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Occupational Licensing

Occupational licensing is the most strenuous form of labor market regulation. It requires a person to obtain a government permission slip to work. To obtain this permission slip, individuals must often complete minimum levels of training, pay fees, and complete an exam before being allowed to perform a job or vocation. The intended goal of these licenses is to ensure public health, safety, and welfare by mandating quality standards in a profession. However, the reality is that licensing limits or prevents competition among individuals in an industry and artificially inflates licensed workers’ wages at the expense of consumers and potential entrants.


  • Occupational licensing is the most strenuous form of labor market regulation available to state, local, and federal governments.
  • The intent is to protect the public from harm caused by unqualified or untrained service providers.
  • Texas’ licensing laws are ranked 21st most burdensome as the state regulates a wide variety of occupations, from high school head coaches to cosmetologists to doctors.
  • Licensure results in increased wages and decreased competition for incumbents, stifling innovation and burdening consumers with artificially high costs.

Talking points for liberty fighters

  • Eliminate those unnecessary barriers to opportunity while considering other options to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare

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