The Impact of Occupational Licensing Requirements in D.C.
The District of Columbia has many factors in its favor making it attractive to workers: high average wages, a variety of employer benefits, strong worker protections, and relatively short commute times. At the same time, the concentration of D.C.’s employment opportunities in high-skill, high-paying jobs means that there are few opportunities for workers without professional degrees. In contrast, the rest of the Washington metropolitan area has a higher concentration of middle- and low-wage jobs, including sales occupations, and occupations in education, transportation, and construction.
D.C. also has created additional barriers for workers who wish to break into middle-wage jobs through aggressive professional licensing: Nearly 12 percent of D.C.’s private sector employment is in occupations regulated by a professional licensing board. This piece gives an overview of the impact role of occupational licensing in D.C., including how many workers are affected and at what general wage and salary levels.