Being a Professional Is More Than Having a License

By Andre Nizetich, president of the American Board of Certified Haircolorists

This is in response to the Professional Beauty Association's (PBA) campaign "I am Licensed. I am a Professional". Just having a cosmetology license does not qualify you the luxury of calling yourself a professional. Being a professional means working in a salon, having a clientele, providing excellent beauty services and acting and dressing like a professional.

We all want respectability, we want our clients to view us as being a high level service provider, yet many of us do not want to do what it takes to be considered a true professional. We hear the word "creative" bantered about as an excuse for looking rag tag when we come to work. A former president of the now defunct National Cosmetology Association (NCA), told me if you want to be respected by your audience, dress better than your audience. Look at yourself in the mirror before you go to work and ask yourself if this is the image you want to project to your clients?

What happened to the NCA, our Association, now evaporated, gone? At one time it was a proud association, 73,000 strong, with affiliates all across the country, holding monthly meetings creating a feeling of togetherness. Belonging to something gives us a feeling of strength and purpose. It was part of being a professional.

You can say we still have the PBA, but the PBA is an association made up of cosmetologists, students, distributors, manufacturers and schools. We need an association of cosmetologists who are looking out for us, the cosmetologist. It doesn't work to have an association that caters to all aspects of the beauty industry. Salon owners are struggling and we need a cosmetologist who comes to us ready to work. Who wants to hire someone, train them, help them build a clientele, so they can go out and rent a booth..

Our industry is in a crisis, with salon owners unwilling to train new graduates and give them guidance. They have no choice but to rent a booth or work out of their home, in so doing, they reek havoc on unsuspecting clients. Yes, they have a license but they need that valuable experience you get from working in a reputable salon under guidance of an experienced cosmetologist. Lets work together to make that happen.