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Research group criticizes state's professional licensure costs

Jen French
December 04, 2017 10:16 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- In the Land of Enchantment, licensure barriers are the cost of doing business.

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A sign language interpreter must attend school for four years and pay $740 to the State of New Mexico to get a license. Preschool teachers pay $809. Careers in the beauty industry require 600 to 1600 hours of education. EMTs are only required to complete 180.

But a nonprofit research group has criticized those licensure barriers for many low-paying professions in New Mexico.

Noel Dalton is a makeup artist who has been working with customers for more than seven years. Though makeup artists aren’t required to be licensed in New Mexico, cosmetologists are.

Dalton said the ugly part of the cosmetic industry in New Mexico is paying thousands of dollars to practice. She is currently attending The Olympian Academy of Cosmetology to get her esthiology, or skin care, license.

"I do believe there's a place for all of those licenses, but I do believe people should properly be able to follow a passion that doesn't necessarily entail jumping through all of these hoops and getting into these confusing situations where they're paying thousands of dollars to learn a bunch of things that they'll never do," Dalton said.

According to The Institute for Justice, New Mexico requires licenses for 66 lower-income occupations including door repair contractors, hair shampooers and pesticide applicators. These licenses can range from $740 to $160, and that doesn’t include the cost of education. 

"I think it's very expensive," Dalton said.

It’s not clear if the cost of licenses will ever change in New Mexico, but Regulation and Licensing Department spokesperson Bernice Geiger sent KOB-TV the following statement:

We are focused on easing unnecessary and overly-burdensome regulations on various sectors of the New Mexico economy, allowing employers to operate with greater efficiency and effectiveness, while maintaining the necessary oversight by appropriate state agencies.  NM licensure requirements are determined by the various boards and commissions.  Those boards and commissions are comprised of other licensed professionals.

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Jen French

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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