New Bills Would Make Changes to Cosmetology Licenses

Nov 18, 2015

There’s bipartisan support for two companion bills in the legislature that would get rid of management training for cosmetologists. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports the plan has lawmakers, salon owners and cosmetologists splitting hairs over what should be required of future hair stylists in the Buckeye State.

There’s bipartisan support for two companion bills in the legislature that would get rid of management training for cosmetologists. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports the plan has lawmakers, salon owners and cosmetologists splitting hairs over what should be required of future hair stylists in the Buckeye State.

Charles Penzone, a member of the Ohio Cosmetology Board, owns several salons in Central Ohio
Credit Jo Ingles

Currently, students in cosmetology school pay extra to get training to be managers of salons. But that will change if some Ohio lawmakers and hair salon owners get their way. Charles Penzone, the owner of a huge Central Ohio salon chain that employees nearly 500 people, says Ohio cosmetology schools are making thousands of extra dollars from students for something he sees as useless.

“I just don’t see the value of it. It adds more debt to the students who are there.”

Penzone says Ohio law currently requires someone with a cosmetology manager’s license to be on the premise at all times. He explains his salon managers, who have bachelor’s degrees, are not allowed to speak with cosmetology board inspectors simply because they don’t have the special cosmetology managers license. So he says getting rid of the requirement that salons have one of the cosmetology managers onsite at all times….and getting rid of the program in Ohio’s cosmetology schools….makes good sense.  Penzone says the requirement for a cosmetology manager came about many decades ago to deal with situations that no longer exist.

“I think it goes back to when they were doing leeching and blood-letting in certain barber shops and beauty salons. It’s a pretty antiquated rule and law and it’s time to get rid of it, I think.”

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree with Penzone on that point. Republican Representative Kristina Roegner says this doesn’t make good business sense.

“Government can either have common sense regulations in place or it can have a ball and chain around some of these small businesses and this is a perfect example of the latter.”

Democratic State Representative Alicia Reece says this bill allows the state to update regulations and protects the consumer.

“At the same time not handcuffing the industry and allowing it to grow and be competitive with the times that we have here today.”

Sue Carter Moore, Salon Schools group
Credit Jo Ingles

But Sue Carter Moore, President Emeritus of Salon Schools group, says there’s another side to this story. For starters, she says there are more than 120,000 cosmetologists who, upon passage of this bill, would find their certificate will mean nothing. Plus she says the manager’s course is not required for stylists to get a cosmetology license. 

“The managers course is an optional course. Why do salon owners care? Why do chain salon owners care?”

Moore says salons like Penzone’s provide a lot of training for new employees.  But she says smaller salons are not able to do that and that’s why she says cosmetology schools must.

“You know we are not teaching just for the benefit of chain salon owners and what they need. We are teaching for the benefit of the independents, the people who want to go out and open their own business eventually, not be tied to a big chain that’s got them tied up with non-compete contracts.”

Moore says there are new ventures that allow a stylist to just lease the space while owning their own business. She says the manager’s course teaches information about leases and insurance...things managers will need to know. Further she says other changes in these bills would require cosmetology students to get more apprenticeship training.  And once again, she says that is harder for small salons to provide.

"This is not good because you are having an under-educated employee, be it whatever discipline. You are also putting perhaps a burden of teaching that employee something they could have learned in a school situation. Now why is it that salon owner’s necessity to teach? They don’t have the capability.”

Moore says if rules for cosmetology need to be updated, it’s good to do it. But she wants small salon owners and the schools that teach students to be at the table to help make those changes.