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U.S. Industry Licensing Update

For the past several years, ISBN, represented by Gordon Logan, has worked with our industry partners to study industry licensing and make recommendations. The Coalition recently issued its recommendations, which are designed to protect professional licenses and bring consistency to our industry across the entire country. Learn what they’re proposing for testing, license mobility and competency-based criteria for students.

The Beauty Industry Coalition has studied the state requirements for licensure and the curriculum followed in states with varying hours of instruction required for licensure. Two studies have been initiated, conducted by independent third-party research firms, to study public perceptions of cosmetology licensure and regulation, and key performance metrics of programs in states with varying number of hours required for licensure. The first study documented wide public support for licensure and reasonable regulation to ensure health and safety; the second has been conducted to determine the effect of different lengths of programs on key outcomes. The final report has not yet been issued, but the preliminary findings are significant, finding no justification for states requiring more than the minimum number of hours for licensure that has been proven to be effective in two highly populated states. New York and Massachusetts.

In addition, the studies concluded:

  • For NACCAS-accredited schools, there is no apparent relationship between the total number of curriculum hours and overall exam pass rates. The extra hours do not affect the students’ ability to pass the state licensing exams.
  • There is no evidence of a relationship between total curriculum hours and graduation rates.
  • Although there is variability in mean hourly wages across states, there is no evidence of a relationship between total curriculum hours and wages. Graduates of programs of 2,000 hours or more earn no more on average than graduates of 1,000-hour programs.
  • There is a negative and significant relationship between the total number of curriculum hours and employment rates: The higher the number of hours required for licensure, the fewer licensed cosmetologists per capita in that state, an indication that more stringent requirements and longer courses do pose a barrier to entry into the profession.
  • There is a positive and significant relationship between the total number of curriculum hours and median Title IV loan amounts. The longer the program, the more debt the students accumulate and must repay.
  • NACCAS requires accredited schools to meet certain minimum financial stability criteria. There is no evidence of a relationship between curriculum hours and these variables. This is important because some school owners may be concerned that reducing the number of hours would negatively impact their financial stability, which the data does not support.

Other considerations that are important to the industry and to ISBN members:

  1. The more time that lapses between graduation and licensing, the more likely graduates are to drop out of the industry or go underground. The BIC recommends that students be required to pass the exams prior to graduation, so that they can be licensed immediately upon completing the proscribed course of study. This also saves the states considerable time and money, and gets the graduates into the work force, earning wages and paying taxes much more quickly
  2. To facilitate license mobility, the BIC encourage states to adopt a standardized national exam. For example, the NIC cosmetology exams (written and/or practical) are used in a majority of states (29), many of which accept licenses from the other states that also use the NIC exam.
  3. The standard in the professional beauty industry is clock hours of instruction. “We believe that competency-based criteria should be developed, which will further reduce the time required for licensure if students can demonstrate competency,” says Gordon Logan, ISBN’s government relations chair. “This is a longer-term process, but should be considered in the future.”
  4. Distance learning for much of the curriculum should be authorized by the states.  The trend in education is toward more flexibility and less classroom instruction, and distance learning can be equally as effective if done properly.

Watch for more updates here and on ISBN’s Facebook page.

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