West Virginia Proposes Cosmetology Apprenticeship Rules

The West Virginia Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists (Board) proposed apprenticeship rules in early April to establish cosmetology apprenticeship program requirements and apprentice and salon qualifications for individuals and businesses participating in an apprenticeship program.

Ultimately, the rules support an alternative pathway to licensure that allows students to gain real-world, hands-on experience while they learn outside the standard classroom setting.

How do you feel about a cosmetology apprenticeship program in West Virginia? Elevate your voice and provide written testimony to show your support, or opposition to, the proposed rules by emailing danielle.j.cordle@wv.gov before May 31, 2023. AHP summarizes the highlights of the rules for you below.

The proposed rules offer definitions to help you understand the roles of a cosmetologist apprentice and apprenticeship provider, and what a cosmetology apprenticeship is.

Cosmetologist Apprentice—a permitted person learning cosmetology under a licensed cosmetologist.

Apprenticeship Provider—a licensed cosmetologist who instructs and is responsible for a cosmetologist apprentice during the time of the apprenticeship.

Cosmetology Apprenticeship—a program in which a cosmetology apprenticeship provider instructs a cosmetologist apprentice in the profession of cosmetology, including theory and practical instruction.

Cosmetologist Apprentice Qualifications
The proposed rules state that to be eligible as a cosmetologist apprentice, applicants must:

  1. Be at least 16 years old.
  2. Have a high school diploma, GED, proof of high school enrollment, or have passed the “ability to benefit test.”
  3. Pay applicable fee(s).
  4. Have a certificate of health from a licensed physician.
  5. Be a US citizen or eligible for employment.
  6. Submit a completed application to the Board.

Cosmetologist Apprentice Licensure Requirements
The proposed rules explain that to obtain a cosmetologist license through the apprenticeship pathway, a cosmetologist apprentice must either:

  1. Complete 3,600 clock hours of apprenticeship training offered by a cosmetology apprenticeship provider at a licensed salon/shop, or
  2. Complete 2,600 clock hours from a cosmetology apprenticeship provider at a licensed salon/shop and 1,000 clock hours at an approved school of cosmetology.

During an apprenticeship program, apprentices must:

  • Complete their program within 48 months after their start date.
  • Use either the Milady or Pivot Point cosmetology textbook for apprenticeship theory work, as long as the textbook was published less than five years ago. Apprentices must successfully pass each chapter review exam—a passing score is 70 percent.
  • Have direct supervision from their Apprenticeship Provider while performing services.
  • Answer questions from the Board regarding sanitation procedures and proper processes used.
  • Obtain a work permit from the Board immediately after completing apprenticeship hours while waiting to take their state board exam. A work permit can only be issued if the applicant is registered for their upcoming exam and can be renewed once.
  • Submit an application for licensure to the Board after completing their apprenticeship program and passing the exam.

Apprenticeship Provider Qualifications
The proposed rules state that to be eligible as a cosmetologist apprenticeship provider, the provider must:

  1. Have an active West Virginia cosmetologist license for at least five years.
  2. Be in good standing with the Board.
  3. Have worked in a licensed salon/shop in West Virginia for the last five years.
  4. Be able to provide training in a licensed salon/shop in West Virginia that has a consistent history of satisfactorily passing Board inspections.
  5. Work in a barbershop currently in good standing with the Board.
  6. Pay application fee(s).
  7. Submit a completed application to the Board.

Apprenticeship Provider Requirements
The proposed rules explain that licensed cosmetologists assuming the role of an apprenticeship provider must:

  • Have no more than one apprentice at any time and no more than three apprentices at a salon/shop at any time.
  • Promote good attendance from their apprentice to help ensure the apprenticeship is completed within 48 months.
  • Perform frequent practical demonstrations for their apprentice to include hair, esthetics, and nail practices and techniques—demonstrations may be done on paying customers or mannequins.
  • Ensure the apprentice is ready before practicing skills on live individuals.
  • Grade and oversee completion of theory work and written exams and supervise and check all practical work.
  • Assume professional responsibility over their apprentice and have direct supervision while the apprentice is performing services.
  • Ensure accurate record keeping, including the number of daily hours attended, customers serviced, and hours spent learning theory. These records must be kept on file at the salon/shop for inspection by the Board.
  • Submit monthly records to the Board electronically and agree to an inspection of the salon/shop, apprentice documents, and other required records to ensure rule compliance.

Salon/Shop Requirements
Salons/shops must have at least two working hydraulic chairs and keep their equipment in good condition to perform daily services, including hair, nails, and esthetics. Salons/shops must post a sign visible to the public that indicates a cosmetologist apprentice is on staff. Cosmetology apprentice service prices must be posted.

Barber Requirements for a Cosmetology Apprenticeship
The proposed rule would allow barbers to obtain a cosmetology license through an apprentice program. To do so, a barber must:

  1. Submit an application to the Board.
  2. Pay applicable fee(s).
  3. Have a West Virginia barber license in good standing.
  4. Complete clock hours in the following subject areas:
    • 300 clock hours in nail technology
    • 500 clock hours in esthetics
    • 100 clock hours of the cosmetology chemicals course
    • 900 clock hours in an apprenticeship program within 24 months after the start date
  5. Pass the cosmetology exam within six months of completing the cosmetology apprenticeship.

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