A Dream Deferred

by Valerie Bayham

Introduction

The District of Columbia government once threatened hairbraider Pamela Ferrell and her husband Talib-Din Uqdah with fines and jail time for practicing their craft without an unnecessary government license.  But this year, the entrepreneurial couple celebrate their twenty-fifth year in business and the “little” shop the government once tried to shut down is thriving, providing opportunity not only for Ferrell and Uqdah, but for the dozens of women they’ve trained over the years who have now gone on to start their own businesses.

Now, if only the rest of the nation would learn from this and similar success stories and remove government barriers to honest enterprise now imposed on hairbraiders.  D.C. once ordered hairbraiders to take 1,500 hours of irrelevant training to get into business.  But now hairbraiders are braiding, customers are satisfied and the D.C. city government collects taxes from businesses that would otherwise have been forced into the underground economy.

Despite this and similar success stories in Arizona, California, Mississippi, Minnesota and Washington, other states continue to impose arbitrary and stiff licensing burdens on would-be hairbraiders—making no one happy except those protected by these government-imposed cartels.

Determined to help other entrepreneurial braiders break these chains, Uqdah founded the American Hair Braiders and Natural Haircare Association (AHNHA).  As president, he has worked with braiders across the country to challenge cosmetology regulations that arbitrarily restrict the right to braid for a living with needless coursework and examinations.  He views his struggle for economic liberty—the right to earn an honest living—as fundamental to the success of America and for the African-American community.  Today, he is more passionate than ever that braiders do not belong in the cosmetology regime.  And his message—of passion, skill, opportunity and hard work as the only entrance requirements to the braiding profession—is winning the war one small battle at a time.

 

Executive Summary

For many African-Americans and African immigrants, hairbraiding represents an important celebration of natural beauty, culture and freedom.  This age-old art involves the intricate twisting, weaving, extending or locking of natural hair.  It is a natural alternative to the damaging chemicals that many African-Americans use to straighten their hair.  It is also a great start-up entrepreneurial option for those with limited resources:  almost no financial capital is needed to open a braiding business and, rather than requiring a great deal of formal education, the necessary skills are passed from one generation to the next.  Hairbraiding, like so many other occupations, provides outstanding opportunities for economic self-sufficiency so long as governments don’t impose arbitrary barriers to entry.

But freedom for African hairbraiders doesn’t come cheap, and it is often delayed.  Licensure requirements in many states give mainstream cosmetologists a near monopoly on all forms of hairstyling.  A cosmetology license requires thousands of hours of classroom training at a cost of roughly $5,000 to $15,000.  Worse, the training is often completely unrelated to African hairbraiding.

The over-regulation of hairbraiders is one symptom of the larger disregard for economic liberty, the bulwark of the American Dream.  Occupational licensing has stretched from highly specialized professions, like law and medicine, to professions for which the justification of entry barriers is virtually nonexistent, hampering even would-be interior decorators, casket retailers and florists.  A closer examination reveals that legislatures are often motivated not by the public good but rather by private interests that seek to protect themselves from competition.

The Institute for Justice has a long history of successfully fighting on behalf of hairbraiders and has opened markets in Arizona, California, D.C., Minnesota, Mississippi and Washington. 

  • Today, eleven states specifically exempt braiders from cosmetology licensing regimes:  Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina and Washington.  In those states, braiders are simply required to comply with regulations governing all other businesses or to comply with basic sanitation guidelines—all without any ill effects.
  • Unfortunately, seven states require hairbraiders to obtain a cosmetology or similar license—typically 1,000 to 2,100 hours.  These are:  Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon, South Dakota and Wyoming.
  • In 22 states, the law remains silent on the issue of hairbraiding—leaving the question of licensing up to state cosmetology boards or investigators.  These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.  When asked, many state boards of cosmetology choose to include African hairbraiding within the definition of cosmetology or hairstyling—despite the fact that the required curriculums often do not include one twist of African hairbraiding.  Like in Minnesota and Washington, it often takes litigation to get the board to remove these barriers.
  • The final ten states (Florida, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and the District of Columbia have imposed some form of specialized license for hairbraiders.  But the specialty licenses simply don’t work.  First, braiding is a form of cultural expression and an artistic art form—braiding styles differ from braider to braider and region by region.  The skills are passed from generation to generation, not through formal education that simply wastes time and money.  Second, this is hairbraiding, not brain surgery.  Training is utterly unnecessary to protect the public; safety concerns can easily be addressed by reading a simple pamphlet.  Third, the requirements don’t make sense.  Even the lightened hours can be incredibly burdensome.  Louisiana’s specialty braiding license, for example, requires 1,000 hours—almost the same number required in some states for a full cosmetology license.  Meanwhile, Florida and South Carolina require only a sanitation course, but their licenses do not allow braiders to use extensions, which are necessary for most braiding styles, rendering the specialty license almost useless.  Fourth, cosmetology schools are not required to offer the braiding curriculum, leaving braiders unable to comply with the requirements even if they wanted to.  The end result is that the specialty licenses have been ineffective while still restricting entrance to the profession.  In Ohio, for example, only 21 braiders have become licensed since the specialty license (requiring 450 hours) went into effect in 1999.
  • With eleven states successfully exempting braiders from all of this nonsense, it is high time that the rest of the country joined the braiding freedom train. 

