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The Value of Cosmetology Licensing to the Health, Safety, and Economy of America

June 2019  |  Nam D. Pham, Ph.D., Anil Sarda, and Mary Donovan

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The professional beauty industry is a critical element in America’s economic landscape and professional beauty licensing is an essential component to the overall health of American consumers and beauty professionals. Ultimately, licensing of beauty professionals supports an industry of over 2.2 million workers who earn $31.6 billion in wages and contribute $85.8 billion in goods and services to the U.S. economy. The beauty industry is dominated by small businesses and self-employed individuals and exemplifies gender and ethnic diversity. The beauty industry touches almost every American in large and small communities.

These trained and licensed beauty professionals acquire special skill sets, including hair, nail, skin treatments, business management, sanitation, hygiene, human anatomy, and infection control to provide safe and high quality services for their clients. As with other professional education programs, participants have to pass standardized course exams to demonstrate their knowledge and ability to perform their skills in the marketplace. With a higher level of training, beauty professionals are able to earn higher wages. Licensing safe and well trained beauty service providers protect customers from unqualified beauty workers. To ensure consistency from state-to-state, industry professionals are pushing to harmonize the requirements and processes to obtain professional beauty licenses to strengthen safety, remove barriers and ensure economic performance of the industry.