Public Comments for 03/03/2022 General Laws - Professions/Occupations and Administrative Process
SB544 - Cosmetologists; training requirement.
Last Name: Lord Organization: Rudy and Kelly Academy Locality: Virginia Beach

Good Afternoon, I am a Licensed Cosmetologist of over 15 years experience in the Beauty Industry and my vote is to oppose bill 544 that aims to reduce the required Cosmetology hours for students. I completed the required 1500 hours in 2006, and I can confidently say that every minute of that 1500 hours at Rudy and Kelly Academy a Paul Mitchell Partner School, was crucial to my success in my career. I can speak from experience in working for Ratner companies many years prior- and as a current Marketing and Business Professional for Rudy and Kelly Academy now, as well as someone with several years in Leadership- the issue that Ratner companies is having is not that the schools are keeping the students for too many hours. That is not why they are having staffing issues. My professional opinion from my years of experience and having worked there, is their company culture. In working for Rater companies, I felt very much like a number and not a part of a salon family. I did not feel that the company had many growth opportunities for their stylists and there was no continuing education to speak of. They did not focus on great Leadership standards. The general consensus among the staff at Haircuttery, was that we were there to better at our skills, build stamina, build a client base and move on to a better place. One that would invest in us. This is where the issue lies, not in needing to reduce Cosmetology School hours. Times have changed, people want companies (salons) to be invested in them, they want better work culture, to be treated fairly. And simply because Ratner companies has refused to pivot and truly invest in better retention tactics, does not mean that our students or any other Cosmetology Student's crucial time in school should be cut short. I encourage you to understand that passing this bill will absolutely have a very real and very negative impact on current, and future Cosmetology students and their financial situations ( ability to pay for school), education not to mention their confidence getting behind the chair. I vote NO on Bill 544, I vote to KEEP Cosmetology school hours at 1500 required hours. Thank you for your time, Amber Lord

Last Name: Worrall Locality: Virginia Beach

As an Administrator in the Cosmetology Industry, I am asking that you oppose SB 544. The bill has an unfavorable impact on Cosmetology students. Reducing the cosmetology hours from 1500 to 1000 reduces the amount of Pell grant for students which is needed for them to pursue their careers . For Veteran graduate students being able to move and transfer their 1500 hours of education to another state is a necessity. 1500 hours is the standard across the nation. Vote NO SB 544

Last Name: Fuentes Locality: Virginia beach

I ask you to vote against SB544. I started in the salon industry at the age of 16. I worked in a salon as an assistant for 5 years before enrolling in cosmetology school. Still with years of working side by side with seasoned stylists and completing my 1500 hours in school I felt unprepared and anxious about being out on my own as a stylist. If given the opportunity I would have gone to the school even longer. Many states require you to continue your education every year to keep your license so this would be a huge step back for Virginia. I now work as receptionist at a cosmetology school and I watch students refuse to take clients solely because they are "nervous" or "feel unprepared". This industry requires a true passion to preform and reducing the program by 500 hours will only give us more graduates that lack confidence in their trade and will do nothing with their license.

Last Name: Marciniak Locality: Virginia Beach

I want to oppose SB544. As a licensed cosmetologist of 15 years and also a licensed cosmetology teacher, dropping hours to 1000 is not going to benefit students or businesses. Taking away 500 hours will be detrimental to their education, leaving the students unprepared to enter the professional salon industry. That extra 500 hours gives them more time to take guests at the school to help build their soft skills and technical skills which will not be met as well if hours are cut. At 1500 hours the students are just getting comfortable to be able to take guests without needing guidance of a teacher or mentor. Sending graduates into the salon at 1000 hours will fill up chain salon chairs but without the proper amount of training, the stylists will end up making many mistakes which will cause a loss of income for them, business loss for the salon and ultimately they will leave the industry due to not having the amount of education to make them successful.

Last Name: Murphy Organization: Rudy and Kelly Academy Locality: Virginia Beach

To whom it may concern! I am a licensed Hairstylist of 20 years, a Salon owner for 10 years, a Instructor at Rudy and a Kelly Academy for 9 years and an Advanced Education Team member who specializing in Textured Hair. I oppose this horrific bill that would hault and disturb the very innocence of learning a trade in a safe and educational atmosphere! My experience as a student of this industry was more focused on state board where as the current future industry professionals are given the opportunity to not only work with hair skin and nails safely, but it gives them time to make those discoveries before entering the industry without judgement or the fear of losing their job! As a salon owner I would not feel comfortable hiring anyone who didn’t receive a minimum of 1500 hours. As we look around this generation is more entrepreneurial than they are wanting to work for anyone, let alone for a chain that only performs one of the things they’ve learned and not the makeup the skin the colors and the styling that they spent their 1500 hours of education learning. Please do not pass this bill.

