New Bill in the Ohio House Could Change Requirements for Cosmetology License


Fewer jobs or less qualified workers is the heated debate behind House Bill 399, which seeks to cut the number of hours required for a license as a cosmetologist or barber.

Backed by Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum), the bill is supposedly set to help students in the profession pay off bills faster by becoming licensed faster. This would put more of them in the field with less debt.

Representative Powell cites three reasons for the bill: less debt for beauty students, a continuous workforce development for salons, and reduced “unnecessary” regulations within the industry.

“I am on a mission to make Ohio the most business-friendly state in the nation. One of the biggest steps we can take in that direction is to stop overregulating individuals in our state.”

Sue Carter Moore, president of the Ohio Association of Cosmetology Schools, argues that students want the greater requirement because it lends more credibility to their license. In the states bordering Ohio, the requirements are similar to current laws. If changed, Ohio’s cosmetologists and barbers will have less experience than in her border states. This could significantly affect their ability to find work outside the state without more time and money spent.

Across the board, Republicans are trying to reduce licensing and certification requirements. They are looking for reciprocity with other states in order to increase Ohio’s attractiveness as a location for people who are moving or changing careers.

Modeled after laws passed in Arizona and Pennsylvania, proposed legislation would make it easier for employers in to find licensed professionals from out of state. If the individual has held a license for a certain amount of time in Ohio, the credibility will overlap into other states.

The requirements are changing from:

 – Cosmetology License: 1,500 hours to 1,000 hours
– Barber License: 1,800 hours to 1,000 hours
– Hair Stylist License: 1,200 hours to 800 hours

It also would allow for distance learning and increased flexibility for students by permitting work outside a salon.

However, those professionals might not be fully qualified if bill 399 is passed. According to a petition at the website, the new requirements (or lack thereof) could jeopardize the skills of those coming out of school. It claims that removing that many training hours is damaging to cosmetologists in Ohio because while the cost remains the same, half of the education is missing. The bill would create an apprenticeship program with significantly fewer standards for curriculum, educators, and accountability than the current system.

The measure is backed by Americans for Prosperity-Ohio, NFIB Ohio, and the Buckeye Institute. It remains to be seen what kind of impact the legislation will have on students of cosmetology or future barbers.

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Allegra Thatcher is a reporter at The Ohio Star.










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9 Thoughts to “New Bill in the Ohio House Could Change Requirements for Cosmetology License”

  1. Deborah Guebert

    I am sorry to see such one-sided and protectionist sentiment expressed here – and apparently also in the hearing room. Requiring even 1000 hours of “education” for someone to be allowed to work in a beauty salon disadvantages every would-be hair stylist from opening up shop and supporting themselves and probably their children as well. The immense organized opposition can only be from those who have managed to pull themselves up the steep protectionist barrier, and from their perch on high behind the parapet, wish to force others to scale the same wall Sad. I wonder what scare tactics the organizers used to assemble the group they herded into the hearing room.

  2. […] both from many involved in the industry as well as those who advocate for them. The room “was packed with standing room only” at the first hearing over the bill, with “at least 70 women and minorities” […]

  3. […] both from many involved in the industry as well as those who advocate for them. The room “was packed with standing room only” at the first hearing over the bill, with “at least 70 women and minorities” […]

  4. Billy Madansky

    This is such a bad idea! Less education for students, and no plan in place to compensate for the lost hours. Students would also suffer without reciprocity in bordering states given their higher hours. Less education is NEVER a good idea!

  5. Though quoted in the article, this reporter and I did not speak. While correct as far as written, I would have expanded to say the following: With the exception of West Virginia, at 1800 hours, Ohio’s license will transfer easily to each state contiguous to Ohio. With the optional 300 hour advanced license, which HB 399 eliminates, Ohio’s education is equal to every state, with the exception of Iowa, at 2100 hours.

