Occupational Licensing Final Report Resources and References


People meeting

References and resources related to the 2020 Occupational Licensing Final Report: Assessing State Policies and Practices. 

Foundation Work of the Partner Organizations

The three partner organizations, NCSL, CSG and NGA Center, have a strong foundation in state policy work and bringing states together to learn from each other and exchange ideas. They brought years of experience with forming and leading state consortia and collaborating with national organizations to support state action planning and implementation in a host of policy areas. The partners also brought extensive experience and subject matter expertise in the four population group areas and interstate compacts. All the partners have significant experience in working with national partners on consortia-like projects; sharing promising practices with state policymakers and their staffs; delivering direct technical assistance to state entities; and supporting states as they develop and implement strategic action plans. Together, the three national partners possess deep skills, strong connections with key constituencies, and expertise in working together to help states implement state-driven solutions. (See appendix for more background on the partners and their experience and projects.)

The share of workers requiring a license to do their job has exploded from about one in 20 to one in four over the past 60 years, according to a study of the issue by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association and the Council of State Governments. The groups are in the midst of a three-year project to make it easier for people to take their skills across state lines.

– AP, April 10, 2019

Setting the Occupational Licensing Groundwork

Upon kicking off the project in early 2017, the partners laid a foundation for the work by developing and convening a panel of experts, identifying a list of occupations to examine and developing an application for states to join the learning consortium.

Developing and Convening the Panel of Experts

The partners identified national occupational licensing experts to serve as a resource to the project staff, the states participating in the consortium, and all states/territories. The 10 national experts representing the selected occupations and the targeted populations were:

  • Dale Atkinson, executive director, Federation of Association of Regulatory Boards (see appendix B1)
  • Daryl Atkinson, staff attorney, Southern Coalition for Social Justice (see appendix B1)
  • Marion Cain, associate director, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (see appendix B1)
  • Marcus Beauregard, director, Defense State Liaison Office within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, U.S. Department of Defense (see appendix B2)
  • Paul Feltman, director of Global Talent Bridge, World Education Services (see appendix B2)
  • Joe Garcia, chancellor of the Colorado Community College System and former president of the Western Interstate Compact on Higher Education (see appendix B2)
  • Morris Kleiner, professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota (see appendix B3) 
  • Lisa Knepper, manager of Strategic Research Initiatives, Institute for Justice (see appendix B3)
  • Bryan Wilson, director of the Workforce Quality Campaign, National Skills Coalition (see appendix B3)
  • Rick Masters, counsel to National Center for Interstate Compacts (see appendix B3)
  • Adam Parfitt, executive director, Council on Licensure Enforcement and Regulation (see appendix B4)

The panel of experts was involved in reviewing state applications to join the consortium, provided guidance for the research, publications and other project deliverables, and helped disseminate the project outputs. 

The panel was also available to provide technical assistance to the state teams during the consortium meetings. The panel’s first meeting focused on reviewing the draft request for applications for states to join the consortium, discussing methodology for selecting occupations for the database, and reviewing other initial project outputs such as “The State of Occupational Licensing” report and two-page project overview. The experts also provided the partners with background details on licensing, an idea of the big issues they were seeing in the states around licensing and regulation, and help in identifying additional resources and experts to use as faculty for future meetings.

Selecting the Occupations for Review

It is estimated there are over 1,100 occupations that are licensed across the United States. Some are licensed in all 50 states and others are only licensed in one state. With each state maintaining a unique licensing governance structure, a key focus of the project was to identify which occupations are most commonly licensed across all states and prioritized in state workforce development strategies. This strategy also helped provide direction and maximize the impact of state project action plans.

To achieve this goal, the partners developed a list of occupations based on a methodology with four primary conditions:

The occupation must be licensed in at least 30 states.

The occupation must require less than a bachelor’s degree for initial licensure.

The occupation must have a projected average or above-average employment
growth over the next 10 years.

The occupation must include more than 10,000 employees nationally. 

The resulting list of 32 occupations was presented to states for consideration during the application phase and later provided the initial occupations for which licensing data was collected and uploaded to the project’s occupational licensing database.

*The full description of the database methodology and list of occupations may be found in the appendix. In 2018, additional occupations were added to the database, resulting in a current total of 48.