A state-by-state summary describing legal barriers to African hairbraiding follows.

Cosmetology Training Required for a License to Braid

 

STATE

HOURS

Alabama

1200

Alaska

1650

Arizona*

None

Arkansas

1500

California*

None

Colorado

1140 / 1450

Connecticut

None

Delaware

1500

DC*

100 or experience

Florida

16

Georgia

None

Hawaii

1250 / 1800

Idaho

2000

Illinois

1500

Indiana

1500

Iowa

2100

Kansas

None

Kentucky

1800††

Louisiana

1000

Maine

1500

Maryland

None

Massachusetts

1000††

Michigan

None

Minnesota*

None

Mississippi*

None

Missouri

1500

Montana

2000

Nebraska

2100

Nevada

1200 / 1800

New Hampshire

1500

New Jersey

1200

New Mexico

1600

New York

300

North Carolina

None

North Dakota

1800

Ohio*

450

Oklahoma

600

Oregon

1700

Pennsylvania

300

Rhode Island

1500

South Carolina

6

South Dakota

2100

Tennessee

300

Texas

35

Utah

2000

Vermont

1500

Virginia

170

Washington*

None

West Virginia

2000

Wisconsin

1800

Wyoming

1250 / 2000

*        Denotes a state that the Institute for Justice helped to open the market for braiders, reducing or eliminating the barriers to entrepreneurship and increasing economic liberty.

†             Number of required hours based on statutory or regulatory requirements; some refer to credit or classroom hours rather than clock hours.  Reference breakout sections for details.

††             Denotes a state that requires an additional apprenticeship period after completing the required hours of training.  Several additional states allow students to complete their hours (either the same number or a higher amount) via apprenticeship instead of through a cosmetology school.  Refer to breakout sections for details.

Hairbraiding Statutes & Regulations by State

Alabama:  Status Unclear

Alabama law does not specifically mention hairbraiding, although it does include “weaving.”  Braiding may fall within the definition of cosmetology.  To become a licensed cosmetologist, aspiring braiders must pass an exam, as well as complete 1,200 credit hours (1,500 clock hours) of cosmetology training or 3,000 hours of a cosmetology apprenticeship over a three-year period. 

Source: Ala. Code § 34-7A-1(9), (12) (2005); Ala. Code § 34-7A-22(2) (2005). 

 

Alaska:  Status Unclear

Hairbraiding in Alaska may fall under the definition of hairdressing.  To practice hairdressing, a braider is required to pass an exam and complete either 1,650 hours of coursework or 2,000 hours as an apprentice over a one- to two-year period. 

Source: Alaska Stat. § 08.13.220(6)(B) (2005); Alaska Stat. § 08.13.080(a)(2), (4), (6) (2005); Alaska Stat. § 08.13.082(b) (2005); Alaska Stat. § 08.13.090 (2005); Alaska Admin. Code tit. 12 § 09.090 (2005).

 

Arizona:  Braiders Free to Practice

Arizona does not require hairbraiders to obtain a cosmetology license in order to practice braiding.  In 2004, the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter, on behalf of client Essence Farmer, won a legislative victory for all Arizona hairbraiders when the governor signed into law a statute exempting braiding entrepreneurs from the cosmetology license requirements.

Source: Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 32-506(10) (2005). 

