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A House Bill Means Less Training For Cosmetologists In Florida. What Does It Mean For Public Health?

A bill making its way through Florida Legislature could reduce the amount of training time required for several occupations by hundreds of hours.

The bill, known as HB15, would reduce the amount of training hours required for nail technicians, facialists and barbers who are seeking an occupational license.

Nail technicians would go from 240 to 150 hours of required training and Facialists training hours are set to fall to 300 hours from 500. Barbers would receive the biggest cut of all professions, dropping from 1200 to 600 hours.

The bill, which recently passed through the Florida House of Representatives, does have a companion bill in the Florida Senate, but it has not yet been through any committees, much less a full chamber vote.

“What HB15 would do if it were to pass the Senate and be signed into law would be to create thousands of new jobs in Florida overnight,” Florida Office Managing Attorney at the Institute for Justice Justin Pearson said.

Occupational licensing is one of the biggest barriers stopping Floridians from finding work, Pearson said. He believes this bill will expand small business opportunities by reducing red tape and costs to enter the industry.

One Gainesville salon owner doesn't agree with Pearson's diagnosis.

“Deregulation is a public disservice,” Joni Jarrell, who owns Summit Salon Academy, said. “Could people just open their doors and go to work? Yes, but what’s the quality the public could expect from those new businesses that are opening?”

Jarrell believes requiring fewer hours for a license will make people unprepared for the job and hurt their chances of getting business.

“We’re looking at an industry that’s going to suffer because of lack of regulation,” Jarrell said. “So when students come to school... they’re also learning how to protect the public.”

She said that with this piece of legislation, the burden of properly training employees in this industry would be put on the business owners.

“As a guest, you’re coming to a professional salon to get a professional service,” Rob Barron, who owns Avant Garde Salon, said. “The person who is on the floor doing that service needs to be in the professional setting, unlike a school setting. When a guest goes there, they know what they’re getting into.”

Barron sees both sides to the argument, but still is concerned with how this bill could affect the quality of applicants applying to work at his salon.

“You would probably get more applicants in school… but it doesn’t necessarily translate to the setting and the salon, because I still have to have them up to my standards,” Barron said.

Jarrell said that even if the bill passes in the state Senate, she will still keep her academy’s training hours just the way they are.

“Education has to be first," she said, "in every aspect in every field.”

To take a look at legislation your state representative and senator has sponsored this year, check out our bill tracker. The session runs through March 9.