Beginning January 1, 2006, would-be nail technicians in Utah will have to stay in school a little longer. The state passed legislation increasing licensure hours from 200 to 300. In addition, the state banned MMA and also clarified the definition for nail techs to work on the hands, feet, and nails. The definition now further defines what a nail tech can do and can work with, including mechanical and electrical instruments, antiseptic, lotions, or creams. The number of hours for apprenticeships was also increased from 250 to 375.

The increase in hours was largely due to schools discovering the challenges of only having 200 licensure hours to work with, mainly lack of time to prepare students for entry level positions in salons and low pass rates on state board exams.

This change marks a triumph for those lobbying for change in the state’s nail industry. After all, it was only four years ago that Utah began requiring nail techs to obtain 200 licensure hours.

Leesa Myers, chair of the Utah-based National Education Competition Association (NECA), says the increase in hours is a good step in the right direction toward getting would-be nail technicians the proper education and training they need. “With the increased hours we are getting closer to the nation’s standards. We wanted more, but we did not want to jeopardize the passing of the bill by fighting for more hours.” The NECA played a key role in lobbying for bill HB071 to get passed, along with the Utah School Owners Association.

Making MMA illegal also marks a positive change. “It gives the Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing the teeth they need to write citations and to get MMA out of salons,” says Myers.

Although the NECA is happy with the changes, Myers says there remains more to be done in the state. “In the future, we’d like to investigate continuing education requirements and bring them to legislation,” she says.

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