Occupational Licensing Case Study Reports

Nearly one in four of all employed U.S. workers are in a profession that requires an occupational license, making licensing one of the central factors that shapes employment opportunities for many workers. AIR worked with the National Conference for State Legislatures (NCSL) and its partner organizations, the Council of State Governments and the National Governors Association's Center for Best Practices, to conduct case studies of 11 different states that undertook efforts to review their licensing practices. Since 2017, through the Occupational Licensing Policy Learning Consortium, NCSL and its partner organizations have been working on occupational licensing with each state. The states developed action plans and goals to reduce barriers to entry into licensed occupations and improve the portability of licenses across state lines. These plans were then implemented, and goals were refined over a two-year period, yielding important accomplishments and lessons learned across the Consortium states.

Examples of Occupations:
Nursing, EMTs, Teachers, Cosmetologists, Plumbers, HVACRs

Examples of Populations:
Veterans and military spouses, justice involved individuals, immigrants, minority populations

AIR's case studies focus on processes, successes, challenges and impact of efforts to reduce occupational licensing barriers across a variety of occupations and populations.

The case studies offer important insight into factors that facilitated and hindered success within licensure efforts.

  • First, task forces and working groups played a key role in establishing legitimacy to why particular efforts were worth pursuing.
  • Second, valid and reliable data were key to making policy decisions and receiving buy-in from stakeholders.
  • Third, labor union support was crucial to the success or failure of licensure efforts.
  • Fourth, in many cases coalition building and robust communication across stakeholders was instrumental to progress and/or success
Image of Christina Curnow
Managing Director, Human Capital Solutions