Indiana Attempts to Eliminate Cosmetology License - Pro vs. Con
Pro Arguments by Andre Nizetich, President of ABCH
Does the thought of cosmetology losing its professional status by the elimination of the license sends chills up and down your spine? Hold on folks, don't worry! There are a lot of ways to lose your professional status other than the elimination of a license.
Think about most of the other industrialized countries that do not have licenses and no harm has come to them as a result of not being licensed. As a matter of fact, the cosmetologists are held in higher esteem than are their counterparts in the US. As it stands now, beauty schools have to teach their students the criteria to pass the licensing examination. Their future funding is based on their ability to have their students pass their arbitrary examination, which has little to do with real life in the salon. Furthermore, beauty schools may put as many cosmetologists into the workforce as possible, without any requirement for schools to support job placement.
The Indiana Regulated Occupational Evaluation Committee (ROEC) had it right when they said the cosmetology profession should be self regulating. "We all have friends who have their hair done, so all we need do is ask someone for a recommendation". In fact, salons are reliant on repeat business. Without that dynamic, salons cannot stay in business. I would suggest there would be no harm coming to the salons if the license is eliminated. Those who are thriving would continue to thrive, those who are struggling would continue to struggle or go out of business. Consumers would draw their own conclusions as to what salons they would frequent.
ROEC states,"..a voluntary organization to be formed, based on a small fee from each professional. Membership in the voluntary organization could be based on prescribed qualifications that would provide a basis for designation as a preferred provider. Professionals who choose to practice without the preferred provider designation would do so at their own risk in the marketplace."
Salons would have something to say about how their future employees are to be trained while in school. Currently, schools do not listen to the needs of licensed cosmetologists and salon owners. If we suggest a change of curriculum, they respond that curricula is mandated by the state board. To those who say, "If there is no license then anyone can do hair", my response is "Anyone can do hair now and they are." In California, the Cosmetology Board licenses 35,000 annually, and no jobs are being created. It's naive to think these people are not doing someone's hair. According to the ROEC, "The cosmetology license does not prevent practitioners from incompetence. As a matter of fact, most of the complaints received by State Board come from people reporting unlicensed activity".
I have trained many apprentices through the years. Something happens to the apprentice at the end of their two year apprenticeship when they become licensed. They often cop an attitude like now I am as good him (me) since I have the same license as he does. Once a person earns their license, not all but many, feel they have nothing else to learn. I, myself, had the same attitude when graduating and becoming licensed. So before you rant about it, stop and think about what it would be like with just an apprenticeship program. The ONLY reason to go to beauty school is to become a professional cosmetologist. Sadly, that is no longer the case. ~ Andre Nizetich
Con Arguments by, Mary Petillo, ABCH Editor and Educator
My home state of Oregon has considered adding continuing education requirements forrenewal of cosmetology licenses. Quite a different perspective than that of the congressional representative from Indiana, who recently sponsored a bill to eliminate the State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering.
The bill originated as a recommendation in a report to the Regulated Occupations Evaluation Committee (ROEC), which states: "... risks including burns, abrasions, allergic reactions, hair loss, and infections. While the risks are real, the ROEC Board scored the degree of risk relatively low in comparison to risks that might be seen in other professions such as nurses or doctors.... If a consumer receives bad service, the consumer can choose a different cosmetologist or barber next time, without any significant risk of irreversible harm. "
Really? Oh, well...Salon X with unlicensed haircolorists just inflicted second degree burns from over-bleaching your scalp but hey...that probably is not irreversible harm. Just pain and suffering, not to mention medical expenses. The ROEC states: "The absence of a licensing program for the Cosmetology and Barber Board would not leave consumers without any recourse if harm were to occur. Complaints could still be filed in civil court. Additionally, consumer complaints can always be filed with the Office of Attorney General and reviewed under consumer protection statutes." So now you can add legal expenses, all from that "low risk service" you received from an unlicensed hairstylist.
Basically, this all comes down to state level financial budgeting. Benefit-Cost Determination is their primary concern in this issue. The ROEC states, "...licensing adds barriers to entry into a profession... (which) lead to higher prices for services to the consumer) ... This requires us to look at whether the benefits of establishing a barrier for service in a profession outweigh the costs... In this case, the most obvious benefit is to the barber or cosmetology professional that already meets the standards set by statute. Renewals require no continuing education or basic competency testing. Those seeking to enter the profession must complete the educational requirements and pass a test."
It gets worse when the ROEC report takes a low blow to our professionalism as an industry, and calls us selfish, lazy and careless. Read on, "...Although there is value to professionals in keeping others out of the market, there is no clear benefit to the consumer. Errors in service provision may be more related to motivation and care than to technical incompetence."
A licensed hairstylist is not licensed to do quality work. They are licensed to protect you from harm. A bad haircut is the LEAST of your worries in an unregulated industry. As Tabitha Coffey put it on her Facebook page, ""What they are actually saying in the bill is that there isn't that much risk to the services we provide, and we really don't need any governing body to make sure we get trained adequately before we do that job, and I'm here to tell you that is the most f***ing stupid thing that I have ever heard."
I agree. ~ Mary Petillo, ABCH
- The Professional Beauty Association, a national organization of salons, spas, distributors and manufacturers opposed to the legislation, says the bill will kill cosmetology schools, put local product distributors out of business, jeopardize the livelihood of Indiana's barbers/cosmetologists and threaten the health and safety of consumers.
- The legislation also would deregulate security guards, private investigators, dietitians and hearing-aid dealers.
- There are 2 license types that the report recommends to remain unchanged in Indiana: manicurist and esthetician. Go figure?!?