The required training hours for several occupations could be cut in half if a bill making its way through the Florida Legislature is successful.
House Bill 15 would reduce the amount of training hours required for hair braiders, hair wrappers, barbers and nail specialists who are hoping to become licensed.
HB 15, approved by the House, has a companion bill in the Florida Senate but it has not yet been through any committees, much less a full chamber vote. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello.
If the bill is approved and becomes law in Florida, nail technicians would go from the required 240 training hours to 150 hours of required training and barbers would go from 1,200 hours of required training to 600 hours, which would also be the biggest reduction of hours for all professions that are affected by the bill.
If the bill is passed it could possibly create thousands of new jobs in Florida, according to its proponents. Justice Manyinginya, a current cosmetology student, has some concerns that with the reduced hours of training it will also create health concerns when dealing with chemicals.
“There’s way more factors to know when it comes to styling and barbering. On a daily basis we deal with chemicals that can affect one’s health in a bad way if we aren’t careful and properly trained,” said Manyinginya.
According to Justin Person, the Florida Office Managing Attorney at the Institute for Justice, occupational licensing is one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to Floridians finding work. He believes that if the bill passes it will expand business opportunities for small up and coming businesses.
Dietrick Sutherland, who owns Topp Notch Barbershop in Tallahassee, doesn’t agree with the proposed bill nor does he agree with Person’s opinion on the matter.
“Being a shop owner, we want to hire barbers that know what they’re doing, and we want to trust the barbers with our clients. I think the current hours that are set in place are for the mastering of a skill set, and you can’t obtain that skill set by doing half the work,” said Sutherland.
Sutherland believes that producing barbers under this potential new law will prevent newcomers from being able to last in the business due to the quality of their work not being up to par with fellow barbers.
“If a barber is discouraged he/she might not want to continue in this industry. Especially working alongside people whose being styling and cutting hair for years,” said Sutherland.
Students in cosmetology school also face the possibility of not meeting the required minimum hours to receive Pell grants. Also, that creates the concern of not being able to find work after graduation at shops and salons that have high beauty standards.
“I don’t think it’s right to change requirements that affect so many people. When I sit down in a professional place I expect professional and safe service,” said Lyric Mattair.
If it passes, it would take effect in July.