CH:1 Occupational Licencing

It Needs a New Model!

Licensing as a regulation may be best suited to industries and trades where there is a need to protect the physical and emotional interests of an individual or sentient being and where practitioners can impact the safety and health of the consumer and their best interests. No sound minded individual would entertain medical advice or surgery from an unlicensed doctor. The licensing discussed here speaks to a level of competency and guarantees a minimum level of education and skills supported by ethical guidelines.

In industries such as the pet industry, where quality impacts public safety and protects against dangerous practitioners, there may be room for a model that provides the necessary competency and operational guidelines as well as a level of oversight and ethical supervision for trainers and behavior consultants while protecting the needs of pets and their owners and providing for transparency and consumer protection.

A report prepared by the Department of the Treasury Office of Economic Policy, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Department of Labor (2015) suggests that occupational licensing encourages individuals to professionalize and creates career pathways incorporating education and skill training requirements. However, a review of the literature and research in the same report shows, in fact, that the opposite may occur, and that occupational licensing may:
• Increase barriers for entry into an industry.
• Increase small business overheads through licensing fees.
• Reduce employment opportunities.
• Increase service pricing for consumers, varying from 3-16%.
• Not significantly improve the level of service quality.
• Create a 10-15% disparity in earnings between licensed and unlicensed workers with similar education, experience, and training.
• Accelerate a decline in innovation and research.
• Restrict worker mobility across states.
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