Asian J Beauty Cosmetol. 2004; 2: 0.
A Study on the Amelioration of the Cosmetologist License System in
This study reviewed and analyzed problems with the current cosmetologist licensing system in
Korea under the perception that the system is crucial for development of human resources on the
national level. Based on the study's results, I suggest comprehensive ways to improve the system
First, cosmetologist licenses issuer should be the Minister of Health and Welfare. The current
system, which stipulates that mayors or governors of metropolitan cities (including Seoul) or provinces
issue the licenses, is hardly considered legitimate in that their competence has little relevance
to cosmetologist's job. Therefore, the issuer should be revised to the Minister of Health and
Welfare who is responsible for institutions related to cosmetologists and hairdressing business.
Secondly, we should introduce a esthetician license system. Under the current system, only licensed
cosmetologists can engage in skin-care business. It is irrational in light of characteristics of
the business. Moreover, given the current situation of the skin-care business community, estheticians
should be institutionalized as an independent occupation.
Thirdly, the cosmetologist license exams should be administered by the Minister of Health and
Welfare who deals with hairdressing affairs. However, if there are practical difficulties with administering
the exams, it is worth considering ways of entrusting the National Health Personnel
Licensing Examination Board of Korea with doing it.
Fourth, qualifications of application for cosmetologist license exams should be limited to those
who completed a fixed standard level of education. The current national technical qualification test
requires no particular application qualifications as prescribed in the National Technical Qualifications
Act. Yet, cosmetologist licensing systems in advanced countries qualify only those who finished a
certain period of course of study on hairdressing to apply for the cosmetologist license exams. That
is because hairdressing needs requires specialized techniques. Thus, we should limit application
qualification for the exam to only those who finished a certain level of education.
Lastly, separate legislation concerning cosmetologists should be enacted. It is unreasonable that
the law regarding cosmetologists and the hairdressing business is included in the Public Health
Control Act. A separate law that can meet the requirements of the system and the particularity of
the business should be enacted as soon as possible.
Since 1961 when the Barbering and Cosmetology Act was enacted, the licensing system has not
changed a lot with the exception of several amendments, failing to radically rectify irrational
provisions. Under the current situation where Korea's hairdressing is now as advanced as that of
developed countries, the above mentioned proposals should be reflected in the legislation policy as
ways to enhance public confidence in the cosmetologist license and to improve the efficiency of the