Last Name: Oconnor Locality: Virginia Beach

As a citizen, I will not sit in the chair of someone who has had their education reduced by a third!

Last Name: O'Connor Locality: Virginia Beach

As an educator, you know that in order to give a quality education, you need the full 1500 hours or more to adequately train students. Soft skills are increasingly disappearing in upcoming generations and we not only teach electricity, chemistry, sanitation, etc. but we also devote time to teaching students just how to communicate with the public. The financial aid of loans and pell grants will be reduced for the students if the hours are reduced.

Last Name: Carver Organization: Rudy & Kelly Academy, A Paul Mitchell Partner School Locality: Virginia Beach

I oppose the bill, please keep 1500 hours. As an educator, you know that in order to give a quality education, you need the full 1500 hours or more to adequately train students. Soft skills are increasingly disappearing in upcoming generations and we not only teach electricity, chemistry, sanitation, etc. but we also devote time to teaching students just how to communicate with the public.

Last Name: Thweatt Locality: Virginia Beach

Good afternoon, I would like to submit my reasons for opposing SB544. As a former Cosmetologist, I think that 1000 hours is not adequate time to learn the Profession trade of Cosmetology! It requires various courses of study (hair, skin, and nails) and practical applications. As a client, I don't want to sit in the chair of someone who has had their education reduced by a third! In addition, graduates need to be able to transfer their education to another state, if they need to relocate. 1500 hours is the standard across the nation! Reducing the amount of hours required to take the State Board Exam of Cosmetology, means less qualified, less prepared, and confident future professionals! Sincerely, Joan M. Thweatt

Last Name: DeManche Organization: Rudy & Kelly Academy, A Paul Mitchell Partner School Locality: Virginia Beach

To Whom it may concern, As an educator, in order to give a quality education, the students need the full 1500 hours or more to adequately train. Soft skills are increasingly disappearing in upcoming generations and we not only teach sanitation, electricity, chemistry, etc. but we also devote time to teaching students just how to communicate with the public. Soft Skills in today's industry are increasingly lacking and the students need to learn how to communicate effectively in order to provide a proper consultation. We cannot adequately provide the training they need with only 1000 hours, therefore I oppose the bill. Keep 1500 hours because it is necessary for the students to feel confident when they sign-up to take their state board exams to enter the industry. Thank you for your time.

Last Name: Stocks Organization: Rudy and Kelly Academy Locality: Chesapeake

Hello my name is Christina Stocks and I have been a licensed cosmetologist for 12 years, a licensed cosmetology instructor for 11 years, and I currently work in admissions at Rudy and Kelly Academy. I get the unique opportunity to be able to meet with all of our prospective students and a question I ask all of them is, “what would you like to do when you graduate? Where do you see yourself in the industry?” I have never heard any of them say they are wanting to graduate and work in a chain salon. They dream of working behind the chair in an independent salon or working for themselves. They often want to open salons and beauty bars. They want to invest in themselves with extra certifications and increase the amount of services they can offer their guests. Most of those services are not offered in chain salons, hair extensions, eyelash extensions, air brush makeup, etc. We continue to graduate students, there is not a job shortage in the industry. They simply don’t want to work in chain salons. 86% percent of our graduated students work in independent salons or for themselves. We never discourage our students from graduating and working in chain salons, this has simply their choice. Please oppose SB 544 for the simple reason that our VA cosmetologists do not want an hour reduction and want to be able to continue to have a choice in where they work post graduation.

