Understand: Trade Training

SAN ANTONIO – Earlier this year Texas lawmakers introduced a bill that would no longer require cosmetologists to be licensed at the state level. The bill argued that there were too many training hours required, making it difficult for people to get into the industry.

That got KSAT reporter Sarah Acosta thinking, "How many training hours are required in other trades?"

Turns out, there's quite a few trades that require extensive training hours.

Sanitation, health and keeping you alive are all part of why it takes so many training hours to get state occupational licenses in fields such as cosmetology, plumbing and emergency medical services.

It takes 1,500 hours to get a Texas state license in cosmetology, and all of those training hours must happen before you can pick up scissors and get paid.

Cosmetologist and co-owner of The Strand Salon and Spa Jessica Ramirez said 1,500 hours is just too many.

“Maybe half, maybe 700 hours,” Ramirez said.

She hopes lawmakers can change it to where a cosmetologist can spend less of those hours in the classroom and do them as an apprenticeship, similar to other trades.

“(Emergency medical technicians), electricians and plumbers -- they do it with a lot less hours in the classroom and more apprentice programs and on-job training,” Ramirez said.

Almost all of the 4,000 training hours to get a tradesmen license in plumbing are spent as an apprentice, working along an experienced plumber.

Another 4,000 hours of training are required to get a plumbing journeymen license, which takes about four years. If you want to be a master plumber, more hours and years are required.

“Some people think they are plumbers and they may go out there and plug up a temperature relief on a water heater and the water heater blows and takes out the house,” said Charles Groth, plumbing service manager for Shafer Plumbing, about unqualified workers.

Groth said the thousands of hours are required because plumbers are dealing with preventing sewage water or gases from getting into a home or building.

“If you don't do it right, somebody can get sick or eventually die,” Groth said.

Becoming an entry-level EMT requires less hours than any of these trades -- 165 hours. To become a paramedic, it’s 1,080 hours. CJ Winckler, deputy medical director with the San Antonio Fire Department says that's not including the 15 weeks of academy and six months of clearance training.

“By the time you are done, it is getting up to those 2,000 (to) 4,000 hours of training that some of the other professions have,” Winckler said.

Winckler said whether the amount of hours should be increased has become a recent topic in the medical field.

“It’s been talked about quite a bit recently,” Winckler said. “Do we need to raise that? What is the standard? How do you define a standard?”

State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, who filed the bill that would get rid of cosmetology licenses, released a statement saying that bill would no longer get rid of those licenses. He said after meeting with cosmetologists, he has decided that moving forward with the bill would create a group devoted to studying the field in order to make the training for cosmetology easier, while keeping health and safety a priority.

Shaheen released the following statement: 

“Those meetings have been incredibly productive. As a result of these conversations HB 1705 will no longer abolish the licensing requirement for cosmetologist and barbers. I am moving forward with legislation that will direct the state licensing agency to perform a study of specialty licenses in the cosmetology field to determine the optimal level of training needed while still protecting the health and safety of Texans. The study will determine what improvements- if any- can be made to remove obstacles to employment and reward hard work, while continuing focus on keeping Texans safe.”

The following lists the hours of training required for more state occupational licenses:

A HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) license requires four years of experience working with AC and refrigerators under the supervision of licensed technician.

A residential wireman license requires a minimum of 4,000 hours of on-the-job training under a master electrician. 


About the Author

Sarah Acosta is a weekend Good Morning San Antonio anchor and a general assignments reporter at KSAT12. She joined the news team in April 2018 as a morning reporter for GMSA and is a native South Texan.

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