 

Arkansas:  Status Unclear

Arkansas law does not specifically mention hairbraiding, but the practice may fall under the definition of cosmetology.  To obtain a cosmetology license, braiders must pass an exam and complete at least 1,500 hours of training. 

Source: Ark. Code § 17-26-102(b)(1) (2005); Ark. Code § 17-26-302 (2005); Ark. Code § 17-26-304(4) (2005).

 

California:  Braiders Free to Practice

In California, braiders are exempt from cosmetology licensing laws.  As long as African hairbraiders do not combine braiding with other practices—like chemical dyeing or straightening—they are free to practice their art without burdensome regulations.  In 1999, the Institute for Justice, together with client Dr. JoAnne Cornwell, won this victory for California braiders after a court struck down a previous law requiring braiders to complete a long and expensive cosmetology course. 

Source: Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 7316(d)(2), (f) (2005).

 

Colorado:  Cosmetology License Required

The state of Colorado requires hairbraiders to obtain a hairstyling or cosmetology license.  The hairstyling license requires braiders to pass an exam and complete 1,140 clock hours of training; cosmetologists must pass an exam and complete 1,450 clock hours.

Source: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-8-103(9) & (9.7)(c) (2005); Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-8-110 (2005); Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-8-114(3) (2005); 4 Colo. Code Regs. § 731-1, Rule 7 (2005).

Effective July 1, 2006, hairstylists will need to show completion of a 40-credit course; cosmetologists will need to complete a 60-credit course.

 

Connecticut:  Braiders Free to Practice

African hairbraiders in Connecticut are exempt from cosmetology and hairdressing licensing laws, leaving them free to work without unnecessary government regulations standing in the way.  Connecticut does require a license for those who want to weave hair, but as long as braiders do not incorporate this technique they can freely practice their trade.

Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-250(4) (2004), and as amended by 2005 Conn. ALS 272, sec. 11.

 

Delaware:  Status Unclear

In Delaware, the law is unclear, but hairbraiding may require a cosmetology license.  To obtain a cosmetology license, a braider must pass an exam and complete either 1,500 classroom hours (1,800 clock hours) of cosmetology training or 3,000 apprenticeship hours under a licensed cosmetologist.

Source: Del. Code tit. 24 § 5101(4), (9) (2005); Del. Code tit. 24 § 5107(a) (2005).

 

District of Columbia:  Specialized Braiding License Required

In Washington, D.C., hairbraiders may obtain a cosmetology specialty license in braiding.  This license requires an exam and either 100 hours of training in a cosmetology school or equivalent training and experience.  These requirements were put in place in 1992 in response to a lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice on behalf of Taalib-Din Uqdah and Pamela Ferrell, owners of Cornrows & Co.  But it took the Board over 10 years to adopt regulations to implement this change (during which braiding was legally practiced), with the regulations finally becoming fully effective only earlier this year.

Source: D.C. Code § 47-2853.06(c) (2005); D.C. Mun. Reg. tit. 17, § 3702.1(c)(1) (2005); D.C. Mun. Reg. tit. 17, § 3703.9 (2005); 50 D.C. Reg. 7699 (Sept. 12, 2003).

 

Florida:  Specialized Braiding License Required

Rather than require hairbraiders to obtain a cosmetology license that does not apply to their trade, Florida created a license specifically for hairbraiders.  Unfortunately, Florida’s specialty license does not allow braiders to practice hair extending—a practice commonly employed by African hairbraiders—or weaving.  Braiders in Florida must complete a 16-hour, 2-day health and sanitation course to become licensed, as well as pay a $25 biennial license fee.

Source: Fla. Stat. ch. 477.013(9) (2005); Fla. Stat. ch. 477.0132 (2005); Fla. Admin. Code r. 61G5-24.019(1) to (2) (2005).

 

Georgia:  Braiders Free to Practice

In response to complaints from local braiders, the Georgia legislature exempted hairbraiding from the definition of cosmetology in 2006.  As long as braiders do not cut, singe or shampoo hair, they are free to practice.

Source: S. 145, 148th Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (Ga. 2006).

 

Hawaii:  Status Unclear

Hawaii law does not specifically mention hairbraiding, but braiders may still need to be licensed as a hairdresser or cosmetologist.  Licensed hairdressers must pass an exam and complete either a 1,250-hour training course or a 2,500-hour apprenticeship.  A cosmetology license requires an exam and either 1,800 hours of beauty school training or 3,600 hours of apprenticeship.

