RD11 - Report on the Need to Regulate Estheticians

Executive Summary:
The Board for Barbers and Cosmetology voted on March 5, 2001, to request the Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation (Board) to conduct a study to determine the need for regulation of estheticians. On November 13, 2001, the Board recommended that further coordinated study be done with the Department of Health Professions to determine the appropriate regulation of this and related occupations.

The Board conducted the study in accordance with Section 54.1-310 of the Code of Virginia which gives authority to study and make recommendations to the General Assembly on the need to regulate professions or occupations and, if so, the degree of regulation that should be imposed. Section 54.1-311 B. of the Code of Virginia, states that whenever the Board determines that a profession or occupation should be regulated, it shall consider degrees of regulation and shall regulate only to the degree necessary to fulfill the need for regulation and only upon approval of the General Assembly. In April 2002, the General Assembly established separate licensing categories for wax technicians, tattooists and body piercers under the Board for Barbers and Cosmetology.

The Board reviewed the competencies and standards of practice for estheticians in the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions. The study's objectives were to determine specialized skills and training, independent judgment required, actual harm and potential risk for harm to the consumer, the scope of practice, the economic impact of regulation, other alternatives than state regulation, and the least restrictive level of regulation that is consistent with the protection of the public's health, safety and welfare.

The Board conducted reviews of general policy literature, federal and states' laws and regulations, the definition and scope of practice for estheticians, and malpractice insurance coverage data. In addition three public hearings were conducted to receive comments from the public on the issue of state regulation.

Public comment supported regulation of estheticians but indicated that several license categories may be needed to encompass the different services provided and the training and education required to perform these services in a manner that protects the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Based on research and public comment, the Board has found convincing evidence to support regulation by mandatory licensure of Estheticians through the Board for Barbers and Cosmetology with appropriate exemptions. By reason of the evidence presented and duty to the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth, the Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation, after collaboration with the Department of Health Professions, hereby refers this report to the General Assembly and the Governor with copies to the Department of Health Professions and Board for Barbers and Cosmetology.