On Tuesday, the Ohio Chamber testified in support of Senate Bill 129, a bill that addresses several areas of cosmetology licensure law. Though the bill is comprehensive, the Ohio Chamber’s testimony was focused on two specific provisions, first and foremost, the reduction in required hours of initial instruction to receive a cosmetology license. Currently in Ohio, students are required to have 1,500 hours of initial instruction before they can sit for the licensure examination. SB 129 would reduce that number to 1,000 hours. This amount of hours has been the standard in states such as Massachusetts and New York (arguably the leader in U.S. fashion) for several decades. The key arguments for a reduction in education is that it will allow students to seek employment more quickly, reduce student loan debt and address the workforce shortages that exist in the field.
The second provision of SB 129 in which the Ohio Chamber has a specific interest and testified in support of is the addition of a cosmetology apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship programs are a great way to provide students with actual work experience instead of merely requiring them to sit in a class room with their noses buried in a textbook. The intent of this provision is not to replace in-class learning entirely, rather it is an option for salon owners should they continue to experience a decrease in cosmetology school graduates. The apprenticeship program contained within SB 129 would require an apprentice to work at least 32 hours per week under a trainer with a valid license and at least five years of industry experience.
SB 129 is a common sense reform with a focus on reduction of excessive classroom hours. Salon owners are entrepreneurs that have already faced many regulations and a great deal of red tape in their effort to succeed. Now it is time for the legislature to show these business owners that they want to remove industry barriers and allow their businesses to grow.