Source: Haw. Rev. Stat. § 439-1 (2004); Haw. Rev. Stat. § 439-11 (2004); Haw. Rev. Stat. § 439-12 (b) & (c) (2004).

 

Idaho:  Status Unclear, Cosmetology License Likely Required

In Idaho, hairbraiding is not specifically mentioned in the statute.  But cosmetology students record the number of braiding operations performed in their record of instruction.  Thus, it is likely that Idaho considers braiding to be part of cosmetology.  To become a licensed cosmetologist, braiders are required to pass an exam and complete either a 2,000-hour course or a 4,000-hour apprenticeship.

Source: Idaho Code § 54-802(1)(a) (2005); Idaho Admin. Code r. 24.04.01.500(.06)(a) (2005); Idaho Code § 54-805(1) (2005).

 

Illinois:  Cosmetology License Required

In Illinois, hairbraiding is included in the definition of cosmetology.  To earn a cosmetology license, braiders must pass an exam and finish a 1,500-hour cosmetology course.

Source: 225 Ill. Comp. Stat. 410/3-1 (2005); 225 Ill. Comp. Stat. 410/3-2(1)(c) & (d) (2005).

 

Indiana:  Status Unclear, Cosmetology License Likely Required

While not specifically mentioned in the statute, braiding is included in the cosmetology curriculum and is probably categorized as cosmetology.  To become licensed as a cosmetologist, hairbraiders in Indiana must pass a test and take a 1,500-hour cosmetology course.

Source: Ind. Code § 25-8-2-5(a)(1) (2005); Ind. Admin. Code tit. 820, r. 4-4-4(a) under “hairstyling” (2005); Ind. Code § 25-8-9-3(3) & (4) (2005); Ind. Code § 25-8-5-3(1) (2005).

 

Iowa:  Cosmetology License Required

Iowa defines hairbraiding as cosmetology, thus requiring braiders to be licensed cosmetologists.  Braiders must pass an exam and complete a 2,100-clock-hour cosmetology course (70 semester credit hours).

Source: Iowa Code § 157.1(5)(a) (2004); Iowa Code § 157.3(1) (2004), as amended by 2005 Iowa ALS 89, sec. 24 (2005 Iowa House File 789); Iowa Code § 157.10(1) (2004).

 

Kansas:  Braiders Free to Practice

Braiders in Kansas are exempt from cosmetology regulations.  To qualify for exemption, braiders must fill out the “self-test” portion of a brochure on sanitation and keep the brochure and self-test available as a reference at their workplace.

Source: Kan. Stat. § 65-1901(d)(2) (2004); Kan. Stat. § 65-1928 (2004).

 

Kentucky:  Status Unclear

Although not specifically mentioned in the statute, in Kentucky hairbraiding may still be considered cosmetology.  To obtain a cosmetology license, braiders must pass an exam, complete a 1,800-hour cosmetology course, and complete a six-month apprenticeship.

Source: Kent. Rev. Stat. § 317A.010(2)(c) (2004); Kent. Rev. Stat. § 317A.050(1) & (2) (2004); Kent. Rev. Stat. § 317A.090(1) (2004).

 

Louisiana:  Specialized Braiding License Required

Louisiana offers a specialized alternative hair design license for braiders.  To obtain this license, braiders must take a 1,000-hour course and pass an exam.

Source: La. Admin. Code tit. 46, § XXXI.101(A) (2005); La. Admin. Code tit. 46, § XXXI.1105(A) (2005); La. Admin. Code tit. 46, § XXXI.1107 (2005).

 

Maine:  Status Unclear

While not explicitly listed, the state of Maine may consider hairbraiding to fall within the category of cosmetology.  As cosmetologists, braiders are required to pass an exam and complete either a 1,500-hour cosmetology course or a 2,500-hour apprenticeship.

Source: Maine Rev. Stat. tit. 32, § 14202(9)(D) & (E) (2004); Maine Rev. Stat. tit. 32, § 14226 (2004).

 

Maryland:  Braiders Free to Practice

Braiders in Maryland are exempt from cosmetology licensing requirements, leaving them free to pursue their chosen careers.

Source: Md. Code, Bus. Occ. & Prof. § 5-101(k)(2)(iii) (2005).

