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New Study Shows The Ugly Side Of Beauty School

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A recent report by the Institute of Justice shows that not only is cosmetology school expensive, but that most students don’t graduate on time and often find jobs with low-income after graduation. Researchers suggest there is a solution to these problems, but beauty schools beg to differ.

On average, cosmetology licensure costs more than $16,000 a year to complete for students graduating on time. However, less than one-third of cosmetology students graduate on time, which increases their debt. Graduates often end up earning around $26,000 a year which can be less than other jobs that don’t require licensing. 

Senior research analyst at the Institute for Justice, Michael Bednarczuk, said he believes cosmetology licensing helps only cosmetology schools, not students or the public.

“Our findings suggest the current system of state cosmetology licensing is a failed model of professional development that mainly serves to transfer wealth from students and taxpayers to cosmetology schools," said Bednarczuk.

Bednarczuk suggested several alternatives that lawmakers should consider.

“One alternative would be exempting, obviously, safe niche cosmetology services. Utah has already done so in several areas, such as natural hair braiding, and earlier this year, in blow dry, this would free people to enter these fields immediately," Bednarczuk said. "Another alternative would be to refocus regulation on what matters, which is safe sanitary practices at the point of service. States already regulate these practices. Meanwhile, cosmetology school also could be made voluntary, as it is in the United Kingdom," Bednarczuk said.

Owner of New Horizon Beauty College, Amy Lowe, believes that there is a good reason for the requirement of state licensing. 

“I hope that our profession never gets deregulated because there are a lot of health issues. Sanitation, disinfection, diseases, disorders that can come from a lot of the services that we offer, if proper sanitation, disinfection, proper consultation is not done," Lowe said.

Lowe also said that not only is there much safety and health related information to be learned but proper techniques and practices as well.