Reforming Occupational Licensing in Alabama

by Dr. Daniel J. Smith

Study Highlights

  • Occupational licensing prevents people from working and earning a living, and disproportionately harms low-income and minority Alabamians.
  • Under the guise of protecting the public, professional groups use occupational licensing requirements as a means to block competition to keep prices high.
  • Studies have found that many occupational licensing requirements fail to increase quality for consumers or improve safety.
  • Alabama policymakers should examine licensing’s  significant costs, which include hindering economic growth, reducing labor mobility for professionals, higher prices for goods and services, and decreased access to goods and services for low-income consumers.
  • Policy-makers can better protect consumers, support economic growth and increase individual freedom in Alabama by scaling back licensing requirements for certain professions that pose little risk to consumers and transitioning from occupation licensing to occupational certification.


"Let Alabamians Get to Work: Occupational Licensing Restricts Job Choice and Mobility", The Birmingham News. Monday, April 21st, 2014. 

News Articles

"Albritton, D'Olive debate taxes, economy in GOP runoff for Senate District 22," July 9th, 2014. 

"The Smiths Are Correct: Licensing Isn't Necessary to Ensure Quality", Monday, April 28th, 2014. 

"Barriers, Barriers, Everywhere," Friday, April 25th, 2014. 

"'Permission Slip' for Workers: Take Our Quiz About Which Professions Require Alabama License", Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014. 

"Alabama Licensing Occupations Safeguards Public, Defenders Say in Response to Troy Study", The Birmingham News. Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014. 

"From Shampooers to Locksmiths, Growing Number of Alabama Professions Require 'Permission Slip'", The Birmingham News. Monday April 21st, 2014. 


Capitol Journal, Alabama Public Television, Montgomery, AL (4/29/13)

Alabama Public Radio, Tuscaloosa, AL (4/28/2014)

Morning Show (WCKF-FM), Ashland, AL (4/28/2014)

NBC in Montgomery (WSFA-TV), Montgomery, AL (4/23/2014)

Straight Talk (WGOL-AM), Russellville, Al (4/21/2014)

EconVersations, Episode 44


Reforming Occupational Licensing in Alabama by Dr. Daniel J. Smith

Last Updated: 4/16/2015