 

Massachusetts:  Status Unclear

Although hairbraiding is not specifically mentioned in Massachusetts law, it may fall hairdressing.  To earn a hairdressing license, braiders must first register with the state as an Operator.  To register, a 1,000-hour course and an oral, written, and practical (“hands on”) test is required.  A braider would then work for two years under supervision before being able to register as a hairdresser.

Source: Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 112, §§ 87T, V, W (2005).

 

Michigan:  Braiders Free to Practice

Michigan does not require a license to braid hair.  However, a voluntary license to practice “natural hair cultivation” is available for braiders.  This requires an exam, if available (otherwise, six months of practical experience), and either a 400-hour course or a six-month apprenticeship.  Again, this specialized license is purely voluntary and is not required to braid hair in Michigan.

Source: Mich. Comp. Laws § 339.1210a (2005); Mich. Comp. Laws § 339.1201(b), (m) & (n) (2005).

 

Minnesota:  Braiders Free to Practice

Until recently, hairbraiding in Minnesota appeared to fall within the definition of cosmetology.  Becoming a licensed cosmetologist required passing an exam and completing a 1,550-hour course.  Due to the efforts of the Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter and three Minnesota braiders, these restrictions have been lifted and braiders are free to work.  An agreed order requires the Board to implement new regulations exempting braiders by April 20, 2006.

Source: Minn. Stat. § 155A.03(2) (2005); Minn. R. 2105.0140(B) (2005); Minn. R. 2105.0150(A) (2005); 30 Minn. Reg. 449 (October 31, 2005).

 

Mississippi:  Braiders Free to Practice

Hairbraiders in Mississippi are not required to have a cosmetology license.  Instead, braiders must pay $25 to register with the Mississippi Department of Health, complete the “self-test” portion of a brochure on infection control techniques, and keep the brochure available at their workplace.  In April 2005, the Institute for Justice won this freedom for African hairbraiders when Governor Haley Barbour signed House Bill #454 into law.

Source: Miss. Code § 73-7-31(d) (2005); Miss. Code § 73-7-71 (2005).

 

Missouri:  Cosmetology License Required

While the statute does not specifically mention hairbraiding, recent administrative hearings in Missouri have determined that braiding falls within the definition of cosmetology.  To become licensed, braiders must pass an exam and complete one of the following: a 1,500-hour course, 1,220 hours of vocational instruction, or a 3,000-hour apprenticeship.

Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 329.010(5)(a) (2005); State Bd. of Cosmetology v. Desouza, No. 04-1152, 2005 Mo. Admin. Hearings LEXIS 171, *8 (Sept. 23, 2005); Mo. Rev. Stat. § 329.050.1 (2005).

 

Montana:  Status Unclear, Cosmetology License Likely Required

While hairbraiding is not specifically mentioned in the statue, Montana does list braiding in the cosmetology curriculum.  Thus it is likely that Montana will treat braiding as falling within the definition of hairdressing.  A cosmetology license requires passing an exam and completing a 2,000-hour cosmetology course.

Source: Mont. Code § 37-31-101(9)(a) (2005); Mont. Admin. R. 24.121.807(3)(a)(vi) (2005); Mont. Code § 37-31-304(3)(a) (2005).

Extending and weaving is also included in the barbering curriculum.  Mont. Admin. R. 24.121.807(2)(a)(iv) (2005).

 

Nebraska:  Status Unclear, Cosmetology License Likely Required

Despite the term not appearing in the statutory definition of cosmetology, Nebraska appears to include hairbraiding in the cosmetology curriculum.  To become licensed cosmetologists, braiders are required to pass an exam and complete a 2,100-hour course (2,000 credits) or apprenticeship.

Source: Neb. Rev. Stat. § 71-351 (2005); Neb. Admin. Code tit. 172, § 36-012A (2005); Neb. Rev. Stat. § 71-387 (2005).

Hair weaving is included under the definition of barbering.  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 71-202 (2005).

 

Nevada:  Status Unclear

Although not specifically mentioned in the statute, hairbraiding in Nevada may fall under the definition of either cosmetology or hair designing.  Earning a cosmetology license requires a braider to take a test and complete either a 1,800-hour course or a 3,600-hour apprenticeship.  Becoming a hair designer requires braiders to pass an exam and complete a 1,200-hour cosmetology course. 