Occupational Licensing Learning Consortium Request for Application and Selection

In June 2017 and with consultation from the panel of experts, the partners sent out a request for applications (RFA) made public to all states to participate in the occupational licensing learning consortium. The RFA stated that the partners, with support from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), would assist participating states, commonwealths and territories (“states”) in improving their understanding of occupational licensure issues and best practices. It would also help participants become familiar with and discuss the existing licensing policies in their state and identify current policies that create unnecessary barriers to labor market entry, especially for certain populations. Finally, it would help states create an action plan that focuses on removing barriers to labor market entry and improves portability and reciprocity for select occupations.

States submitted applications in August 2017. They were reviewed by staff from each of the partners, DOL and the panel of experts, who provided feedback on each state’s proposal and finalized the selection of states best positioned for meaningful and productive participation in the consortium. 

Partner staff and each member of the panel of experts independently scored state applications according to criteria outlined in the RFA. These included the state’s outline of its current occupational licensing policy framework; its vision, goals and initial desired outcomes through its work in the consortium; its proposed activities to achieve those goals; and the comprehensiveness of its proposed core team membership. Partners’ staff then met with the panel of experts to evaluate states’ scores against these criteria and determine which states would be admitted to the consortium. This conversation also provided opportunities for the panel to help partners’ staff identify specific areas of technical assistance that may be useful to each state once they were admitted to the consortium.


October 2017: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, Wisconsin and Utah. Selected states were expected to participate in the following activities, as described in the RFA:

  • In-person, multistate meetings.
  • In-state meetings facilitated by staff from the partners.
  • Targeted, state-specific technical assistance from the partners.
  • Webinars and peer learning calls.
  • Development and implementation of a state action plans, facilitated and supported by the partners’ staff.
  • Submission of regular reports and a final summary of lessons learned through their state’s work in the consortium.

The technical assistance and facilitation support provided by partner staff has contributed to the progress consortium states have made in reducing unnecessary barriers to occupational licensure. The research and facilitation the partners were able to provide meant state teams could focus on their outlined goals and action items and did not have to spend time conducting their own national comparative research or planning meetings. Having an outside facilitator and research organizations contributed to more efficient in-state and multistate meetings and a reduced burden on state staff.

In 2015, the Obama White House released a report on occupational licensing” and “it identified some of the barriers that it creates for different population groups,” says Suzanne Hultin, program director in the Employment, Labor & Retirement program at the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “On the heels of that report, the U.S. Department of Labor announced [its willingness] to work with states on this issue... Then that trend continued in 2018. The Trump administration also put out some money to work on this. So it’s a bipartisan issue.

– The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 30, 2019

Appendix A: Foundation Work of the Partners

The partner organizations were well-suited for this project, given their years of experience and background work on workforce development issues, as well as the four population groups. Furthermore, the partners had collaborated on other projects, bringing together states teams with great success.

NCSL had previously collaborated with the NGA Center for Best Practices on a multi-state team-style project related to occupational licensing on scope of practice in the health workforce and another on maternal and child health issues. Both projects engaged state teams to develop and implement an action plan with support from NCSL and NGA.

NCSL and CSG have been engaged in a five-year collaboration with Women in Government and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to engage state policymakers and implement effective disability-inclusive employment policies

The partners also brought extensive experience and subject matter expertise in the four population group areas and interstate compacts. NCSL’s Immigrant Policy Project and the NCSL Task Force on Immigration are leaders in addressing immigrant integration challenges and opportunities in states. NCSL’s Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs has examined issues and created programming related to cross-state occupational licensing. In addition, the NGA Center for Best Practices conducted a demonstration project funded by the U.S. Department of Labor that engaged governors in streamlining veterans’ licensing and credentialing to identify the most efficient processes to transition veterans into civilian employment. The NGA Center also brought years of experience soliciting participation and buy-in from states on multistate projects, bringing teams together and setting common goals and timelines. 

NCSL has extensive experience tracking and analyzing legislation, developing bill tracking databases, and presenting issues clearly and concisely through digital and print resources.