    HB 399 gives the ability for schools to offer additional education, but not leading to licensure. Good? No. Ridiculous. States will not accept hours that are beyond the minimum education required by a state, necessitating a return to school, or several years’ working experience in order to transfer a license. Why eliminate optional education, which also includes esthetics and nail technology advanced licenses?

    This is the 3rd Ohio General Assembly to attempt beauty/barber education reduction. Is this really how legislators need to be spending their time? Join our voices for reason by signing our 2 petitions at

  6. The notion of lowering education in a industry that has infinite income earning potential far beyond the chair reflects the sentiment that blondes are dumb.

    The cost of education and the number of hours are not the problem with the education. The problem is irrelevant education. Ohio needs to MODIFY the education in Cosmetology and Barbering to make it more pertinent to todays hair care, hair styling, marketing, technology, cultural, political, international and advanced training needs. Who wants to borrow money for inferior education?

    All politicians have college or higher education. All politicians have another job or skill they use BEYOND their political job/duties. Hell, HB 399 writer has two careers with her degree. Why not raise the bar so future industry pros can do the same?

    Raise the bar to give cosmetology and barbering education value…you know like politics, the automotive industry, technology, fashion and so on.

    The myriad of hair textures, hair styles, personalities, languages, cultures, science, artistry, chemistry biology, and technology hair stylists and barbers have to address actually requires more education compared to the option to be employed at chain hair salons or Barbershop that manufactures hair cuts, charges the customer $200.00 for a color job and pay the stylist a measly $20 bucks per hour. That ain’t no money if she has a family. Compared to the $300 she could make on her own and work beyond the chair.

    Jenna Powell (R) obviously only sees the Ohio salon industry like an outlet mall or dollar store – designer stuff at CHEAP prices. That’s sad because those hairstylists and barbers could be and do so much more. Instead of writing a bill to keep cosmetologists and barber dumb and getting paid just above poverty to only cut hair is shame.

    It’s obvious from the brassy cast on her (Jenna Powell) hair that her cosmetologist only trims her ends with a pair of cheap shears. You can tell by the way her ends flip. Her hair is too heavy. It could flow so much more with a precision cut done by a educated and trained cosmetologist with a great comb and a excellent pair of shears. Her stylist has not provided her a chelating treatment to remove the mineral deposits from her brassy hair so it can be fuller, not as oily with way more volume and shine.

    Her HB399 proposition is tacky like her hair, it’s color and the wealthy sponsors who all own multi – million dollar businesses off the labor of undereducated, miseducated minorities and women.

  7. Waverly Willis

    Wow wow wow wow! Its amazing that you have so much to say in favor of this false and misleading bill. Its obvious that you are being compensated in some way ,shape , form or fashion . You have not done your job as a journalist on this issue & we both know that was on PURPOSE.
    You should have spoke to the Ohio Barber and Beauty Alliance. (OBBA) YOU KNOW THAT MOB OF OVER 100 PEOPLE THAT WAS THERE IN THE ROOM ALSO. You could not have missed us so its obvious you did not want to hear the other side of this. You did not want to hear the truth. Shame on you for compromising your journalistic integrity.

  8. Laura

    The hearing room was packed with standing room only ALL OPPOSITION to the bills proposal. Seems this article is one sided Journalism.
    Quit dumbing down Ohio. The Barber and Beauty Industry are filled with tax paying pillars in the community. This bill is a slap in the face to all beauty and barber professionals. Shame on Jen Powell and her information is incorrect. Some one should fact check before they publish a paid opinion.

  9. Wezlynn Davis

    Please note that at least 70 women and minorities were there for the sponsor hearing in opposition to this bill that only eliminates up to pell grant money to the most disadvantaged student and also land locks all future licensees to Ohio. To let the 9 states with less hours in to Ohio even easier is nothing more than an administrative rule change from the Board. This bill is taking up time when serious matters need legislators focus. This is a big business special interest group bill.