COLUMBUS—State Representatives Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) have introduced legislation to advocate for common-sense reform in the cosmetology industry.
House Bill 189 addresses Ohio’s burdensome cosmetology laws by helping cosmetology graduates enter the workforce earlier and with less debt, while fostering entrepreneurship and providing a more robust workforce for Ohio’s salons. Specifically, HB189 reduces the number of hours required by the state to obtain a license from 1500 to 1000 for both private and public cosmetology education. This reduction in hours also fixes an hour inequity in the current system.
“At times when the partisan divide seems deeper than ever, it is refreshing to note that there is a bipartisan effort underway to support job growth and entrepreneurialism here in our Buckeye state,” Roegner said.
Today, private cosmetology students take 1,500 hours of training while career technical students only take 1,125. Under this bill they take the same 1000 hours. New York and Massachusetts also require 1,000 hours for licensure and other states are moving towards that goal. In studying the issue, the representatives found that there is NO correlation between additional hours of education and earnings or the pass rates on exams. The only direct correlation with additional hours is increased debt for the private cosmetology student upon graduation.
Ohio’s salon industry is a significant economic driver. Approximately 3,500 salon establishments employ over 23,000 individuals and generate annual sales of approximately $1.6 billion. It also provides employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to individuals of diverse backgrounds. In Ohio, 47 percent of salons are owned by minorities and 77 percent are owned by women. The industry, however, is being held back from reaching its full potential by outdated laws and with overbearing requirements.
To become a licensed cosmetologist in Ohio, an individual must currently undertake 1,500 hours of training, a time-consuming and expensive undertaking, which poses a barrier to entry for many. The average cosmetologist student graduates with up to $25,000 in student debt. Reps. Roegner and Reece looked across the country to observe best practices and received extensive studies to determine if there was any correlation between hours of training and pass rates on exams or earnings. The results pointed them to a compelling need for reform.
House Bill 189 also increases license reciprocity between states, providing the ability for mobility and enhanced career opportunities for our cosmetologists. To this end, HB 189 directs testing to a standardized national exam, like the ACT or SAT for college bound students. Testing students on the same information provides consistency, ensures accountability and increases consumer confidence.
The bill also opens up a second path to achieve a cosmetology license, through apprenticeship. It is modeled after states with existing apprenticeship programs such as Alabama, Wisconsin, Tennessee and California. An individual must complete 200 hours of related instruction, at least 1,800 hours of on-the-job instruction and training with a person who holds a current license and has at least five years of experience. While the participant may be charged for the apprenticeship program, the cost is limited to $2,500 and the apprentice must be paid at least minimum wage for their hours of on the job training. This provision not only frees individuals from graduating under a mountain of school debt, but it also provides salons an opportunity to fill the pipeline with experienced and well trained workers.
“Ohio consumers of cosmetology services will be thrilled to know that provisions have been added to permit mobile salons and on-location services,” Roegner said. “Allowing the entrepreneurial spirit of cosmetology practitioners to match the varied needs of their clients, and others who utilize on-location cosmetology services like the film industry, is what will elevate Ohio as the standard across the nation. HB 189 is common sense legislation which, if enacted, would make these and many additional improvements for an industry that serves the majority of Ohioans. We celebrate this bipartisan effort to lift the shackles of over-licensure and unleash the full potential of the cosmetology industry.”