The NGA Center for Best Practices Workforce Development & Economic Policy Program has many years of experience in tracking and analyzing executive action and providing customized technical assistance on bipartisan gubernatorial priorities. Its experience also includes facilitating strategic planning and implementation for diverse state stakeholder groups, with a focus on improving availability of and access to quality jobs and training opportunities. In 2015, the NGA Center was contracted by DOL to analyze and produce a final report on the Veterans’ Licensing and Certification Demonstration. It summarized state experiences, initial findings and cost estimates of reforming occupational licensing and certification regulations and processes to facilitate veterans’ transitions into the civilian workforce. In addition to the activities noted above, the Workforce Development & Economic Policy Program has also led ongoing work for more than 15 years with state workforce board chairs and agency administrators on high-quality workforce system governance. This includes focusing on employment and training for low-income and dislocated workers, veterans and military families, people with criminal backgrounds and other disadvantaged populations. These populations have been incorporated as key populations of focus in a number of NGA Center workforce projects, including projects that focus on apprenticeship, sector strategies, and career pathway development.

NCSL represents the legislatures in the states, territories and commonwealths of the U.S. Its mission is to advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of legislatures and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures. NCSL also represents legislatures in dealing with the federal government, especially in support of state sovereignty, state flexibility and protection from unfunded federal mandates and unwarranted federal preemption. The conference promotes cooperation between state legislatures in the U.S. and those in other countries. In addition, NCSL is committed to improving the operations and management of state legislatures, and the effectiveness of legislators and legislative staff.

NGA is a nonpartisan membership organization representing governors of the nation’s 55 states, territories and commonwealths. The NGA Center is a research and development firm that directly serves the nation’s governors, providing technical assistance, research and best practices across a range of policy areas. The NGA Center’s Workforce Program, which participated in this partnership, works closely with state workforce agency leaders and governor-appointed state workforce board chairs who govern and interact with licensing issues in their states. The NGA Center has extensive experience in facilitating strategic planning among state leaders; administering a thorough and impartial application and selection process for states participating in project consortia; planning and hosting large multistate convenings; and producing quality written products.

CSG serves all three branches of state government and has a long-standing history of facilitating stakeholder convenings, such as those through its National Center for Interstate Compacts (NCIC). Since 1999, NCIC has assisted states in the development of interstate compacts focused on occupational licensing. Additionally, the CSG Justice Center has expansive knowledge related to state criminal justice policies. The Justice Center’s reentry and employment program work focuses on efforts to improve employment outcomes for people with criminal records.

Appendix B: Panel of Experts' Biographies

Dale Atkinson

Executive Director, Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards  

Dale Atkinson, who received his law degree from Northwestern School of Law, Portland, Ore., is the sole, managing member of the Northbrook, Ill., law firm of Atkinson & Atkinson, LLC, which represents various associations of regulatory boards. Atkinson represents associations in all matters relating to their operations as not-for-profit corporations, including regulatory activities, education and accreditation, disciplinary actions, model legislation and applications, and all phases of the development and administration of licensure examination programs, licensure transfer programs, licensure credentials verification and storage. He is a frequent speaker before these association clients, as well as other regulatory groups, and produces numerous writings on these subjects for publications. Atkinson also serves as executive director of the Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards, a not-for-profit association whose full members consist of associations of regulatory boards, which facilitates cross-profession interaction and provides educational programs for board members, staff, investigators and attorneys related to regulation in the interest of public protection.

Daryl Atkinson

Staff Attorney, Southern Coalition for Social Justice  

Daryl Atkinson is a staff attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice focusing on drug policy and criminal justice reform issues. He also serves on the board of directors for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and is a commissioner for the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services. Atkinson received a B.A. in political science from Benedict College, Columbia, S.C., and a J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. Prior to coming to SCSJ, Atkinson was a staff attorney at the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, where he co-managed the Collateral Consequence Assessment Tool (C-CAT). C-CAT is an online searchable database that allows the user to identify the civil disabilities triggered by North Carolina arrests, indictments, and convictions.

Marion Cain

Associate Director, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense  

Marion Cain is currently assigned as associate director, force training directorate in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness). Before joining DOD, Cain led major training programs for Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Under his leadership, these programs trained hundreds of thousands emergency responders to respond to terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction. Previously, Cain served 26 years on active duty with the U.S. Army. A master parachutist, key assignments include service with the 82nd Airborne Division and the U. S. Army’s Special Operations Command. His operational experience includes Operation Just Cause (Panama) and Operation Desert Storm (southwest Asia). A registered professional engineer and certified associate program manager, Cain’s civilian education includes a B.S. in civil engineering from The Citadel, an M.S. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s of military art and science from the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies. His military education includes the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, School of Advanced Military Studies, Defense Language Institute (basic Spanish), and the Inter-American Defense College. Cain is also a certified somatic experience practitioner and recently completed training in biodynamic craniosacral therapy.

