PEER Committee suggests reformation of Barber, Cosmetology boards

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, December 20, 2022

A recent report conducted by the Mississippi Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee – or PEER committee – suggests that the Mississippi Board of Barber Examiners and the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology be dissolved.

“The Barber Board experiences several issues that decrease the effectiveness and efficiency of the Board including: issues with regulatory activities, issues with financial management and controls, and administrative issues,” the PEER review’s conclusion said. 

Due to its ineffectiveness, the committee is suggesting that the two boards combine under the Mississippi Department of Health, creating a Barbering Advisory Council and Cosmetology Advisory Council within the department. 

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According to the committee’s review, the state of Mississippi has 2,134 licensed barber shops and schools in the state, but only 191 inspections occurred across the state in the 2022 fiscal year. The Board’s ineffective tests are also mentioned in the report, showing that only 39 percent of candidates attempting to pass the required licensure exams “resulted in grades sufficient for licensure.” 

Jason Tallie of Goolsby’s Hair World and Suavae Cuts has been a licensed barber for about a year and said that while he was unaware of the state’s recommendation, he supports reforming the process.

“It seems kind of outdated,” he said. “I recently had to reapply for my license and they don’t have anything online where you can fill something out. I still have to send in money orders.”

Tallie said that the test for licensure has gotten harder for potential applicants to pass, stating it took a friend three times to pass it even after having gone through barber school. 

He agreed that reform is needed, but cautioned against the complete dissolution of the board. 

“[The board]’s necessary, because barbers need regulation even though it’s a very laid-back industry,” he said. “I think they’re trying to do better, but there’s still a lot of work to do. There’s still a lot of room for growth in a lot of areas in Mississippi, not just the barber board.”

The Mississippi Board of Barber Examiners denied a request for comment.