Pickens Technical College’s Barber Pathway: How a Proposed New Texas Law Could Affect You

Right now, you’re learning how to cut and style hair, and how to grow your own barber business and break into the industry in Pickens Technical College Barber Program. The most important thing at the moment is to acquire the skills you’ll need in a career as a barber. The one thing that sinks barbers in this business the most is a bad reputation. When you’re not considered by at least a few regular patrons one of the best hair stylists or barbers in town, you’ll struggle to compete working at a barbershop or running one of your own.

In order to prove yourself and get your first job as a barber in charge of someone’s hair, you have to first pass the Colorado State Barber Licensing Exam, which will test you on all the skills you’re learning in class right now, from properly cutting different types of hair to styling, sanitation, and safety. Like many professional licensing exams, it makes perfect sense: you have to show that you can do the job before you can expect customers to trust you with such an intimate task.

But a new law was proposed in the Texas state legislature that brings into question the idea of licensing and exams for barbers at all. Unless you plan to move to Texas after graduation, this won’t affect your career immediately as a barber, but could this line of thinking spread to other states, even the very liberal state government of Colorado?

The Texas Law

Enough teasing. The new law, going to the floor of the Texas legislature soon, will eliminate the state license requirement for all new barbers. Deregulating industries like this opens the door for more people to take opportunities and attempt new ventures, however, many Texas barbers are decrying this law.  

If the bill passes, anyone who wants to can walk into a barbershop and ask for a job there. The new barber’s training and learning of the craft would be solely up to the shop owner. Opposition to this bill is centered on two main complaints: that customers wouldn’t want to trust a brand-new, unlicensed barber to handle haircuts and more complicated hair styling like coloring and bleaching. I don’t have to tell you that bleaching and coloring, along with several other hair styling operations, can be dangerous. The other complaint comes from the worry about lack of safety training in barber shops. Blood-borne pathogens can be passed between customers and barbers easily without training.

How This Could Affect You

An online petition to kill the proposed bill has already accumulated 140,000 signatures, but even if the bill passes, it’s unlikely to spread to Colorado anytime soon. Still, this way of thinking, the idea of deregulating the hair and cosmetics industry, could have far-reaching effects in the future. If the hair business explodes in Texas, for example, other states, especially those facing employment and economic problems (not Colorado at the moment but conditions could change) could be open to exploring deregulation in the hair industry.

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