WATCH: New TN Law Could Harm Consumers, Students and Salons

By Anne Moratto | 06/26/2013 10:21:00 AM


A bill was passed into law in Tennessee that cuts the time cosmetology school students have to spend in school (1500 hours) in half by allowing them to do an apprenticeship. The Cosmetology Board of Tennessee didn’t know about the legislation as it made its way into law because if they had, they say, they would have done what they could to stop it or at least fight it.

Cosmetologists and school owners from Tennessee expressed their anger at a meeting this week in Tennessee. Their fear is that students won’t get proper training if their time in school is so reduced. They were speaking to a sympathetic audience as all of the Cosmetology Board Members agree that this law could harm the industry and harm consumers.

A consultant to Aveda South, a group of Aveda school in the area, Rick Wallace of Famos Consulting said, “These laws are implemented to protect the consumer but this would be devastating because it would open up the consumer to major problems with untrained apprenticeship programs—not just bad hair, bad perm or bad color—but serious harm to their skin, the potential for burns, and more," said Wallace. "Everyone needs to be aware that this is damaging to the industry, to the consumers and more importantly that this industry does not support this law. “

Wallace, who spoke at the meeting, suggests Tennessee residents contact their Governor’s office to express their disappointment in this law while also sending the Cosmetology Board supportive emails.

"They are on our team."

Stay informed about what is happening in your state by checking in here.  This map of the United States is regularly updated to indicate a threat to the industry. During the summer, many legislative sessions are on recess but things will start heating up again soon.








Anne Moratto’s well-rounded beauty career includes years in beauty public relations, beauty marketing, beauty manufacturing, and now, with MODERN SALON, in beauty publishing. The through-line has been an intense interest in all things beauty and a sincere appreciation for the skilled artists and entrepreneurs who make the industry so vital, compelling and creative. Anne, a native of Wisconsin, lives with her family in Los Angeles, CA, and is MODERN SALON’s West Coast Beauty and Special Markets Editor. She can be reached at


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Andre Nizetich, President of the American Board of Certified Haircolorists    
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southern California  |  June, 27, 2013 at 10:54 AM

I cheer the legislature of Tennessee, they recognize that taxpayers should not subsidize schools that do not provide for entry level positions that will allow them to pay off their student loans. The only people who are fighting this law are the greedy school owners who are making a fortune taking advantage of uninformed students. Schools graduate and license 35,000 students a year in California and fail to increase tax paying jobs by a single person. In effect taxpayers are subsidizing an underground industry. Salons can not compete with individuals working out of their kitchens. If you do the math of what it cost to license 35,000 people a year you will think this law is a good one. Take that 6 billion dollars a year going to greedy beauty school owners like Paul Mitchell, Marinello and Empire schools and give it to our failing education system. Apprenticeship works!!

JonathanAt HairArtiste    
San Diego CA  |  June, 27, 2013 at 01:37 PM

After 40 years as a cosmetologist who was trained in the most intensive method called "learn from another knowledgeable professional" or apprenticeship, I completely agree with Andre. The law makers of Tennessee got it right. Now let's see if other forward thinking States take their example. If ALL the States in the United States returned to an Apprenticeship training concept for all trades, those who want to be the best at whatever trade they choose versus exceeding mediocrity, then and only then will the United States have a clue to what really works. For those who complain about others who are "unlicensed" ... that's like complaining that some guy or girl is living with their love. Doesn't matter. Concentrate on providing quality and value to the consumer and stop blaming and worrying about others. Attaining or having a beauty "license" does NOT make a beauty professional anymore than getting a license to drive a car gives you the knowledge of the road. Increase your knowledge and expertise with continual on-going education. Your success or failure in life is entirely up to you. Beauty schools do not teach how to be a beauty professional just as academic school/college does NOT train someone to be a professional. That's why so many people have gone to college and now work flipping burgers at McDonald's. Apprenticeship is real world training. Get some and then come back and speak to me and Andre. Cheers! ~JonathanAt HairArtiste Vidal Sassoon Alumni

Alaska  |  June, 27, 2013 at 01:45 PM

I agree ! I have been licensed for almost 30 years as a hairdresser. We get graduated "students" from PM Schools and others applying for jobs in Alaska. They know NOTHING about color. They have to be retrained. Some take a refresher course at local beauty schools here to learn color in a 2 week crash course. Sometimes they can't even do a basic haircut. An apprenticeship is hands on. They could earn their hours in high school as elective, and not have horrendous student loan looming over their head as they try to build clientele. Again, agree with you 100% and glad you posted.

JonathanAt HairArtiste    
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San Diego CA  |  June, 27, 2013 at 01:58 PM

P.S. Also cheers to Erin Moreau (on facebook)- also many good points. We've had the same experience with newly "licensed" beauticians straight from the Paul Mitchell School who actually do NOT know the difference between on-scalp bleach and off-scalp bleach. And these people are licensed? Paul Mitchell himself, if he were alive today would NOT let this happen. Don't blame the beauty schools, apprentice each person who comes to work in your salon. One of my life mentors, Vidal Sassoon, who I studied and worked with personally believed and stated one could only learn effectively through Apprenticeship. Even after a full education at a "beauty school" each person at Vidal Sassoon has to be a "Trainee." Have standards of excellence.

sheila wilson    
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memphis tennessee  |  June, 27, 2013 at 01:59 PM

If the schools really worked with salon owners, this could be a great thing for our industry. There is NO way a student can learn all the infomration on the colors, cuts and styling tools needed to come into a salon in 1500 hours. Most of the teachers have not worked in a salon and they have to deal with adjusting the students attitude before they can even teach them anything, This alone takes up 2 to 3 months of the 1500 hours. It is time for a change and I applaud the state for deciding that the students are not learning as they should, therefore making it more dangerous for the consumer and ulimately bringing a bad image to our industry. I work with a few schools and I know the problems they have. I also have trained many stylists who have come to work with me, so I can speak from experience to say "the system is broken but we all can help to make it better"

eric mokotoff    
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hair studio artists  |  July, 01, 2013 at 01:35 PM

agreed, schools, paper money etc its all a joke. the real training begins in the right salon and if a graduate does 2000 hrs in school it still means nothing as the the true resutls are based on the quality of salon and training they get after school

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Tn  |  July, 09, 2013 at 07:08 AM

I love the idea of this. I graduated from cosmetology school three years ago an was terrified when I started working in the field. I got very lucky that I had a wonderful manager who was willing to work with me and teach me the things my school left out or skimmed over. I believe this would definitely help build the skills in our industry because it really does not take skill to pass the state board exam.

Johnny cash    
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TN  |  May, 08, 2014 at 09:26 AM

Yeah also you want to pay people no money and keep them working for you as we still were in slavery days!

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