Source: Nev. Rev. Stat. § 644.023(3) (2004); Nev. Rev. Stat. § 644.0277(3) (2004); Nev. Rev. Stat. § 644.200 (2004); Nev. Rev. Stat. § 644.204 (2004).

Hair weaving is included in the barbering definition.  Nev. Rev. Stat. § 644.010(7) (2004).

 

New Hampshire:  Status Unclear

Although hairbraiding is not specifically mentioned in the statute, New Hampshire may include hairbraiding within the definition of cosmetology.  To become a licensed cosmetologist, braiders must pass an exam and complete either a 1,500-hour course or a 3,000-hour apprenticeship spanning at least two years.

Source: N.H. Rev. Stat. § 313-A:1(VI) (2004); N.H. Rev. Stat. § 313-A:11(I) (2004).

 

New Jersey:  Status Unclear

New Jersey law does not specifically mention hairbraiding, but it does include “hairweaving.”  Braiding may fall under the definition of cosmetology.  Braiders seeking a cosmetology-hairstyling license must pass an exam and complete either a 1,200-hour course from a licensed school of cosmetology and hairstyling or a vocational program offered through the public schools.

Source: N.J. Rev. Stat. § 45:5B-3(j)(2) & (9) (2005); N.J. Rev. Stat.§ 45:5B-17 (2005).

 

New Mexico:  Status Unclear, Cosmetology License Likely Required

While hairbraiding is not specifically mentioned in the statute, New Mexico regulations include hairbraiding within the cosmetology curriculum.  To earn a cosmetology license, braiders must pass an exam and complete a 1,600-hour course.

Source: N.M. Stat. § 61-17A-4(A) (2005); N.M. Admin. Code § 16.34.8.15(C)(5)(m)–(p) (2005); N.M. Stat. § 61-17A-9 (2005).

Braiding is also included in the barbering curriculum.  N.M. Admin. Code § 16.34.8.15(B)(5)(m)–(p) (2005).

 

New York:  Specialized Braiding License Required

In New York, hairbraiders can obtain a specialty “natural hair styling” license by passing an exam and completing a 300-hour course of study.  But many New York cosmetology schools do not offer the natural hair styling curriculum, making the license difficult to obtain.

Source: N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 400(5) (2005); N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law  § 406(2)(b) (2005); 19 N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. § 162.3(a) (2005).

 

North Carolina:  Braiders Free to Practice

According to regulations adopted by the North Carolina State Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners, hairbraiders in North Carolina are considered “natural hair braiders” and do not need to obtain a cosmetology license.  Braiders are free to work without unnecessary state regulation.  When braiders provide any additional service included within the regulated field of cosmetic art—such as hair cutting or the application of dyes or chemicals—they are considered “natural hair stylists” and must obtain a cosmetology license.

Source: N.C. Admin. Code tit. 21, r. 14A.0101(10) & (11) (2005).

 

North Dakota:  Status Unclear

Although hairbraiding is not specifically mentioned in the statute, North Dakota may include braiding under the definition of cosmetology.  Obtaining a cosmetology license requires passing an exam and completing a 1,800-hour course.

Source: N.D. Cent. Code § 43-11-01(2) (2005); N.D. Cent. Code § 43-11-24 (2005); N.D. Cent. Code § 43-11-21 (2005); N.D. Cent. Code § 43-11-16(2) (2005).

 

Ohio:  Specialized Braiding License Required

In Ohio, braiders can obtain a specialty “natural hair styling” license by passing an exam and completing a 450-hour hairbraiding course.  But since its inception, only 21 braiders have earned the natural hair styling license.

Source: Ohio Rev. Code § 4713.01 (2005); Ohio Rev. Code § 4713.24 (2005); Ohio Rev. Code § 4713.28(D) & (J) (2005).

 

Oklahoma:  Specialized Braiding License Required

In Oklahoma, braiders can obtain a specialty “hairbraiding technician” license by passing an exam and completing either a 600-clock-hour course (20 credit hours) or a 1,200-hour apprenticeship under a licensed instructor.

Source: Okla. Stat. tit. 59, § 199.1(11) (2005); Okla. Admin. Code § 175:10-9-25 (2004); Okla. Admin. Code § 175:10-3-43(b) (2004); Okla. Admin. Code § 175:10-9-2(a)(5) (2004); Okla. Stat. tit. 59, § 199.8 (2005).

