Quality Vs. Quantity

Just to finish (as if I'll EVER finish this subject!) my thoughts about the ludicrous-osity (it's a word now!) of the way our schooling and licensing works, not only does the cosmetology program in California only require 50 hours of training on nails while we are currently at 400 hours for a manicuring license, but they keep adding more hours to the manicuring course, but not to the cosmetology course.

When I went through beauty school in 1992, my course was 350 hours. Now it's 400 hours. Soon, I understand, California will require 500 hours for a manicuring course.

But how does our regulatory agency (California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology) figure that more hours will equate to more qualified licensees? What are they doing to improve the curriculum? Just keeping students in school longer does not mean they are  learning more. It means the schools can charge more for the course. That doesn't help anybody but the schools.

You know what would help? Letting NAIL PROFESSIONALS teach future nail professionals. Seriously. California requires instructors to have a cosmetology license. So, generally speaking, the people teaching the nail courses in our schools are NOT people who spent their days in the salon doing nails for a living. They are — for the most part — people who have completed the 50 hours of training in nail technology that their COSMETOLOGY license required of them.

Wow. [Shaking head like I'm pretending that it all makes sense.] Just ... wow.

The State Board here in California is part of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Theoretically, the Board exists solely as a means of ensuring the safety and well-being of the consumer. Bearing in mind that the Board's primary job is to regulate the industry with regards to public safety, I can totally shrug off the painfully obvious fact that neither our regulatory agency's nor our various beauty schools' focus is on turning out knowledgeable, skilled professionals. They don't care if you're good at doing nails. They care that you aren't putting your clients in danger. And — as much as I'd like to see a conscientious academy step up to fill that gap — I'm OK with that. I believe in competition and I don't think it's the government's job to protect consumers from ugly nails or nails that "pop off" after three days. It is their job to make sure that we understand the basics of safety and sanitation and what products we are using and how they work and why none of those products should contain MMA. So explain to me why there are so many legally licensed "professionals" working in the field today who don’t understand those basics?

Oh, I don't know  — maybe because the instructors don't even know that themselves?

More hours in school isn't going to solve the industry's problems. It won't make the states' headaches go away, because we don't need more hours of education, we need better education.

Now then, my state assemblywoman's office is directly above me, and my U.S. Congressman's office is directly below me. Maybe it's time for me to stop ranting into the din of the Internet and brave the haunted elevator and meet the neighbors.


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