The whole hair braiding thing is very interesting. I went to beauty school at night for fun while working during the day at a tech company. The beauty industry and the regulations of it are pretty fascinating. In CA a Cosmetology degree requires 1,600 hours and costs around $20k. I got a Nail Tech license, which was 400 hours and cost about $2.3k. Many students get portions of their tuition covered by FAFSA, but damn, $20k is still a lot of money. A huge majority of what you learn in beauty school is safety and sanitation, and it’s true that braiding is not taught in the course. Because you’re not dealing with shears with hair braiding or much contact with the skin, it does make sense that perhaps it could fall into a grey area. The only thing you need to learn is how to use barbacide to sanitize your combs and probably some contagious skin conditions to recognize. Maybe a shorter course that is about 100–200 hours? It’s hard for schools to even do Nail Tech only classes because they can’t field enough students, which makes the instructors too expensive.
The only thing that drives me crazy about all this is that your hair dresser probably went through more training in beauty school in terms of hours required than your local cop did at police academy, and probably by about 600–800 hours.