Virginia Considering Cutting Back Cosmetology Curriculum

Cosmetology educational programs could see a decrease of up to 33 percent in length. The Board for Barbers and Cosmetology (Board) proposed a new rule that would lower the required cosmetology training to 1,000 hours, which is a decrease from the current requirement of 1,500 hours. The Board’s motivation behind this rule is to reduce inessential instruction by cutting training hours to better reflect the minimum number of hours necessary for a student to become a safe practitioner. To review a copy of the proposed 1,000-hour curriculum, see pages 10–14 of the linked document.

Elevate your voice by emailing before September 15, 2023, to show your support, or opposition to, the proposed rule. To help you form your opinion, this web post will discuss the Board’s rationale behind the proposed rule, as well as the potential advantages and disadvantages of decreasing Virginia’s cosmetology training hours.

Rule Rationale
The Board created a Regulatory Advisory Panel (RAP) consisting of school owners, curriculum writers, public and private school instructors, salon safety experts, and industry leaders to review proposed cosmetology curricula. The RAP assessed each subject area to determine the minimum number of hours needed for a student to perform each cosmetology service safely. After reviewing the RAP’s recommendations, the Board voted to lower cosmetology program hours from 1,500 to 1,000 hours.

Possible Advantages
By lowering the minimum number of cosmetology training hours to 1,000, the Board suspects more individuals may choose to participate in cosmetology programs. The hour adjustment would therefore work to reduce barriers to entry into the cosmetology profession.

When reviewing curricula, the Board decided to propose instruction in textured hair and straight razor techniques. Education in these subject areas is an inclusive measure to ensure cosmetologists can perform hair services on all hair types.

A 500-hour reduction in training means students can graduate earlier and start earning wages faster. A significant hour reduction would likely result in tuition reduction. The average tuition for a cosmetology program in Virginia is about $18,000. The Board estimates that schools offering a 1,000-hour cosmetology program may reduce tuition to about $12,000 per student. Again, lower tuition costs could ease entry into the profession—the Board anticipates approximately 30 additional students (approximately a 10 percent increase) if the proposed hour adjustment is adopted.

Possible Disadvantages
Currently, 1,000 hours is the shortest number of required cosmetology training hours across the nation. This could cause portability issues if a Virginia cosmetologist moves to a state that requires additional training hours. However, nothing in the proposed rule would prevent a school from using a more robust curriculum that has a higher number of training hours. The Board would likely approve such a curriculum so long as minimum hours are met in each subject area.

The proposed rule would likely introduce administrative costs to schools that would need to develop a new curriculum. To review a copy of the proposed 1,000-hour curriculum, see pages 10–14 of the linked document. Additionally, schools would likely reduce their tuition and encounter some revenue loss. However, a shorter curriculum would mean a shorter training period and would also likely reduce the overall cost of training.

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