I used to be utterly exasperated at California's lack of continuing education requirements for maintaining our licenses. Then I found out more about what passes as “continuing education” in states that do require it, and I threw up my hands in indignant resignation.
I still think our industry is one that moves and changes often enough and fast enough to warrant a continuing education requirement. But if the state is going to dictate what constitutes continuing education and those credits are going to require sitting through brain-numbing hours of tedium that revolve around safety/sanitation and diseases/disorders, I'm gonna vote against it.
Not that I don't think being up to date on sanitation and diseases is important, but the rules and regs haven't changed significantly on those subjects since I put in my time in beauty school. I could get behind a continuing education class that covers the (not so) new regs regarding pedicures in California. But then, those updates aren't so updated anymore. But then... that's really kinda the point.
Right now there is no requirement for renewing a license other than sending the state a check with your renewal form. As such, it's entirely possible — and not entirely uncommon — for people who received their cosmetology licenses back in 1967 to be sitting in a salon today doing nails. Nail services that didn't exist in 1967. With products that didn't even exist in 1987! And the only qualification that licensee might have is that she went to beauty school and passed her exam in 1967 and has kept renewing it ever since.
Frankly, this would boggle my mind if I wasn't so busy being horrified every time I think of it.
I think the industry — and the public — would benefit from some basic continuing education requirements: When the Board makes big changes, like the recent(ish) ones regarding how we disinfect pedicure equipment and being required to keep records on doing so; or certification for things like electric files, or products that aren't covered on our state board like gel nails and gel-polish application and removal. Just enough to show that we're staying current with the industry.
It's one thing if licensees choose not to offer new products or techniques, but when I get a call in the middle of the day from someone who tells me that she's called several salons in the area and I'm the only one who even knew what she was talking about (Minx, specifically in this case), I have to get out the smelling salts and the blood pressure medication to stay conscious and coherent. There's just no acceptable excuse for not knowing about new products and technology in the industry, even if you choose not to offer it!