There has been a good deal of rejoicing in our industry over the fact that New York has finally passed a nail technician licensing bill. This is good news for the continued professionalization of our industry; an estimated 17,000 nail technicians will be affected by the new regulations. This is a major accomplishment, not only for those groups directly involved in the writing of the bills and seeing them through the legislature, but for everyone in the industry who supports licensing.

But I am here to rain on the parade and remind everyone that there is still much to be done to im­prove professionalism in our industry.  We can't let the glory of this recent victory allow us to lose mo­mentum for the job that is still ahead.

Although 46 states now require licensing, having a license still doesn't necessarily mean that the salon clients of this country are any safer getting their nails done, nor does it mean that nail tech­nicians are necessarily any more skilled at their jobs than before. Licensing and educational re­quirements are so varied from state to state that being licensed doesn't mean the same thing to any two people.

Do you know, for example, that you need a manicurist license in Iowa to do a natural manicure, but you don't need any kind of license to do sculptured acrylics in that state? In South Dakota, you can't do nails unless you have a cosmetology license, which requires 2,100 hours of training. If you want to do nails in Massachusetts, you need to go to school for 100 hours, but to prac­tice in Louisiana you need to go 500 hours. And, I spoke with a group of Texas salon owners who told me that newly licensed nail technicians are coming out of school so badly trained that they would have been better off never at­tending school in the first place.

Now that we've got most of our states licensed, we need those licenses to mean more. Many industry groups have called for a nationalized cosmetology school curriculum; there have been advocates of nationalized licensing and school requirements; and certainly just about everybody is in agreement that our school system needs an overhaul.

Congratulations, New York nail technicians. Now, let's all get to work on the next stage of our professional development.

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