Marcus Beauregard

Director, Defense State Liaison Office within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, U.S. Department of Defense

Marcus Beauregard, colonel, U.S. Air Force (retired) is the chief of the DOD-State Liaison Office within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. Together with a senior liaison and eight regional liaisons, he works with state governments on a slate of 10 issues (one being consumer protection and enforcement of the DOD regulation on predatory lending). He spent 27 years in the Air Force, having assignments as a squadron commander, the director of Financial Management for Air Force Services, and the director of Morale, Welfare and Recreation Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He retired in July 2003 and continued to work as a contract employee from August 2003 to April 2010, at which time he became a civil service employee.

Paul Feltman

Director of Global Talent Bridge, World Education Services  

Paul Feltman is deputy executive director for Global Talent Policy and Programs and director of the Global Talent Bridge program for World Education Services (WES), a nonprofit organization that helps immigrants gain recognition of their academic qualifications earned abroad. He oversees outreach, education and training programs, establishes strategic partnerships, and shapes policy initiatives designed to help immigrants successfully integrate into academic and professional settings in the U.S. and Canada. In this role, he works closely with community-based organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, employers and policymakers and makes frequent presentations on issues related to immigrant integration and credential recognition at professional conferences, workshops and public forums. Feltman serves as chair of the steering committee of IMPRINT, a coalition of organizations active in the emerging field of immigrant professional integration that is hosted and managed by WES. He also serves on the advisory board of the Massachusetts New Americans Integration Institute and on the National Blue-Ribbon Panel of the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education.

Joe Garcia

Former President, Western Interstate Compact on Higher Education,
Current Chancellor of the Colorado Community College System   

Joe Garcia was appointed president of the Western Interstate Compact on Higher Education (WICHE) in June 2016. He served as the lieutenant governor of Colorado and as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, beginning in 2011. He had previously served on the WICHE Commission for nine years, including serving as its chair in 2011. During his time as lieutenant governor and as the state higher education executive officer for Colorado, Garcia focused on increasing equity in outcomes for all students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds and communities of color. Prior to being elected lieutenant governor, Garcia served as president of Colorado State University-Pueblo, which was named the Outstanding Member Institution by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities during his tenure. He also served as president of Colorado’s second-largest community college, Pikes Peak Community College, where he was twice named President of the Year by the State Student Advisory Council. His previous public service positions included serving as a member of the cabinet of Governor Roy Romer and as a White House appointee under President Bill Clinton at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He also was employed in the private practice of law for 10 years at the law firm of Holme Roberts & Owen, where he became the first Hispanic partner in the 100-year history of the firm. Garcia earned his B.S. in business at the University of Colorado-Boulder and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Morris Kleiner

Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota   

Morris M. Kleiner is a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and he teaches at the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies, both at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. He is also a research associate in labor studies with the National Bureau of Economic Research and serves as a visiting scholar in the economic research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He has published extensively in the top academic journals in labor economics and industrial relations, and is the author, co-author or co-editor of eight books, including three books on occupational regulation. Among his recent publications is “Reforming Occupational Licensing Policies,” a paper from the Hamilton Project. He received a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois. Professor Kleiner has provided advice on occupational regulation policy to the Little Hoover Commission in California, Federal Trade Commission, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, federal interagency statistical panels, the Census Bureau and state licensing associations. Internationally, he has provided testimony on occupational regulation to United Kingdom cabinet officers and their parliamentary committees, to cabinet officials responsible for occupational regulation in Australia and Israel, and to senior officials of the European Union.

Lisa Knepper

Manager of Strategic Research Initiatives, Institute for Justice  

Lisa Knepper helps manage the Institute for Justice’s strategic research initiative, which creates policy and social science research on issues central to IJ’s mission—school choice, private property rights, economic liberty and free speech. Knepper co-authored IJ’s reports, “License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing,” “Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture, 2nd ed.,” and “Streets of Dreams: How Cities Can Create Economic Opportunity by Knocking Down Protectionist Barriers to Street Vending.” Articles she has authored or co-authored have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic online, CNN.com and the journal Economic Affairs.

