You Need A License For That

Feb 26, 2018

In some states, you need a license not just to be a doctor — but an interior designer, an animal tooth-filer, a hair braider. We’ll talk to a few people who are trying to change the system to make it easier to do work.

This show airs Monday at 11 a.m. EST.


Henry Curr, U.S. economics editor at The Economist. (@henry_curr)

Shoshana Weissmann, policy analyst and digital media specialist at R Street, a conservative think tank. (@senatorshoshana)

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, Republican Iowa state representative. (@repbobbyk)

Nivea Earl, owner of hair care business Twistykinks who sued the state of Arkansas to braid hair without a cosmetology license.

From The Reading List:

Wall Street Journal: Why Do You Need A College Degree To Give Diet Advice? — “Heather Kokesch Del Castillo launched a dietary advice business in Monterey, Calif., in 2014. The business grew and Ms. Del Castillo eventually established a nationwide client base as a “health coach.” But when her husband, who is in the Air Force, was transferred to a base in Florida, her business hit a roadblock. A Florida Department of Health investigator showed up at the door of their new home with a cease-and-desist letter and a $750 fine.”

The Economist: Occupational Licensing Blunts Competition And Boosts Inequality — “Occupational licensing—the practice of regulating who can do what jobs—has been on the rise for decades. In 1950 one in 20 employed Americans required a licence to work. By 2017 that had risen to more than one in five.”

You expect your doctor or electrician to have a license. What about your florist, interior designer, or the person who braids your hair? In some states,

they need one to operate a business. But, they’re costly, can require hundreds of hours of training, and are not always transferable if you move to another state. Regulators say they’re ensuring quality and competency. Critics say its big government overreach. This hour, On Point: the licensing game. —Jane Clayson

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit