Local professionals fear training requirement changes

Posted at 6:47 PM, Nov 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 19:54:58-05

TULSA -- Tulsa professionals are worried people in their industry will no longer have to receive licenses to work. 

An occupational license task force was created to determine if the training requirements are appropriate for jobs that require licenses.

Melissa Houston, head of the task force, said her group is gathering information to present to lawmakers. Those lawmakers will work to determine if certain professions receive too much, too little or the correct amount of training. They will also decide if a license should be required to work in the industry or if there is another way to regulate the industry. 

Electric City owner and electrician Jeff Tilton is not a fan of the idea of less training for people in his business.

He said improper electric work can cause someone to get electrocuted or cause a fire.

The process to become an electrician is long. People start out as apprentices working under someone with more experience. It takes 8,000 work hours or four years, plus a four hour exam to move up to the next level known as a journeyman. 

Tilton believes there should even be more training required to work in his industry. 

"There are actually a lot of licensed electricians out there right now that I don't believe are qualified to be electricians," Tilton said. "I'm about to go to a house that was wired by a non-experienced electricians and half that house doesn't work. He took their money and left and now they have no recourse." 

Laura Hahn also wants more training. She is the owner of Suite 127 Salon and Spa in Tulsa. 

She does nail, massages and facials and takes pride in her work. Hahn went through hundreds of hours of training to learn her trades.

"It is really important to keep professionalism professional," Hahn said. "In this business, it may just seem like all we do is curl and cut hair and do eyebrow waxing but thee is way more than that." 

The salon owner is floored at the idea that the training she and thousands of others in her industry went through may not be required anymore. 

Hahn believes it would be detrimental to Oklahoma if cosmetologists and estheticians were no longer required to get licenses or undergo the hundreds of hours it takes to become one. 

"There's just a whole lot of damage that can be done to somebody," Hahn said. "It may not be life or death. Sometimes it is. We can spread all kinds of diseases if we are not using proper sanitation procedures." 

Houston said they do not have a firm number of industries that the task force is looking at, but it is likely several hundred. They are working to compile every industry that requires a license into one easy to use database. 

One thing that is for sure, even if the laws change, Hahn and Tilton said they do not plan to hire someone who has not gone through all of the training that is currently required in their field. 

"It's a huge liability for me," Hahn said. "I also have to have a shop license, so under my license I have to insure everyone that works here. I can only imagine that insurance would go sky high for me as an owner to not have people in here who are trained. I guess I could ask where do they go to school and they say 'nowhere', I don't think I would have them in here." 

The task force will hand over their findings to lawmakers in December. 

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