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Becoming Involved in Licensure and the State Board
By: Christine Heathman
Posted: June 27, 2014, from the July 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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An experienced lobbyist— a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest—plays a central role in licensing actions. According to Candace Daly, the lobbyist for the Utah master esthetics license, the following steps are crucial for estheticians who are considering becoming more involved in their state board.
- Be active in a local association and attend meetings so you know the issues. Know who your state and local elected officials are, and make sure that they know who you are.
- Also, be active in a national association. Find out what issues are going on in other states, because what goes around comes around and, if it’s something good, you can implement it in your state. If it is bad, you can work to stop it from happening in your state.
- If you are considering starting the journey to initiate a master esthetics license in your state, begin a coalition of interested parties. Hire a lobbyist who can help you navigate the legislative process in your state. Review code from the states that do have master esthetics licenses and come to an agreement with the coalition on what you want in your state. With the help of a lobbyist, contact a legislator who would be willing to sponsor your legislation—and give it a try.
Networking with experienced individuals who have been involved with licensure and the state board will assist you in understanding how to go about making changes for estheticians at the government level. Brenda Scharman, government relations chairperson for the Utah Beauty Association and chair of the state relations committee for the American Association of Cosmetology Schools, advises estheticians to get to know the legislators for both their homes and businesses so they know who you are. Develop a relationship, so when a bill comes up during a legislative session concerning an esthetic issue, they will have you review the bill and provide your opinion.
Attending your town hall meetings is of great significance, according to Scharman, so town politicians know who you are and what you do in your skin care business. This familiarity will give you a voice in legislative decision-making. It is important that your voice representing estheticians be fair, calm, collected, respectful and professional. This demeanor is also appropriate for state board meetings, licensing agendas, and when speaking with a legislator or attending a get-together for skin care schools.
Attending state board meetings should be a regular event in order to protect your license and know what is going on. Keep in mind that you, the individual, make it all happen, and the state board relies on you to keep the state government current. Scharman has a valuable saying: “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu.”
Your education is critical to getting involved with the state board and licensure, so stay up to date on your knowledge and skill set. One way to lose respect when speaking at a state board meeting or with a legislator is to lack progressive knowledge pertaining to the professional skin care industry. You should always be aware of new innovations, ingredients, treatments and techniques, as well as dangers that could compromise the esthetic profession.