South Dakota government among leaders in occupational licensing
From: The Center Square
South Dakota has some of the nation’s least burdensome occupational licensing requirements, a new report suggests.
The Institute of Justice recently released its third edition of License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing, providing an updated look at the effects of occupational licensing requirements and changes in America since 2017.
The report, which analyzes the impact occupational licensing has on workers in more than 100 low-income professions – ranked South Dakota as the 3rd “least widely and onerously licensed state” in the U.S.
Wyoming and Vermont were the only two states to rank higher than South Dakota in the study that evaluated all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the burden they place on workers to get licensed.
These burdens include the cost it takes to obtain or maintain a certification or license, the average amount of “days lost” to education and experience, and the percentage of occupations that require a license.
South Dakota’s burden on workers is well below all of the major national average licensing metrics measured by the IOJ, the study finds.
Of the 102 surveyed occupations, South Dakota requires licensure for only 32 of the professions, equaling an estimated 31% of the studied fields. Nationally, the average was about 53%, which means that on average, other states are requiring licensure for 19 more professions than South Dakota.
The average cost and the amount of learning time required to get licensed in South Dakota are lower than that seen nationally, too. Despite having seen fee increases since 2017 for most licensed professions, South Dakotans can expect to pay an average of $244 in fees to get licensed, whereas the national average is $40 more at $284.
Additionally, The average amount of days spent on learning skills to obtain licensure in the Mount Rushmore State is 69 days fewer than the national average. According to IOJ, South Dakotans spend an average of 281 days on education and experience. The national average of “days lost” for educational purposes is 350.
South Dakota’s positive scoring was largely attributed to its net reductions in education and experience burdens since 2017, the study states. Four professions saw a decrease in the amount of time it takes to get certified, including barbers, cosmetologists, midwives and shampooers. Only three professions saw an increase in educational time requirements, including high school head sports coaches, pharmacy technicians and school bus drivers.
Trends for South Dakota’s licensing processes – with overall fees rising and education requirements shrinking since 2017 – are fairly on point with national trends.
“Across all the licenses present in both the second and third editions of License to Work, average fees rose 3.5% from 2017 to 2022, but average days lost fell by nearly 6%, by far the largest change across our five burden categories,” the study states. “Occupational licensing burdens remain widespread and burdensome, albeit a little less so than a few years ago.”