Bryan Wilson

Director of the Workforce Quality Campaign, National Skills Coalition  

Bryan Wilson is the state policy director at the National Skills Coalition. Wilson leads NSC’s efforts to assist state-based coalitions and policymakers in the development of specific policy proposals, including providing in-depth analyses of model state policies and proposals. He also aids with policy implementation and measuring the impact of policy changes. Wilson works to align state policy activities with NSC’s national policy goals and helps to inform federal advocacy so it is consistent with the needs of states and local practitioners. He joined NSC in 2013. Prior to joining NSC, Wilson was the deputy director of Washington state’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, which oversees both the state’s workforce development and career and technical education programs at the secondary and postsecondary levels. He also held policy posts in the Washington state governor’s office and in the state House of Representatives. Bryan holds a doctorate degree from Rutgers University, a master’s from the University of Oregon, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. He is based in Washington, D.C.

Rick Masters

Counsel to National Center for Interstate Compacts   

Rick Masters is special counsel to the National Center for Interstate Compacts (NCIC), affiliated with the Council of State Governments (CSG), providing legal guidance on the law and use of interstate compacts, their application and enforcement and bill drafting guidance in conjunction with the various NCIC compact projects. He has been a primary drafter of many compacts, including multistate licensure compacts for the professions of nursing, medicine, physical therapy, emergency medical services and psychology. He also provides legal advice to a variety of compact governing boards and agencies and testifies before state legislatures and Congress about compact legislation. He does extensive research and writing in the field of interstate compacts, including co-authoring the largest compilation of laws and commentary on the subject published by the American Bar Association in 2016 entitled, “The Evolving Law and Use of Interstate Compacts 2nd Edition.” He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Louisville and served as a Kentucky assistant attorney general, after which he was general counsel to CSG.

Adam Parfitt

Executive Director, Council on Licensure Enforcement and Regulation 

Adam Parfitt is executive director of the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR), a position he has held for the last 10 years. During two decades at CLEAR, he previously served as the organization’s director of International Relations. CLEAR is an association of individuals, agencies and organizations that comprise the international community of professional and occupational regulation. CLEAR is a dynamic forum for improving the quality and understanding of regulation in order to enhance public protection. Through conferences, services and publications, CLEAR provides the resources for ongoing and thorough communication of international licensure and regulation issues among all those interested in the field. Prior to his time with CLEAR, Parfitt worked with several associations of state government officials.

Appendix C: List of In-state Meetings

State Meeting Date Organization Lead

Jan, 25, 2018
Oct. 22. 2018


March 2, 2018
Aug. 29, 2018


Feb. 28, 2018
Sept. 12, 2018
June 24, 2018


March 28, 2018
July 30, 2019



May 22, 2018
Dec. 11, 2018
May 21, 2019


Feb. 9, 2018
Sept. 12, 2018


April 30, 2018
Sept. 19, 2018
April 8, 2018


Feb. 26, 2018
Sept. 25, 2018


April 28, 2018
Jan. 24, 2018
Sept. 26, 2019


April 13, 2018
Sept. 21, 2018
April 17, 2019


April 24, 2018
March 16, 2019
March 11, 2020


Appendix D: American Institutes of Research Case Studies of Consortium States

The American Institute for Research (AIR) conducted case studies on the 11 original consortium states, identifying one occupational licensing initiative to conduct a deep examination of what worked and what didn’t. The case studies can be found on the AIR Website.

Appendix E: Methodology of Database

To develop a methodology for which occupations to include in the database, CSG, in consultation with NCSL, the NGA Center and the panel of experts, first developed a list of licensed, middle-income occupations. These occupations were selected based on two primary criteria:

  1. Occupation is licensed in at least 30 states.
  2. Occupation requires less than a bachelor’s degree.


The initial data download was accessed from CareerOneStop, a federally funded national clearinghouse for information about occupations, training programs and industries. CSG downloaded a dataset of licensed occupations by state then sorted the data by unique Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and eliminated any duplicates by state. CSG then refined the search to include occupations that are licensed in 30 or more states. This resulted in a list of 103 occupations with unique SOC codes.

This list was cross-referenced with the list from the Institute for Justice’s “License to Work” report, which collected data on licensed, low-income occupations, resulting in a total of 144 occupations.

