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Bills speeds process to get cosmetology license

Cosmetology students will be able to register for their final exam before they have completed their course work if a bill under consideration by the state Legislature is approved.

House Bill 1017, by Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline, allows cosmetology students to sign up for and take their final exam within 100 hours of completing their total required hours. The bill had a hearing Jan. 13 in the House Consumer Protection and Business Committee.

Hannah Govea is a cosmetology student set to graduate in March this year, but said she is nervous about the process of registering for her final test.

Govea said people she went to school with had to wait months before they could take their test.

“What we want to do is get applied for a test before we graduate so we have an opportunity to get in there sooner and not lose what we've learned,” she said.

Ryu said she knew cosmetology students worked hard in school to get their license and make a living and came up with the idea for the bill when she learned how hard it was to find time to take the test and receive a license. Ryu said the legislation “was a super easy way to lower the barrier a tiny bit.”

Testing has two components: a written test and a hands-on test. While there are multiple testing sites for the written test, the hands-on portion has only three; one in Spokane, one in Yakima and one in Western Washington, said Frank Trieu, Evergreen Beauty School Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations.

That creates a lot of challenges, and this bill will allow testing agencies to create more options for students, Trieu said.

The current requirements for licensure require a student to reach their total hours before registering and taking the final exam, said Joren Clowers, NW Career Colleges Federation and Associated Day Spas of Washington representative.

By allowing students to register and take the exam earlier, students can join the workforce more quickly after graduating, which not only helps the cosmetologist, but the organization they plan to work for as well, Clowers said.

Trieu said it can take four to six weeks for students to actually take the test they are registering for.

“The intent of this is to be able to allow students to test quickly and to get them into the careers they trained for and this in turn will help employers,” he said.

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