Last Name: Scarborough Locality: Virginia Beach

As a client I would not feel comfortable sitting in a chair knowing my hairstylist education was reduced from 1500 to 1000 hours. In today’s society looking the part is more important than ever. Growing up with textured naturally curly hair I once thought it was normal for hairstylist to be uninformed on how to properly style my hair. I was used to doing my hair on my own and not wanting to sit in a salon chair in tears and embarrassment because the stylist didn’t have the adequate knowledge to even detangle my hair. I used to envy my peers knowing they were able to walk out of a salon feeling satisfied with their service. Over the last 15 years I’ve seen a substantial increase in product knowledge and how to properly wash, cut, color and style textured hair due to changes that are being made in educating these future cosmetologist. We’ve come too far to go back to a cosmetologist having a lack of knowledge with any hair type. Our cosmetologist are thriving in the industry and our upcoming generation soft skills are deteriorating, taking away 500 hours will not benefit them in the end!!!

Last Name: Hoover Locality: Chesapeake

As a cosmetologist of over 12 years, and as an instructor for 7, I urge you to oppose SB544. Limiting the education of students does nothing but hinder students in the learning process (which would be shortened dramatically) as well as hindering salons that would then need to provide more training once a student does graduate with less hands on practice. I’ve worked at a chain salon and did not last very long because of the way that I was treated. The issue at hand has nothing to do with ‘jobs in Virginia’ but does have to do with a lack of retention at chain salons, which will be made worse by hiring new stylists who have less hands on training in schools and would need further training before feeling confident on their own behind a chair.

Last Name: Hamilton Organization: Rudy & Kelly Academy, A Paul Mitchell Partner School Locality: Hampton

To Whom it may concern, As an educator, I know that in order to give a quality education the students need the full 1500 hours or more to adequately train. Soft skills are increasingly disappearing in upcoming generations and we not only teach electricity, chemistry, sanitation, etc. but we also devote time to teaching students just how to communicate with the public. This is very important and should be recognized and appreciated by anyone who sits in a salon chair for a service. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Last Name: Maine Organization: Circle Square Salon Locality: Richmond City

I've been a licensed cosmetologist for about 10 years now. I feel strongly that having an apprenticeship program in salon is very important. I am Licensed in NY where it is 1,000 hours and moving here to Va. it has been a struggle to transfer my license but being able to have these apprenticeship programs in the salon I currently work at has been a godsend! It great to be able to learn more since this industry is constantly changing. If it wasn't for this program I wouldn't be able to refresh my skills and learn the Va. way! Thank you for your time.

Last Name: Kent Organization: Rudy & Kelly Academy, A Paul Mitchell Partner School Locality: Virginia Beach

Please oppose this ineffective, unnecessary and harmful bill. Putting a cap on the hours in the code is not the answer to filling open industry jobs. This bill will fail to accomplish its intended purpose AND have several very harmful consequences. -It prohibits DPOR's Board for Barbers and Cosmetology from doing their job in crafting and reviewing regulations. It takes away their authority and therefore, is setting a bad precedent for other industries to attempt to circumvent their respective Boards through legislation. -It will create a months-long halt in workers entering the workforce due to the length of time it takes to get program approvals (DPOR, SCHEV, accreditors such as NACCAS and Dept of Education all have to approve a program before it can be offered. This process can take a year in total.) There will be a large labor shortage if this bill goes into effect. -Portability is reduced drastically. 1000 hours will not transfer to many other states. Because 1500 hours is the nationwide standard, we are doing our Cosmetology students a disservice by lowering VA's standard. Moving would require them to return to school in many cases. This is extremely unfair to our military Cosmetologists. -The problem the proponents of this bill are trying to solve is their workforce shortage, but since graduates are choosing not to work in the chain salons, lowering the hours won't fix this problem. 86% of graduates begin their careers in independently-owned salons or start their own business. They should be empowered to make that choice, not limited to a lower-paying job because their educational choice was taken away. -It reduces the amount of federal grant money that students are eligible to receive, thereby increasing their out-of-pocket costs. This will have a much more harmful impact as far as enrollment goes. Reducing federal aid money will reduce enrollment, not increase it, which was the intended goal of this bill. Opponents of this bill are fighting for the students' quality of education, their career opportunities post-graduation and their financial best interests as well as the interests of the independent salon owners who make up 80% of the industry. The corporate chain salons represent only 20% of the industry. The bottom line is that this bill will not only fail to have its intended consequence of filling salon positions, but it will harm the industry and reduce the number of new cosmetologists entering the industry. Students are not choosing to work in chain salons, so the chain salons lobbying for this bill are trying to force them to do so by lowering their training and eliminating their options. Small businesses need and want cosmetology graduates who are prepared to start behind the chair immediately. The 1500-hour requirement ensures that these graduates can meet the need of the salons and the desire of cosmetology graduates in Virginia. VOTE NO ON SB 544. Less education is not better for Virginia’s cosmetologists.

