Occupational Licensing

Occupational licensing, also called occupational licensure, is a form of government regulation requiring a license to pursue a particular profession or vocation for compensation. Most developed countries require occupational licenses for professions, such as physicians and lawyers. Licensing creates a regulatory barrier to entry into licensed occupations, and this results in higher income for those with licenses and usually higher costs for consumers. Licensing advocates argue that it protects the public interest by keeping incompetent and unscrupulous individuals from working with the public. However there is little evidence that it has an impact on the overall quality of services provided to customers by members of the regulated occupation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_licensing

Apr'2012: Michael Ellsberg on attempts to increasing Occupational Licensing requirements for nutrionists. An internal American Dietetic Association document, entitled “Regulatory and Competitive Environment of Dietetic Services,” appears to imply a strategy for gaining legal control over the term “nutritionist,” as a path to limit competition for its members, against competing types of nutrition counseling.

  • Jul'2012 update: Forbes was granted exclusive first-look at a new series of internal documents, freshly leaked by outraged members within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the professional association behind the NC State Board. (That association is also known widely among the public by its old name, the American Dietetic Association–I use the two names equivalently in this article.)
  • Jul'2014: looks like the ASN (American Society for Nutrition) can't be trusted, either, for different reasons, related to Processed Food.

Jan'2015: Nearly 30 Percent of Workers in the U.S. Need a License to Perform Their Job

Mar'2015: This smacks of "Restraint Of Trade," a fundamental no-no in Anti-Trust law. Until a few weeks ago, such state regulatory boards thought they had an exemption from the law. The U.S. Supreme Court has now set them straight, ruling 6-3 on Feb. 25 that if a "controlling number" of a board's members are active participants in the business it regulates, they could be sued as antitrust violators. The case involved North Carolina's board of dental examiners, but its nationwide impact could be immense... Hanging in the balance is the state's ability to regulate not only barbers and pet groomers, but also doctors and surgeons, nurses, chiropractors, optometrists, accountants, architects, lawyers, pest exterminators and security alarm installers... In Sacramento, legislators may consider simply "removing active participants from the boards," Hill says — reconstituting the boards as advisory panels for boards comprising only members of the public and empowered to set regulations and enforce them. The Legislature has been trying to strengthen the public voice on regulatory boards anyway, by giving majorities to their public members. The Supreme Court ruling may hasten the process, while answering the old question of who watches the watchmen. In the wake of the court's decision, the job belongs to the public.


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