Where appropriate, occupations were collapsed into one category (e.g., carpenter/cabinet contractor, cement finishing contractor, drywall installation contractor, floor sander contractor, glazier contractor, insulation contractor, iron/steel contractor, mason contractor, painting contractor, sheet metal contractor, terrazzo contractor, paving equipment operator and door repair contractor were all placed under the occupation “general contractor”). In addition, duplicates were removed when it was determined the same occupation was being referenced through slight variations in title names. This resulted in a total of 125 occupations for consideration. 

Among the 125 occupations under consideration, entry-level education was determined for 122 occupations. Information regarding the three remaining occupations (animal breeder, auctioneer and milk sampler) were marked as undetermined and removed from the list. All occupations with an entry-level education of a doctorate or master’s or professional degree were eliminated to conform to the scope of this project. This left 75 occupations. To narrow the field further, those occupations with an entry-level education of a bachelor’s degree were eliminated, leaving 39 occupations. One occupation—real estate appraisers—required a bachelor’s degree but was included at the request of the Department of Labor. The resulting list includes 40 occupations.

The next criterion applied to the list was projected growth rate as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Applying this measure, the following six occupations, with less than average (2% or less) growth, were eliminated:

  • Bill Collector Agency, Bill and Account Collectors 
  • Manufactured Building and Mobile Home Installers 
  • Fishers and Related Fishing Workers 
  • Real Estate Brokers 
  • Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation 
  • Funeral Service Managers 

The remaining 35 occupations were ranked by the number of total projected job openings from 2014 to 2024. Values range from a low of 7,200 projected jobs (earth drillers, except oil and gas) to a high of 599,000 jobs (nursing assistants). 

The single occupation projected to have less than 10,000 job openings (earth drillers, except oil and gas) was eliminated from the list, leaving 34 occupations. Further analysis of the remaining occupations revealed that the licensing complexity of preschool and vocational teachers would complicate their ability to be accurately captured within the database, and therefore were not included for collection.

This resulted in a final list of 32 occupations for the database:

  1. General Contractors
  2. Teacher Assistants
  3. Respiratory Therapists 
  4. Dental Hygienists 
  5. Radiologic Technologists 
  6. Emergency Medical Technicians
  7. Pharmacy Technicians 
  8. Veterinary Technicians 
  9. Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses 
  10. Certified Nursing Assistants 
  11. Occupational Therapy Assistants 
  12. Physical Therapy Assistants 
  13. Massage Therapists 
  14. Private Detectives and Investigators 
  15. Security Guards 
  16. Barbers 
  17. Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists 
  18. Manicurists and Pedicurists 
  19. Skin Care Specialists (Estheticians)
  20. Insurance Sales Agents 
  21. Electricians 
  22. Pipefitters and Steamfitters 
  23. Plumbers (Journeymen)
  24. Construction and Building Inspectors 
  25. Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers 
  26. Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers 
  27. Drinking Water Treatment Plant and System Operators 
  28. Bus Driver (City/Transit) 
  29. Bus Drivers (School)
  30. Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 
  31. Real Estate Sales Agents 

For the final database occupations, available data relating to occupational licensing laws and requirements were collected at the state level. The resulting dataset provides details on the prevalence and levels of initial and continuing education requirements, the number and frequency of examinations, amount of occupational or professional experience or other required job training, and the monetary fees associated with receiving an occupational license across all states.

For each occupation and across all states, where available, the dataset includes the following numerical variables:

  • Level of educational attainment needed to fulfill the licensure requirement.
  • Number of hours/units of training needed to fulfill the licensure requirement.
  • Number of weeks of experience required to fulfill the licensure requirement.
  • Number of examinations taken to fulfill licensure requirement.
  • Number of years before renewal is required for an occupational license.
  • Number of hours/units of continuing education required to maintain or renew licensure.
  • Maximum dollar amount charged for initial licensure.
  • Maximum dollar amount charged for renewal of licensure.
  • Minimum age needed to fulfill licensure requirement.

Categorical variables are created to describe varying state licensing policies such as:

  • Requirement for maintenance of “good moral character.”
  • Restrictions imposed on individuals with criminal records.
  • Reciprocity agreements allowing interstate license recognition.

Appendix F: Consortium Targeted Occupations

A requirement for each consortium state’s initial application was to identify at least four target occupations that it intended to study further. Although some of the targeted occupations were changed during the course of the project by the state teams, the occupations listed in the applications provide insight into each state’s greater reform strategies.