 

Oregon:  Cosmetology License Required

By Administrative Code, Oregon includes hairbraiding under hair design.  Earning a hair design license involves passing an exam and completing 1,700 hours of training (1,450 in hair design + 250 in sanitation and career development).

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. § 690.005(10) (2003); Or. Admin. R. 817-005-0005(37) (2005); Or. Rev. Stat. § 690.046 (2003); Or. Rev. Stat. § 345.400(3) (2003).

 

Pennsylvania:  Specialized Braiding License Required

Pennsylvania created a natural hairbraiding license in 2006, requiring braiders to complete 300 hours of training plus an exam.  Braiders who can provide proof that they have continuously practice for the three year immediately proceeding implementation of the new license will be grandfathered in after completing only 150 hours of training (if they apply within one year of the board’s promulgation of the new natural hairbraiding regulations).

Source: Cosmetology Law, as amended by S. 707, 2005 Reg. Sess. (Sept. 5, 2006) (to be codified at 63 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 507 et seq.); see also Diwara v. State Bd. of Cosmetology, 852 A.2d 1279, 1286 (Pa. Commw. 2004).

Hair weaving is also included in the definition of barbering.  63 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 552.1 (2005).

 

Rhode Island:  Status Unclear

Although not specifically mentioned in Rhode Island statutes, hairbraiding may come under the definition of hairdressing or cosmetic therapy (which does include the term “weaving”).  In order to obtain a hairdresser’s or cosmetician’s license, braiders must pass an exam and complete a 1,500-hour course.

Source: R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-10-1(10) & (16) (2005); R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-10-8(a)(5) & (6) (2005); R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-10-9(1) (2005). 

 

South Carolina:  Specialized Braiding License Required

African hairbraiders in South Carolina can obtain a specialized braiding license.  To earn this license, braiders must complete a six-hour health and sanitation class, pass an exam, and pay a $25 registration fee.  Unfortunately, this specialty license specifically excludes the use of extensions or wefts, a practice commonly employed by hairbraiders.  Braiders who wish to use extensions must complete the full cosmetology curriculum of 1,500 hours plus an exam.

Source: 2005 S.C. Senate Bill 509, to be codified at S.C. Code § 40-7-255 and S.C. Code § 40-7-20(2); S.C. Code § 40-13-230 (2004).

Hairbraiding is also included in the definition of barbering.  2005 S.C. Senate Bill 509, to be codified at S.C. Code § 40-7-255 and S.C. Code § 40-7-20(2).

 

South Dakota:  Cosmetology License Required

South Dakota includes hairbraiding under the definition of cosmetology.  To become licensed, braiders must pass an exam and complete either a 2,100-hour cosmetology course or a 3,000-hour apprenticeship.

Source: S.D. Codified Laws § 36-15-2(1) (2005); S.D. Codified Laws § 36-15-19.1 (2005); S.D. Codified Laws § 36-15-17(2) (2005); S.D. Codified Laws § 36-15-45 (2005).

 

Tennessee:  Specialized Braiding License Required

In Tennessee, hairbraiders can obtain a specialty “natural hair styling” license by passing a test and completing a 300-hour course.

Source: Tenn. Code § 62-4-102(a)(14) & (15) (2005); Tenn. Code § 62-4-110(f) (2005).

Hair weaving is also included in the definition of barbering.  Tenn. Code § 62-3-105(6) (2005).

 

Texas:  Specialized Braiding License Required

In Texas, braiding is included in the definition of cosmetology, but the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation has the power to create specialty licenses.  As of June 14, 2006, the Commission offers a specialty certificate in braiding, so long as braiders do not shampoo, condition or dry hair or use glue when adding extensions.  To obtain this certificate, braiders must complete a short 35-hour course.  A hairweaving specialty license is also available, requiring an exam and a 300-hour course.  Under Texas Occupations Code § 1602.002(b), the Commission has the power to exclude a service from the definition of cosmetology, i.e., the Commission has the authority to exempt braiders, but the Commission has not opted to do so.

Source: Tex. Occ. Code § 1602.002(a)(2) (2005). Tex. Occ. Code § 1602.258 (2005); e-mail on file with the Institute for Justice (regulations for the new braiding specialty have not yet published); 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 89.31(b) (2005); 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 89.72(7) (2005); 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 89.15(i) (2005).

