CHICAGO – Today the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) announced that it would be offering cosmetology testing in simplified Chinese. Before becoming a licensed cosmetologist, passage of this test is mandatory. Offering the test in Chinese will give Chinese speaking Illinoisans an opportunity to begin their careers without the barriers of taking the test in another language.
“Creating opportunity for new residents of Illinois is one of the keys to the resurgence of Illinois’ economy,” said Governor Pat Quinn. “This is the first of what we hope can be other programs offered to non-English speaking Illinoisans as we move forward.”
Allowing for the study of cosmetology and taking the necessary exam for licensure in Chinese, new cosmetologists will be able to start their careers with the bargaining power of a professional license to ensure they will not be taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. Cosmetologists who are licensed are not easily exploited by employers, who frequently pay unlicensed workers half of what they pay those with licenses.
“We’re working to ensure that everyone who seeks a professional license is able to prove their proficiency in the language they best understand,” said Acting Secretary of IDFPR, Manuel Flores. “That license opens doors of opportunities to professionals who choose to make Illinois their home.”
A successful Chinese-run beauty school based in Chinatown has been providing professional education to prospective cosmetologists for several years. The owner of the school, Mora Zheng, was originally licensed to practice in New York State in 1992 and took her original exam in Chinese. When she moved to Illinois in 1994, she wondered why the opportunity did not exist here. She has encountered numerous students over the years that have had to take the test multiple times before passing.
“I’m gratified that Governor Quinn recognizes the importance of creating opportunities for Illinois immigrants,” said Ms. Zheng. “I have had excellent students over the years that had trouble passing the exam in English and right now know of five students currently ready to take the exam and are excited about being able to take the exam in their first language.”
According to the 2010 census, the Chinese are the third largest Asian ethnic group in Illinois, where the Asian population in general has grown by almost 40% since 2000. In Chicago, there are more Chinese than any other Asian ethnic group. Many of them are immigrants.
The first simplified Chinese licensing exam could be offered as soon as February 3, 2014, if a candidate has met all the other requirements of licensure. When a candidate is approved to take the exam he or she will receive instructions on scheduling their exam date. IDFPR works with Continental Testing Services to offer a wide range of exams to people applying for licensure.
To schedule the test, candidates should visit Continental Testing Services website. There is also a Candidate Study Guide for the Illinois Cosmetology Examination in Chinese: Candidate Study Guide for the Illinois Cosmetology Examination in Chinese.