Last Name: Martin Organization: Circle Square Salon Locality: Richmond City

As a local business owner, I know firsthand the importance of Apprenticeships. In-salon apprenticeship removes a barrier to entry to our profession for the lowest income people. Cosmetology schools in Virginia cost about $20,000 for a 1500 hour program (about 12-14 months) - so if the only way to earn a Cosmetology license is to pay tuition to a school, then many of the people that are most in need of professional training may not have access. Apprenticeship allows people to work their way through an education and taking that option away is bad for local businesses and bad for Virginia. VOTE NO!

Last Name: McGee Locality: Virginia Beach

I am a 50 year old cosmetology student embarking on a second career. This first-hand experience leads me to believe that reducing the hour requirement is a mistake. Without proper theory instruction and practical training a cosmetologist can do very real harm to a client. Treatments and hair coloring require chemicals, which if not properly measured and mixed can melt hair and possibly cause permanent disfigurement. The current 1,500 hours provides (just barely) sufficient time to learn the necessary skills. The longer training program also ensures that only people with a passion for the beauty industry pursue the course of study. This ensures that the public will be in good hands when they come in for a service. If less trained cosmetologists begin practicing and causing harm, their salons and themselves will be sued and this could overwhelm already full civil court dockets.

Last Name: Talton Locality: Newport News

I want to oppose this bill. I think the hours of school for cosmetology should stay the same or even be more than they are now

Last Name: Toney Organization: Current cosmetology license holder ( Locality: Newport News

To decrease the amount of hours required for a Virginia Cosmetology License, would be detrimental to the licensing of the industry. I have been licensed since 2013, and I have seen first hand - what inexperienced and unlicensed stylists can do to a person’s hair. I have had to fix countless mistakes and sadly one time- a girl, years ago came into a salon that I worked in - who’s hair melted and was beyond repair or even a short hair cut fix- who was serviced by a “licensed individual”. It would be more fitting that new hairstylists receive more training and required hours here in Virginia, as many states currently require upwards of 1000 hours. In many other areas of the world, Europe in particular- cosmetology is taught as a bachelor degree at 4 year institutions and universities. Lowering the amount of hours will also aid in skewing public perception of our trade. Sadly, there is a wide misconception that hairstylists are generally uneducated and it’s “easy” to get a cosmetology license, in comparison to other trades. It takes hours of studying and experience to not just have all the sanitation and disinfection procedures, but to learn the chemical essentials that are unique based on color line and hair specification. It’s common knowledge that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to render someone an “expert” at any activity or profession. It will behoove Virginia to license individuals closer to experts, than amateurs. Would you trust your appearance and your health to a expert professional or an amateur who lacks even the standard amount of hours in school? Please do not let the citizens of Virginia make that choice. Also, current professional working hairstylists should be consulted when it comes to the schooling and apprenticeship dealing with professional attrition and the next generation. We know what it takes to be successful and what could be tweaked to make educational improvements. Please keep or increase the amount of hours required for licensure for a VA Cosmetology license to continue to elevate the level of cosmetology in Virginia and not devalue the industry standard. Thank you.

Last Name: Ellis Organization: Owner & Stylist of Styles by Eve Locality: Newport News

I oppose SB544. As a licensed stylist and business owner, I firmly believe that individuals need more than 1000 hours of training and instruction prior to being licensed. Not only does the burden 1500 hours provide an individual with the skills they need to become a successful stylist, it also provides them with the skills they need to protect their future. What I mean by this is every new stylist coming out of school will make mistakes, it's human nature, what this additional 500 hours provides is the knowledge needed to ensure those mistakes are not ones that can create permanent damage to a customer. Had I only needed the 1000 hours I don't feel that I would be capable of the skills and techniques I have obtained. I have made minor mistakes, I have also fixed major mistakes that other newly licensed stylist have made, which if those same stylist would have had even less training time could have been catastrophic and possibly resulted in liability law suits for major damages to the skin & hair of the client, as well as emotional damages. I have built a strong career because of the 1500 hours and I don't believe my career would be as successful without those. Thank you for your time.

End of Comments