Consortium Targeted Occupations
State Occupation Basis for Selection
  • Construction Managers
  • Construction and Building Inspectors
  • Heavy and Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators
  • Overly burdensome regulations
  • Certified Addiction Counselors
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Barbers
  • Cosmetologists
  • In-demand occupations
  • Industry-specific factors
  • Barriers to entry
  • Home Health Aides
  • Physical Therapy Assistants
  • Massage Therapists
  • Truck Drivers
  • Electricians
  • Telecommunication Infrastructure Layout Technicians
  • In-demand occupations
  • HVAC
  • Plumbers
  • Massage Therapists
  • Criminal justice reform strategies
  • Genetic Counselors
  • Landscape Architects
  • Electrologists
  • Detection of Deception Agents
  • Geologists
  • Land sales/Timeshare
  • Internet Auction Listing Services
  • Review of continued relevancy for licensure
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Emergency Medical Technicians
  • Nursing Assistants
  • Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Workforce shortages
  • Health care access
  • Hairdressers/Hairstylists/Cosmetologists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Licensed Practical Nurses/Licensed Vocational Nurses
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Opportunities for regulatory structure changes
  • Barbers
  • Cosmetologists
  • Plumbers, HVACR, Plumbing
  • In-demand occupations
  • Demand by disproportionately affected populations
  • Regulatory structure
  • Health Care
  • Construction
  • In-demand occupations
  • Construction and Contracting Occupations
  • Beauty Occupations
  • Number of current licensees
  • Cosmetologists
  • Aestheticians
  • Interior Designers
  • Private Security Personnel
  • Number of current licensees

Appendix G: Individual State Grants from Department of Labor

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor invited states and other entities to apply for individual grants aimed at assisting their review, streamlining and portability of occupational licensing. In total, nine states received project grants, including three of the consortium states: Colorado, Kentucky and Nevada. Another consortium state, Indiana, was awarded a separate grant in 2019, entitled the Veterans Accelerated Learning for Licensed Occupations (VALLO) project.

Included is a brief overview of what the four consortium awardee states have done or plan to accomplish with the additional grant funds:

Colorado - $260,000

Colorado has allocated its grant funds to hire a full-time policy advisor for the Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) in the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). The policy advisor is currently assisting DORA with ongoing occupational licensure research and analysis and serves as a primary point of contact between DORA, interbranch collaborators, the project partners and other stakeholders. 

To date, research priorities have focused on interstate mobility for licensed workers and issues affecting disproportionately impacted populations, including immigrants and those with a criminal record. This research has supported the development of legislation and the completion of other research projects and stakeholder resources, including a licensing guide for immigrants and refugees and a proposal to address collateral consequences for those with criminal convictions.

The grant- hired policy advisor is also tasked with coordinating with other state departments, including the Department of Public Health and Environment, Department of Human Services, Department of Corrections, Public Defenders Office and the Office of the Governor. Further stakeholder outreach has included Emily Griffith Technical College and Spring Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on immigration issues.

The work of the DPO and the policy advisor will continue into 2021, with additional project plans to expand licensing reform and streamlining efforts to additional professions.

Indiana - $1.53 Million

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has awarded a $1.53 million VALLO grant to Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. The Council of State Governments, in partnership with Ivy Tech, provides research and administrative support to the planning and deliverables of the grant.

Over the next two years, the partners will develop programs that make military experience recognized in civilian licensed occupations across the state of Indiana. In addition, they will market these programs nationwide to decrease the overall unemployment and underemployment rates among the veteran population. The VALLO project will create detailed gap analyses based on robust legislative scans and examination of military occupation qualification. Those gap analyses will be used to identify barriers faced by veterans and service members when transitioning to a range of civilian occupations. By June 2022, 3,000 Hoosier veterans will be enrolled across VALLO programs in health care, mechanical and construction industries, and transportation.

Kentucky - $450,000

Kentucky received $450,000 from the Department of Labor to address an initial set of six objectives:

Conduct research on activities of other states to identify variable courses of action to organize licensing boards.

Conduct a multistate analysis and report on licensing requirements for targeted licenses to investigate similarities/differences.

Conduct a license analysis and report to identify and remove barriers for targeted populations.

