More than 750,000 people in Michigan have active licenses that are overseen by the Bureau of Professional Licensing. This represents 17% of the 4.4 million nonfarm jobs in the state. And while this department oversees more than 40 of the state's occupational licenses, there are dozens more that fall under the control of other state agencies and boards. This includes more than 100,000 public school teachers and thousands of other school employees, some of whom need licenses or certifications. Altogether, including some licenses required of businesses, Michigan requires licenses, certification or registration for more than 400 different occupations or industries.
Michigan is in the middle of the pack nationally for the number and strictness of its licenses. A report published by the Archbridge Institute ranked states by these measures and pegged Michigan at 29th worst among the 50 states. The Great Lake State fell in the middle among its neighbors too, with Wisconsin and Ohio having higher licensing burdens and Illinois and Indiana having less restrictive ones.
For lower-income or working-class occupations, Michigan requires fewer licenses than the national average, and the state generally has smaller fees and less mandatory training. But the Michigan Constitution stands apart, according to the Mercatus Center, because it requires the boards that oversee and create licensing requirements to be controlled by people who are already licensed in the profession. This may provide an incentive for licensing boards to restrict access to an occupation, harming competition.
Michigan requires a state license for about 180 different occupations, and its licensing agency receives $540 million annually to regulate these occupations. This revenue comes from state tax revenue as well as from fees paid by license holders.