New Law in Pennsylvania Results in Changes to Cosmetology Certification Procedures



The implementation of House Bill 1558 in Pennsylvania has resulted in sweeping changes that would affect cosmetologists in the state. The new state law introduces notable alterations to the certification process that aspiring cosmetologists are required to go through.

Before House Bill 1558 was approved, the certification process required examinees to go through a computer – based theory test alongside a practical demonstration of technical skills. Now, test protocol for future cosmetologists takes on the form of a single computer based examination. The contents of the test merge the theoretical aspects of the practice with a procedural skill portion. The lack of a practical based component in the certification process has raised an outcry among several practicing cosmetologists.

As a result of the house bill’s implementation, some people can be required to go through the certification process twice. If a candidate has gone through the one segment of the test but failed to complete the second portion of the previous certification process, he / she will be required to start from scratch. Every person who has failed to pass the previous test in full will be required by law to take the new computer based exam.

The new regulations have split opinions into several camps. Some people feel that this new paradigm may be an easier testing procedure while others fear that it fails to provide an accurate way of properly gauging a cosmetologist’s skills.

A large chunk of the controversy stems from the assertion that the new computer based test is biased towards the intellectual component of the profession. Cosmetologists have been quick to point out that, in theory, people who have read up on the theoretical component of the practice may pass the test but it does not immediately mean that they can practice the craft and make customer’s happy.

The lack of a skill demonstration component may yield a trickledown effect that compromises the quality of future cosmetology practitioners.