They Took Our License Away, Now What?... Nothing

by Andre Nizetich, American Board of Certified Haircolorists

No one covets their cosmetology license anymore than I do, after all it allows me to practice the profession I love and it allows me to make my car payments and feed my children (just a figure of speech, my children are grown and I have no car payments). What would happen if suddenly we no longer required a license to practice cosmetology?

Think about it. Don't get emotional; really think about it. If your cosmetology license became obsolete, if any one could practice cosmetology, what would happen?

We are the only industrialized country in the world that requires you go to beauty school, take a useless examination, then you are issued a license to go out and create havoc on a population of unsuspecting consumers. They call this a Consumer Protection Agency.

England has no unlicensed activity; they can't because they have no licenses. They are apprentices for three years and the salon owner makes the determination as to when they can have clients. Rather a novel approach — the salon gets to make a decision rather than the state.

Let's look at some of the very important reasons for having a license.

They say we work with chemicals that can do great bodily harm if applied by someone who has not been properly trained. There isn't a chemical we use that can't be purchased by anyone at the drug store or beauty supply store. So you can throw that concept out the window.

In the March issue of the California Stylist, Myra Irizarry who is the Director of Government Affairs for the Professional Beauty Association (PBA), stated, "Consumers trust the beauty professional providing their service is educated, trained, and licensed." The example she gave was of a client getting her eyebrows waxed and receiving third degree burns; what she didn't say is the cosmetologist performing the waxing service was a licensed cosmetologist working in a licensed establishment.

What about the lack of training for haircoloring? I have been called as an expert witness in several cases where clients have received severe burns on the scalp that required plastic surgery. They were all done by licensed cosmetologists in a licensed establishment.

I am President of the American Board of Certified Haircolorists and I will tell you the quality of haircolor services I see is deplorable. Of the people who come to take our examination to become "Board Certified Haircolorist", many are highly competent and pass the examination in a breeze while others are train wrecks. They do not have a clue of what they are doing. Do you know why? Because no one taught them.

Our board of directors and evaluators spent hours putting together a viable generic haircolor curriculum, one that gives the student what they need to succeed. Not a single school has embraced our curriculum and teaches it in their schools, consequently they will probably leave school not being able to color hair.

There are 35,000 cosmetology licenses issued each year. Beauty school students are led to believe that if you pay upward to $25,000 for tuition you will have a lucrative career waiting for you when you graduate from beauty school. Do not pay attention to all of the propaganda about our industry growing at a record pace.

That's rubbish. Just go to the bureau of labor statistics. All of the new hiring comes from cosmetologists being replaced. Get out of school, get a job in a budget salon, work your booty off at minimum wage for six months, get a part time job somewhere else so you can pay your student loan and finally quit both jobs and go to work at a restaurant waiting tables so you can pay off your student loan and eat something besides Cup of Noodles.

What can be more cruel than to send a high school graduate into a situation where they are lured into a school with no chance of getting a job when they graduate and piling debt on them.

Ask the Board of Cosmetology how many citations have been issued to people working out of their homes. If they are not in a licensed establishment they are out of the Board of Cosmetology's jurisdiction. Why am I paying a fee to the Cosmetology Board when they are getting paid to keep unlicensed activity at bay and they do nothing?

So why do we have licenses? If you ask me how I would be affected by deregulation, I think it would be a welcome change. Schools would then have to train students to be productive instead of how to get a license.