Cosmetologists, salon owners, and beauty schools in Ohio have their eyes on new bills in the state’s House and Senate that may change the way the industry has worked, but all sides have objections and differences of opinion. These are some of the pros and cons of proposed changes to Ohio cosmetology license requirements, and how they may affect the industry’s future.
Currently, cosmetologists in Ohio have to pursue extra training to gain a “manager’s license” that allows them to work individually, with coursework related to business skills and local and state regulations for business owners. Salons in Ohio are currently required to have an employee with this license on staff, and new graduates who hope to open their own operations must have these credentials.
Pros of the License Changes
For those who support the bills, including owners of salons, the current license seems unnecessary, and therefore, the time and resources spent on training are seen as detrimental to cosmetologists, particularly those starting out in their careers. Ohio students already complete between 1,125 and 1,500 hours in education at school, and the manager’s license requires an additional 300 hours – with related financial costs as well. Instead of the educational license requirement, the bills would require six-month apprenticeships of on-the-job training before cosmetologists can work independently.
Furthermore, Ohio is currently the only state with such a requirement, and supporters of the bills believe that they will help significantly reduce student debt and make sure the best cosmetologist students don’t look towards less restrictive areas.
Cons of the License Changes
Of those who oppose the bills, beauty schools have called attention to the fact that this extra training focuses on safety and procedures that benefit clients. Furthermore, it gives potential business owners direct education on the obstacles that they may face in opening a salon in Ohio. Opponents fear that support for the bills may be tied to salon owners who want to pay employees less money for their six-month apprenticeship and that the license training may be more cost effective for students who can immediately start their business after completion of 300 hours. Plus, since it is an optional training, opponents of the bill feel as though there are already opportunities for cosmetologists who aren’t interested in the additional credentials.
Another fear of those who oppose the bill is that it includes others changes to the industry that may have far greater negative consequences. For instance, the law would now allow anyone over the age of 16 to provide hair braiding, threading for hair removal, and applying eyelash extensions without any training in these areas. Beauty schools and licensed cosmetologists feel that these changes would hurt the industry more than the current requirement for management licensing.
An Uncertain Future
As the debate continues to play out in the state legislature, the future of Ohio’s cosmetology industry remains unclear. To date, there are over 20,000 licensed cosmetologists in the state, and nearly 50,000 cosmetologists that hold a manager’s license. As these changes continue to be debated, many of these cosmetologists wonder what – if any – meaning their license will hold in the future.
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