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Straight to the Facts

The Knee Center is a nonpartisan research center focused on 3 core research areas:

  • Certificate of Need
  • Occupational Licensing
  • Scope of Practice

Your Job, and How It's Regulated

Our mission is to provide information to citizens, policy makers, and other researchers about the extent, scope, and effects of occupational regulation.

Use our Find Occupations page to select your State, Industry, and Occupation. It's that easy to learn what regulations and certifications affect your career field.

Established in 2016, The Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation (CSOR) is an academic research center currently within the John Chambers College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. The Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation offers student fellows the opportunity to conduct, analyze, and present research that goes toward developing a national database of occupational regulation, focusing on healthcare and other occupations.

Is it time for occupational licensing reform? In the 1950s, about 5% of all occupations required some sort of licensing or certification. Today, almost 1/4 of U.S. jobs require a license!

Common sense tells us that jobs ranging from electricians and surgeons to architects and engineers should require some form of validation. The potential harm to be caused by an unqualified practitioner could be severe.

Unfortunately, in today’s environment licensing and other onerous regulations may apply to dance instructors and hair braiders, manicurists and interior designers. Being required to get a license to become a travel guide, for example, boggles the imagination.

Even in cases where most would agree certification is a good idea, the requirements of licensing are often both burdensome and aimed at protecting the market share of licensees, rather than addressing public health and safety concerns.

The uncontrolled growth of occupational regulations only harms consumers by increasing costs and workers by limiting employment options.

Legislative Testimonies

Written and verbal testimonies given by members of the Knee Center.