State lawmakers are once again considering changing regulations on cosmetologists, after eliminating a manager’s license last year. Now, there’s a bill that would reduce the amount of training needed to get a cosmetology license while focusing on developing apprenticeships instead.
A state Senate Committee is considering a bill that’s meant to cut the number of classes needed for those who want to obtain a cosmetology license. Democratic Senator Charleta Tavares says the idea is to cut debt for students who attend cosmetology schools.
“The average salary of a beginning cosmetologist, a hair stylist, is somewhere between $19,000 and $25,000 dollars," Tavares says. "And the debt is several thousand dollars of debt that they are carrying, that they are going to have to pay back at the same time they are trying to work and take care of their families."
Under this bill, students could take apprenticeships to get on the job training, thereby reducing costs.
James Rogers, chairman emeritus with the Salon Schools Group, which teaches cosmetologists, is not a fan of the new legislation.
“I can’t think of anything where cutting education is a good idea," Rogers says. "Would we want doctors who are attending now two-and-a half to three years?”
Rogers says while large salons might be able to provide quality on the job training, most won’t.
“That person goes back to the back," he says. "They clean the brushes. They sweep the floors. They learn nothing.”
The owner of a small salon business in Delaware says this bill could change reciprocity agreements so Ohio cosmetologists might not be able to practice in most other states. And Wezlynn Davis, with the Beauty Lab, says similar experiences in other states prove this bill won’t save students tuition dollars.
“We see that the per hour cost for the program is up to $10 more per hour,” she said.
But Tavares isn’t buying that.
“Well, the standards are looking at the hours throughout the country and they are moving in the direction that we are pushing for in these reforms,” Tavares explained.
Greg Lawson, of the conservative Buckeye Institute, has long pushed for bills like this that reduce regulations on certain jobs. He thinks schools won’t raise tuition to compensate.
“Could somebody raise the prices?" Lawson asks. "Sure, but I think you are going to see a lot of people not doing that so they can get a lot of people in the door and they can increase their volume of students.”
Cosmetology is just one field where many lawmakers want what they call “occupational licensing reform.” Look for legislation in the future to reform license requirements for people in other fields, including auctioneers and school bus drivers.