Hair weaving is also included in the definition of barbering.  Tex. Occ. Code § 1601.002(1)(H) (2005).

 

Utah:  Status Unclear

Although Utah’s statutory definition does not specifically mention hairbraiding, it does include “hair weaving.”  Hairbraiding may likewise fall under the definition of cosmetology.  To become a certified cosmetologist, braiders must pass an exam and complete either a 2,000-hour cosmetology course or a 2,500-hour apprenticeship.

Source: Utah Code § 58-11a-102(21)(a) (2005); Utah Code § 58-11a-302(1) (2005); Utah Code § 58-11a-306(1) (2005).

 

Vermont:  Status Unclear

Although not specifically mentioned in the statute, hairbraiding in Vermont may be included in the definition of cosmetology.  Braiders seeking a cosmetology license must pass an exam and complete either a 1,500-hour course or a 2,000-hour apprenticeship.

Source: Vt. Stat. tit. 26, § 271(3)(A) (2005); Vt. Stat. tit. 26, § 283 (2005); Vt. Stat. tit. 26, § 278 (2005); Vt. Code R. 04-030-030(3.2) & (3.6) (Weil 2005).

 

Virginia:  Specialized Braiding License Required

Virginia considers hairbraiding to be a part of cosmetology.  However, the state offers an alternative “hair braider” license.  To obtain this specialized license, braiders must complete a 170-hour course and pass an exam.

Source: Va. Code § 54.1-700 (2005); 20 Va. Regs. Reg. 2639 to 2646 (July 26, 2004), to be codified at 18 Va. Admin. Code § 41-30-10 et seq.

The emergency regulation providing for the hairbraiding license expired June 30, 2005, but as of the date of this report, the regulation remains posted on the website for the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

 

Washington:  Braiders Free to Practice

Braiders in Washington used to be considered cosmetologists, thus subject to an examination plus a 1,600-hour course or apprenticeship.  But the Institute for Justice Washington Chapter—on behalf of African hairbraider Benta Diaw—was able to persuade the state’s department of licensing to abandon its unnecessary regulations for braiders.  According to an Interpretive Statement filed in 2005 by the Washington State Department of Licensing, hairbraiders are no longer required to have a cosmetology license to braid hair.

Source: Wash. Rev. Code § 18.16.020(6) (2005); Wash. Rev. Code § 18.16.100(1)(b) & (c) (2005); Wash. St. Reg. 05-04-013 (January 24, 2005).

 

West Virginia:  Status Unclear

African hairbraiding in West Virginia appears may fall under the definition of beauty culture/cosmetology.  To earn a beautician/cosmetologist license, braiders must pass an exam and complete 2,000 hours of instruction at a licensed beauty school.

Source: W. Va. Code § 16-14-2 (2005); W. Va. Code § 30-27-3 (2005); W. Va. Code St. R. § 3-1-4.1 (2005); W. Va. Code St. R. § 3-1-6.1 (2005).

 

Wisconsin:  Status Unclear; Cosmetology License Likely Not Required

Although not specifically mentioned in the Wisconsin statute, hairbraiding may fall under the category of cosmetology.  While the board has not issued a written statement of its position, staff members verbally informed IJ attorneys that braiding did not require a license at the current time.  To become a licensed cosmetologist, braiders would need to pass an exam and complete a 1,800-hour cosmetology course or 4,000-hour apprenticeship (including 288 hours of classroom instruction).

Source: Wis. Stat. § 454.01(5)(a) (2005); Wis. Stat. § 454.06(2) (2005); Wis. Stat. § 454.10 (2005).

 

Wyoming:  Cosmetology License Required

Hairbraiding is not specifically mentioned in Wyoming statutes, but administrative rules include braiding within the definition of cosmetology.  Braiders seeking a cosmetology license must pass an exam and complete a 2,000-hour course.  In 2005, Wyoming amended its Cosmetology Act to allow for individualized licensing as a hair stylist, requiring only 1,250 hours.

Source: Wyo. Stat. § 33-12-120(a)(v) and (ix) (2005); Code Wy. R. § 006-033-001, § 7 (Weil 2005); Wyo. Stat. § 33-12-130 (2005); Code Wy. R. § 006-033-006, §§ 1 & 2 (Weil 2005).


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