Occupational licensing is when the government requires people to complete educational and training programs, pass tests and pay fees in order to do a job legally. State officials, often in unelected administrative or bureaucratic roles, typically determine the requirements. Occupational licenses are meant to protect the public from people unfit to provide certain services. In Michigan, approximately 180 occupations are licensed by the state.
But research finds little evidence that occupational licensing laws improve the quality of services or public health and safety. Experts and economists across the political spectrum, including the labor departments of the Obama, Trump and Biden administrations, recognize the need for reform. This report explains the positive reforms lawmakers in Michigan have done, but also identifies more ways to improve these laws and help Michiganders get to work.