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Occupational Licensure

Occupational licensure is government permission for an individual to work in a particular profession, occupation, or vocation. The goal of occupational licensure is to protect citizens’ health and safety with regard to incompetent, dangerous, or harmful work. Government regulation of occupations in this way can include education and training requirements, exams, fees, and even business practice restrictions (e.g., advertising restrictions).

In the United States, occupational licensure has grown significantly over the decades. In the years following World War II, just a small portion of occupations were subject to licensure regulations. By 2010, however, more than one third of all occupations required state licensure. Scholarship shows that occupational licensure can indeed protect and confer benefits on consumers. When licensing law focuses on reasonable consumer health and safety ...

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