For some New Yeomen, especially tradesmen, licensing is part of the job. The Wall Street Journal writes that licensing requirements have increased exponentially over the last few decades. I’m not exactly anti-licensing. I’d like the eye surgeon I use to have a license from the state medical board. However, this example seems extreme to me.

It takes 372 days on average to become a licensed cosmetologist, but only 33 days to become an emergency medical technician, known as an EMT. In several states, a hair-braiding license requires 1,500 hours of training and multiple exams. For those with limited means, that may prove impossible.

I’m sure becoming a cosmetologist is hard. I couldn’t do it. But is cosmetology that much more difficult than being an EMT? Are EMTs trained too little? Is it bureaucratic waiting periods from the state or the trade bodies?

I fear that business licenses from states and some trade licenses from some trade bodies have become a way to keep people from considering self-employment.  Are all of these licenses really required for consumer protection? Especially, in today’s online review world? What are the chances that a rogue hairdresser could succeed for long, if all his customers were slating him online? Just as importantly, is innovation being stifled by all of these trades being taught and regulated in the same manner?  Uber and the highly regulated taxi industry come to mind.

Finally, I am certainly in agreement with this statement,

Reducing burdensome requirements on job seekers is part of reforming the criminal justice system. If nonviolent ex-offenders who paid their debt to society aren’t able to obtain a license for certain types of employment, how can we expect them to rejoin society, partake in American life, create value in their communities and improve their lives? By removing these needless barriers to opportunity, we can offer a hand up to the people who need it most.

However, if you are considering self-employment in any of these fields, please don’t give up. If so many others have made the trek, so can you.