Editorial: Time to cut occupational licensing requirements in Nevada

With Nevada still clinging to its ignominious ranking of second worst in the nation in joblessness, more needs to be done to clear away the hurdles for those seeking to earn a decent living.

One place where the deadwood can be cleared is in the area of professional licensing requirements. Too often such licensing is little more than a protection racket for those in certain professions who don’t want any more competition.

According to the Virginia-based Institute for Justice, which litigates to advance liberty by challenging government encroachment and restrictions, Nevada has the fourth most onerous professional licensing scheme in the country.

An Institute for Justice analysis from a couple of years ago — nothing has really changed in the interim — noted that Nevada requires licensing for 55 out of 102 moderate-income occupations. We’re not talking about doctors and lawyers. We’re talking about bricklayers, makeup artists, bus drivers, painters, manicurists and animal trainers.

“Nevada is the most expensive state in which to work in a licensed lower- and moderate-income occupation, with average fees of $505. It also requires an average of 601 days of education and experience and two exams,” IJ found.

Often the excuse for requiring occupational licensing started out as a concern for public safety. No one wants a barber who trims more ear than hair. No one wants a cinder block wall to fall on them. No one wants a pest control worker who doesn’t know to not use too much pesticide.

But IJ points out that Nevada’s education and experience requirements don’t seem to align with public safety concerns. “Emergency medical technicians can earn a license with just about 26 days of training. This is far less training than required of barbers, mobile home installers, cosmetologists, makeup artists, skin care specialists, manicurists and massage therapists,” IJ relates.

In fact, to become an interior designer in Nevada requires 2,190 days of experience and/or education. Only three states and the District of Columbia require licenses for interior designers. Various construction jobs require 1,460 days, while a travel guide requires 733 days and a makeup artist 210 days. To become an athletic trainer takes 1,460 days.

Then there is the cost for licensing fees.

“In many occupations, Nevada has by far the most expensive licensing fees,” according to IJ. “For example, to become an alarm installer requires $1,036 in fees, whereas the national average is $230 for fire and $213 for security alarm installers. A license costs animal trainers $770 in fees, compared to the national average of only $93. Aspiring mobile home installers must pay $566 in fees; the average is only $336.”

That travel guide license costs $1,500 in Nevada. While security and fire alarm licenses cost more than $1,000, you can obtain a security guard license and a child care worker license at no cost with only two days of training.

To chip away at that unemployment ranking, licensing just might be a place to start. Slash fees and reduce the amount of experience and education required in many occupations. Better yet eliminate the licensing requirements entirely for many occupations where employers are the better judge of employee qualifications and skills.

“All Americans deserve the opportunity to earn an honest living. Yet occupational licenses, which are essentially permission slips from the government, routinely stand in the way of honest enterprise,” IJ argues. “Without these licenses, workers can face stiff fines or even risk jail time. The requirements for licensure, though, can be an enormous burden and often force entrepreneurs to waste their valuable time and money to become licensed. Additionally, these burdens too often have no connection at all to public health or safety. Instead, they are imposed simply to protect established businesses from economic competition.”

We agree.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

23 comments on “Editorial: Time to cut occupational licensing requirements in Nevada

  1. There are a lot of things to think about. Individual safety, other people’s safety, includes physical injury and disease control, Hazardous material control to name a few. Designed engineered reasons for doing things a certain way. Fraud Awarness. That’s just to name a few. Now, let’s bring in the third world mentality. Without NECESSARY AND PROPER requirements, peer reviewed of course, we will look just like those third world countries the third world people come from. Watering down OSHA $ MSHA requirements, increasing fraud victims and increasing the number of failed business opportunities isn’t really my idea of success. Drastically reducing fees might be a good thing for sure. An 18 year old with bigger ideas than experience is not a good way to open the public up to substandard Hot Dog stands on every street corner.

  2. Nyp says:

    “Just like those third world countries the third world people come from.”

  3. Barbara says:

    Reminds me of the wailing we heard from the left when work requirements were instituted for welfare. Government interference does not advance civilization or communist countries would have the highest standards of living of all the nations. Licensing fees, if needed, should only recover the cost of testing, monitoring, etc. They should not be a source of revenue or a barrier to entry.

