• Michael Bednarczuk, Ph.D.
    Former Senior Research Analyst

A January 2021 executive order requires Utah executive agencies to identify occupational regulations that are no longer necessary or can be reined in to reduce barriers to entry. One regulation that should be on the table is cosmetology licensing. This policy brief draws on a national study to explore the experiences of people pursuing cosmetology careers in Utah. Key findings include:   

  • State-mandated cosmetology school is expensive and time-consuming.  
  • Utah cosmetology programs do a poor job of graduating students on time—or even at all. 
  • Cosmetology school rarely pays off in terms of earnings. 
  • Our data suggest Utah’s licensing requirements are the reason cosmetology school takes so long.  

Together, these findings suggest cosmetology licensing fails aspiring beauty workers in the Beehive State; instead, licensing primarily serves to transfer wealth from students and taxpayers to cosmetology schools. Utah policymakers should take a hard look at whether licensing is the proper way to regulate cosmetology. 

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