December 02, 2008
US Department of Labor Issues Opinion Letter on Cosmetology School Instructors and the Professional Exemption
Filed under: News
Vision Payroll

The US Department of Labor recently issued Administrator signed Opinion Letter FLSA2008-9. Although Opinion Letters only apply to the exact set of facts and circumstances presented in each case, they are a valuable aid in understanding current interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This Opinion Letter discusses whether instructors in a cosmetology school are teachers who qualify for the professional exemption of the FLSA.

The instructors in the instant case are licensed cosmetologists in addition to being licensed as instructors by their State Board of Cosmetology. The school is licensed by that board and accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences. This accreditation qualifies the school as an “educational establishment”. Although the instructors do not have teaching certificates, their primary duty is “teaching and instructing students in cosmetology theory, as well as in the practical part of the curriculum.” This means that the instructors are “teachers of skilled or semi-skilled trades and occupations.” Therefore, the instructors qualify under the professional exemption of the FLSA.

State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about this Opinion Letter.


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