  4. Rincon says:

    “Licensing fees, if needed, should only recover the cost of testing, monitoring, etc. They should not be a source of revenue or a barrier to entry.” Spot on, Barbara. Making a profit on licensing only encourages government to excess.

    “Government interference does not advance civilization or communist countries would have the highest standards of living of all the nations.” Partly true. The failure of Communism certainly demonstrates the hazard of excessive governmental intervention, but a total lack of government interference is properly termed anarchy. Excesses on either side can be detrimental.

  5. Anonymous says:

    There can be no such thing as civilization without government.

    Without civilization, there can be no advancement of civilization.

    There is no such thing as government without interference.

    Governement is a necessary condition for the advancement of civilization.

  6. deleted says:

    Simple solution for doing away with licensing fees, raise taxes on the wealthy, raise taxes on businesses, and raise taxes on mining.

    Problem solved.

  7. Art 1 § 8 cl 3 Us Constitution “To regulate Commerce…” not Agriculture, Not Manufacturing. Art 1 § 8 cl 18 “To make all Laws which shall be Necessary and Proper…” William Blackstones describes necessary and proper as restrictive, not all encompassing. The state has a necessary situation also. The state needs to enhance business chances and at the same protect citizens from criminal intent and harm.

  8. Third World countries have not developed, or allowed, the three economic engines to grow. Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Commerce. 3 seperate engines, not lumped into one. Free Market is where it’s at.

  9. nyp says:

    all those third world people coming here and weakening our occupational licensing laws.

  10. We the people need to concentrate on buying Made in USA. Over seas manufacturing is killing our economy. We do not need to lower our standards to look like third world countries. We also do not need to tax ourselves into a dependent on the government society either. Necessary and proper laws.

  11. All third world perple need to at least meet our standards if they can’t meet them when they arrive. There is a reason we have standards set. There is a reason there is a definition for substandard in dictionaries. There is a reason for the statement “minimum requirements” must be met. Every civilized country has standards for a reason.

  12. deleted says:

    I wonder what sort of licensing Kentucky has? How high are they on the “Institute for justices’ list?


  13. deleted, that’s a primary example of minimum standards must be met.

  14. There should be an Audit requirement on all government agencies. In Nevada, there is a “May” audit statute. We need to get a “Shall” audit statute passed.

  15. Rincon says:

    “Over seas manufacturing is killing our economy.” Not terribly likely. The only way a foreign manufacturer can sell an item for dollars is if, eventually, the dollars he is paid are used to purchase something else from us. By your logic, the people of Iowa should not be allowed to buy gasoline from Texas, while Texans should be forced to grow their own corn and soybeans or is there some essential economic difference between national and state borders?

  16. Rincon says:

    “Every civilized country has standards for a reason.” So who gets to set the standards? It sounds like we’re getting a little close to endorsing big government. I though most of you liked free markets.

  17. Rincon, What are they purchasing from us. What does interstate commerce have to with foreign trade.

  18. Rincon, read the Constitution on the powers of the Congress, also the limitations on Congress.

  19. Steve says:

    Oh no, don’t get Patrick all hepped up on the “shall” vs “may” sham plea!

  20. Rincon says:

    You can look up what they’re purchasing from us. The point is that our dollars are useless unless the people earning them can buy something with them.

    Economically, how would it differ if our 50 states were 50 separate countries instead? If the states didn’t change their laws, would the economics remain the same? I would think so, unless peoples’ psychology has a major effect. By the same token, if many foreign countries became states, how would economics change if all the rules remained the same?

  21. Bill says:

    But sir, Query: Where do we make the appropriate changes?

    While I agree that there some licenses and some of the hours and fees and costs associated therewith that are puzzling, yet, there is still a compelling interest in protecting the public from the incompetent, the nefarious and the financially irresponsible who can and do inflict untold harm on a public that is also often left with little or no recourse. While caveat emptor has a great deal of appeal to me as a basic Libertarian, I am not somuch a purist (there is that damn word again) that I would advocate doing away with licensure. However, I would join you in calling for a dispassionate look at it from top to bottom.

    But, as always, whose ox is to be gored?

  22. Start with interior designer and work your way down the list.

  23. […] advance liberty by challenging government encroachment and restrictions, found that Nevada is the most expensive state in which to work in a licensed lower- and moderate-income occupation. The average licensing fee was […]

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