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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Viewpoint: Esthetician Legislation: Be Careful What You Wish For

By: Susanne S. Warfield
Posted: July 12, 2013, from the July 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Recent legislation may have estheticians thinking they have won the war, but in reality, they may have lost the battle for advancing the esthetic profession and supporting estheticians moving state-to-state. Passing a bill for 1200-hours of esthetician training is what estheticians want—but there are important cautionary considerations when authoring bills and entering into the legislative arena.

According to the United States Census Bureau data, 60% of 25–44 year-olds will leave their state of birth to move to a different part of the country. So what does that mean to you? If you went to esthetic school and obtained your esthetician license—it may not be transferrable if you move to another state.

The idea of a "job for life" is fast becoming a thing of the past, due to restrictive licensing requirements. When an esthetician leaves one state, they may be faced with difficult obstacles in getting an esthetician license in the state they now reside. Salons and spas that employ estheticians will be impacted as well—especially if their business crosses state lines. The burden of bad legislation, will lead to higher job losses within the esthetic profession and create a job shortage.

New laws that require an esthetician to have medical supervision to perform certain job tasks, not only reduces professional independence, but it decreases small business ownership by estheticians—mostly women. In over 30 states, an esthetician cannot own a skin care facility and employ a physician to supervise procedures due to what is called the Corporate Practice of Medicine. So why are estheticians allowing for their licensed profession to be restricted to working under medical supervision? How long will it be before the physicians employ unlicensed medical assistants to provide services that were formerly provided by the licensed estheticians? Why pay a licensed esthetician $30 an hour—when a medical practice can hire an assistant for $12 or less?

National organizations represent professions and industries as a whole to provide a uniform standard, regardless of state or special interest groups. The American National Standards Institutes is a standard setting organization that brings interested parties together for the development of products, services, process, and systems in the United States. The National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology represents state regulatory boards in all of the beauty professions, and founded the principal of national testing—to ensure that an esthetician in California has the same competency testing standards of an esthetician in New Jersey. Coalitions serve in the same way by bringing interested parties together for a joint mission or cause. The National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers/Distributors & Associations has been setting national esthetician job task standards for esthetician licensees in the United States since 2000.