A Call for Spa Professionals to
Protect Our Industry’s Future
The U.S. Department of Education’s new “Gainful
Employment” regulations threaten to disrupt spa and salon
employers’ access to qualified professionals.
As the spa industry continues to thrive, new regulations put forth by the U.S.
Department of Education (DOE) threaten employers’ and consumers’ long-term
access to educated, qualified beauty and wellness professionals, including
massage therapists, estheticians, cosmetologists and nail professionals.
Specifically, the threat stems from regulations that would restrict federal funds
(financial aid) for students pursuing career training at “trade schools.” In
addressing the national issue of student debt levels, the DOE has placed trade
schools in its crosshairs, creating a situation that could ultimately result in a
shortage of qualified beauty and wellness professionals.
LYNELLE LYNCH is the president
of Bellus Academy, leading
institution for advanced education
which San Diego Magazine dubbed
as “the Harvard of Beauty Schools.”
Lynch’s multi-faceted background
is painted with professional
achievements in fashion, business,
marketing and even politics, but it
is at Bellus Academy where she has
discovered her true passion.
Her entrepreneurial spirit and
commitment to excellence has
earned her multiple awards,
including SD Business Journal’s
“Women Who Mean Business
Award” (2012) and AACS “Director
of the Year” (2012 and 2008), and
the San Diego Chamber of
Commerce’s Women in Business –
Winner of the Small Business
Achievement Award (2010).
A Closer Look at Gainful
What does Gainful Employment mean to
you? Many people would describe a
gainful career as one offering plenty of
opportunity and abundant market
Unfortunately, such a rational
definition of Gainful Employment is not
what the DOE has in mind. At the same
time, the U.S. Department of Labor
projects a 38 percent increase in job
growth for skin-care professionals, the
DOE has chosen to define a career
education program’s success based on the
income that a graduate earns the first year
out of beauty school. Such a restrictive
basis for evaluating a career program’s
success could put the future of the beauty
and wellness industry—including the
professional spa industry—at risk.
The American Association of
Cosmetology Schools (AACS) estimates
that as many as one-third of its member
institutions—who provide 87 percent of
the nation’s licensed estheticians, cosmetologists, barbers, massage therapists, and
nail technicians—could be forced to
close within the next two years
without Congressional intervention.