a patchwork of different requirements across states. This inconsistency makes it difficult for workers to move their skills across state lines and, because of varying fees for obtaining licenses, costly for them to work in a licensed profession. Read more…

Occupational Licensing Literature and State Policy Scan

Occupational licensing has grown dramatically over the years, leading to a larger share of American workers who need a license to perform their work. Accounting for just five percent of the employed population in the 1950’s, licensed workers now comprise more than 25 percent of all employed Americans. Spurred by concerns for public safety, consumer protection or other policy goals, the growth in state licensing over time has created a patchwork of different requirements across states, making it difficult for workers to move their skills across state lines, and costly for them to work in a licensed profession. Read more…