It is always difficult finding a job! The application process can be burdensome. First, you have to put together a cover letter and resume, and then the wait begins! You hope your application stands out among the rest. If you are lucky enough to be selected for an interview, you will need to put a lot of time in for preparation. Some jobs may even require additional writing samples or other skills tests.

But… if you are hoping to pursue your passion, the job process can be even more difficult. Starting and launching your own business can be a challenge. You must first set up shop, then provide a quality product to customers – all while keeping up on the changing demands of the marketplace to stay in business.

Depending on your profession, you may also encounter additional hurdles that need to be overcome in order to open your business and advance your own version of the American Dream.

Some of these hurdles come in the shape and form of regulations and occupational licensing laws.

Regulations and licensing laws have been put in place in an attempt to protect consumers and as well as provide industry oversight. Unfortunately, sometimes these laws create too many restrictions and can make opening certain businesses cost and time prohibitive.

What Is an Occupational License?

An occupational license is a form of government permission to work in a particular field.

To get a license, workers need to meet certain training criteria and pay a number of fees.

In the 1950s, only one in 20 American workers needed an occupational license to pursue their chosen occupation. Today, that number has increased to nearly one in three.

An example of a profession with lots of occupational license requirements is the cosmetology industry.

What Do Cosmetologists Need to Know About Licensing? 

To start work as a cosmetologist, several states have licensing laws that require prospective workers to accomplish minimum training and exam requirements, meet age and grade requirements and pay fees to the state.

Licensing requirements for the same profession are different for each state.

For example, in New York and Massachusetts, aspiring cosmetologists are required to complete 1,000 hours of training. In Wisconsin, that same cosmetologist needs to complete 1,550 hours of training. And in Oregon, a cosmetologist needs 2,300 training hours before he or she can go to work.

The national average cost for cosmetology school (for training and state exams) is around $10,000.

Cosmetologists need to renew their licenses every few years, depending on the state in which they work. Renewal fees are typically a little over $100.

If you dream of a career in cosmetology, be sure to check with your State Board of Cosmetology to learn about what you need to do to achieve your goals.

This is the first part of a series Bridge to Wellbeing is publishing about occupational licensing. Sign up for more updates!