Pilot a portability project for respiratory therapist licensing through collaboration with identified neighboring/consortium states. 

Continued engagement/training for board members. 

Identify and pursue potential tools to engage state licensees.

The grant project is administrated by the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet. However, due to a change in administration, the grant team is currently in the process of evaluating the final project outcomes.


The grants will be used to review and streamline licensing requirements and address licensure challenges for veterans and transitioning service members. Kentucky is one of 11 member states in the Occupational Licensing Policy Learning Consortium, a program established by the Council of State Governments, the National Governor’s Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

– Morehead State Public Radio, June 30, 2018

Nevada - $449,999

The Nevada Office of Workforce Innovation (OWINN) received $449,999 to support an in-depth review of the state’s occupational licensing requirements, identify reform strategies and improve licensing data infrastructures. The grant is supported by a project manager who provides day-to-day oversight and coordination with stakeholders. OWINN has also contracted with a consulting firm to conduct project research into the state of occupational licensing in Nevada, including a multistate survey of licensing requirements for in-demand occupations. Further research will provide a literature review and report of findings from the 11 consortium project states, Nevada’s sunset committee reviews and any other existing occupational licensing board audits. The contractor will also investigate current occupational licensing policies and practices and identify potential barriers for license holders and applicants. The resulting findings will be tailored into actionable recommendations for the appropriate audiences (i.e., legislators, state agencies, educators and licensing boards). Finally, the research will consider the state’s occupational licensing data needs and recommend ways to support a robust data infrastructure system.

While the majority of grant funds will be allocated for the research portion, funds will also be used to plan and facilitate meetings focused on occupational licensing review and reform. The consulting firm is expected to assist the project manager in planning and participating in roundtable events to gather information from stakeholders. Project personnel will conduct further stakeholder outreach at occupational licensure policy convenings and in consultation with external policy organizations. 

Expanded Partner Organization Technical Assistance

In 2018, CSG and NCSL were each awarded additional grants to support further state policy reform efforts. These include the addition of new state and regulatory board involvement in the consortium and the expansion of technical assistance to a wider policymaker audience. They also include the development of new policy resources, with a particular focus on interstate compacts, licensure portability and military members, veterans and their spouses.

Consortium Expansion

With the additional grant funds, five states were added to the project consortium: Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Vermont. In consultation with the existing and new consortium states, regulatory board members were also invited to join the respective state teams.

The new consortium members’ inaugural participation occurred during the consortium’s second national meeting, which provided an orientation to the project and introduction to the existing state teams, subject matter experts and partners. The meeting also served as an opportunity for the new state teams to further refine their policy strategies and identify the initial steps to implement their goals. The regulatory board members added to the state teams provided another crucial stakeholder voice that assisted in the consideration, development and enactment of reform strategies.

Additional State Outreach

The project consortium created a unique and valuable network of states, subject matter experts, occupational licensure stakeholders and the partner organizations. This multi-state learning environment resulted in a number of valuable state policy examples and connections that are of benefit to other states considering and implementing occupational licensure reform. To this effect, the partner organizations have convened additional policy seminars and conference sessions open to states outside the consortium.

Capitalizing on the partners’ ability to build additional programming in their existing policy conferences, the project convenings have highlighted pertinent topics of licensure policy. These include workforce reentry, disproportionately affected populations, interstate compacts and sunrise/sunset provisions.

Joint Center for Occupational Licensure Excellence

To support further collaboration between the partner organizations and provide a single resource center for occupational licensure policy, CSG and NCSL established the Joint Center for Occupational Licensure Excellence (Center). The work of the center will specifically prioritize outreach and support to the states previously not engaged in the work of the consortium. In 2021, the center will host a national occupational licensure policy meeting, which will draw on the collective institutional knowledge, lessons learned and state partnerships developed in the consortium.

Partner Resources

The second phase of the project also provides an opportunity to develop additional policy resources that will assist states considering occupational licensing reform measures. The project outputs will specifically focus on promising state strategies identified during the project, including sunrise/sunset, licensure portability, state workforce strategy integration, and policies that support military members, veterans and their spouses.

Expanding the Database

The occupational licensure database created in the first phase of the project served as a critical tool for states in assessing and analyzing their occupational licensing frameworks. Given the success of the database, the second phase of the project will see the addition of new occupations, as well as information on regulatory boards and licensure portability options.