WHAT IS HB-542?

Ohio Legislators are back at it again. For the 5th time they have introduced a bill that will gut cosmetology and barber education, reducing the number of clock hours for cosmetology from 1,500 to 1,000 and barbering from 1,800 to 1,000.  They claim that this bill is designed to help women, minorities and small business owners. Of the 92,000 licensed professionals in Ohio, 68% are single-unit operations that are female owned. Thirty-Eight percent of barbers are African-Americans who own their own operations.

We are an industry of self-starters and entrepreneurs, but cutting the hours by more than a third removes critical preparation and education that ensures success. This floods the industry with under-experienced and less prepared graduates that will need guidance and continuing education in order to ensure their success. Producing graduates that are not fully prepared to enter the workforce does harm to graduates, salons/barbershops, and the industry as a whole.

HB-542 has been passed out of the Senate Oversight Committee and is heading back to the Ohio House of Representatives. Please sign the new petition to let lawmakers in the house know that you oppose House Bill 542. 

No on HB-542

Please oppose HB542, recently passed out of the Senate Government Oversight Committee. House Bill 542 attempts to slash the hours required to become a licensed barber, cosmetologist, and hair designer. This massive reduction in training for these professions will pose a risk to the public we serve, devalue our current licenses, and reduce the career opportunities and earning potential for new licensees looking to enter the field. As a member of the beauty and barber industry, we ask that you protect our profession from this legislation which is intended to flood the market with minimally trained licensees to benefit a few powerful interests that do not not represent the vast majority of voices in our profession.

Thank you for your consideration.

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THE BURDEN ON GRADUATES

Graduates who enter the industry underprepared are forced to seek out that invaluable education and experience on their own. If they work in a chair rental salon, that often means that they do not have a mentor or regimented continuing education plan necessary to get them up to speed. Graduates who go into employment based salons may have access to a mentor or even an education program, but that education is not created to the same standards as nationally accredited cosmetology and barbering schools.

Proponents of the bill also claim that reducing hours will lower student debt. In reality, a reduction in hours will actually lead to a reduction in access to Pell grants, saddling students with even more debt.

Currently a newly licensed cosmetologist in the State of Ohio can seek licensure in 30 states without the need of investing in any additional education. If HB-542 becomes law, that same newly licensed cosmetologist would be left with only five states to transfer to without further investment in education. That means Ohio graduates would be required to invest in additional education in order to work in every single one of our neighboring states.

 

THE BURDEN ON SALONS

With all graduates receiving a third less education, salons and barbershops would now expected to shoulder the burden of finishing the education of the graduates. As mentioned prior, many of these salons and barbershops are small businesses that cannot afford the investment of time and money that it will take to develop an underprepared graduate into a confident, productive service provider. This puts the very businesses and entrepreneurs they claim to be helping at a significant disadvantage to the larger chains who can afford to absorb those costs.

HOW IT HURTS THE INDUSTRY

The most important thing to most service guests is consistency. That’s why we’re all so dedicated to our stylists, barbers and spa professionals. Knowing that your service provider has a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that are taught by professional educators according to a state board approved curriculum, gives guests the peace of mind when seeking out a new provider. If we cut the hours from 1500 to 1000, that means that one third of the experience and education is provided “on-the-job” without a consistent curriculum and dedicated educators.

A reduction in hours will lead to an underskilled workforce in an attempt to funnel these workers into over-franchised businesses and put the public at risk. For example, Florida (1250 hours) experiences nearly 5,000 public safety complaints per year while Ohio (1500 hours) experiences 90% less complaints.

A Cosmetology license embodies 3 licenses that can be obtained separately: hair designer (1200 hours) esthetics (600) and nail technology (200). Reducing the cosmetology license to 1000 hours would not allow all 3 disciplines to be adequately taught and would result in serious injury to the public.

 

LESS EDUCATION IS NOT THE ANSWER

The proponents of this bill claim that the current licensure requirements are overburdensome and that lowering hour requirements will lead to less debt. No one will argue that less debt is a bad thing, however HB-542 doesn’t make cosmetology education any cheaper, it simply removes a third of the education. Buying a car for 33% off seems like a great deal until you realize that the car you bought is missing a third of its parts.

Support the beauty industry and beauty professionals by making sure that education and licensure standards are not lowered in order for a few large companies to make a few more bucks. Protect my profession.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF HB-542?

IMPACT ON STUDENTS

  • Takes 1/3 or more of a student’s education out of the hands of passionate professional educators and puts that burden on salons.
  • Reduced hours will not give students enough time in classroom or in clinic to learn both the safety/sanitation and the technical skills necessary to be employment ready upon graduation.
  • Fewer cosmetology and barber hours could mean that the skincare and esthetics portions of their education would not get an adequate amount of time during the truncated program.
  • Fewer salons and barbershops can afford to shoulder the financial burden of an educational program, meaning there will be fewer employment opportunities for graduates.

DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT ON WOMEN

  • Nearly 95% of beauty professionals and 85% of licensed cosmetologists are women, while women represent only 47% of the workers in all US industries.
  • Women own 61% of independent salons, whereas women own only 30% of businesses in all private sectors.
  • 38% of barbers are African-American men who own their own operations.
  • Proponents of HB-542 argue that the “common sense reforms are necessary to position the Ohio cosmetology industry for survival,” but the truth is that passage of the bill will result in the closure of numerous female and minority owned businesses.

IMPACT ON LICENSE PORTABILITY

  • Newly licensed cosmetologists in Ohio can currently seek licensure in 30 states without the need of investing in any additional education.
  • HB-542 would reduce that same cosmetologist’s opportunities to only five states, none of which border Ohio

IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESS

  • “Mom and Pop” salons and barbershops cannot afford to hire a graduate then pay someone to finish their education without the deep pockets of larger chain salons.
  • Salon and barbershop owners and operators will be forced to divert their energy and resoruces from running the business and servicing clients to educating new employees.
  • Nearly 2/3 of salons and spas are small, independently-owned entrepreneurial businesses that employ less than 5 people and operate on an incredibly moderate profit margin of less than 10%.
  • HB-542 would force these small, independent businesses to absorb an additional cost of $5,000 to $8,000 per new hire to replace training that is currently provided to each newly licensed beauty professional in Ohio.
  • Small businesses are forced to either spend money to finish a graduate’s education or to spend more money hiring more senior stylists who are already experienced.
  • The proponents of the bill are owners, franchisees or officers of large, chain salon operations that stand to benefit from the demise of the small, independently-owned salon and spa who cannot bear the increased financial burden.

IMPACT ON CONSUMERS

  • Students will have less experience with the technical skills needed, possibly leading to unsatisfactory results.
  • Client safety could be at risk by having graduates with only a minimal amount of education on safety and sanitation.
  • Graduates lack of adequate experience will result in slower service and longer appointments for customers.
  • Added expense of education could result in a price increase for services.

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