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VERIFY: Do Michigan barbers get more training than police?

State licensing authorities require police officers complete a minimum of 594 hours of training.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — With the increased focus on the training police officers receive in the wake of the officer-involved shooting death of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, a claim regarding just how long it takes to join the force has gone viral...

It suggests that, under state law, officers receive less training than many other professions during the certification process.

THE CLAIM

“Barbers undergo a longer training period under Michigan law than police officers.”

OUR SOURCES

THE RESULT

This is true.

Correct. The state’s hourly requirements for certification are less for police officers than barbers.

It’s worth emphasizing, however, that the training involved differs greatly, meaning it’s not necessarily a direct comparison.

WHAT WE FOUND

“I was one of the lucky ones to be able to do that training and get my license before I graduated high school,” said Emily Prow, owner of The Crue in Muskegon.

And the level of effort involved in securing a barber’s license recently changed, Prow said, with the state reducing the hourly requirement from 2,000 down to 1,800 hours.

“Continuing education is always important,” she said. “I think in any industry, especially if things are ever changing… always should be in the back of your mind to be successful.”

Police officers, meanwhile, are certified by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) which maintains a list of current requirements on its website.

At a minimum, under the law, the agency requires training academies to teach the state’s basic curriculum.

That’s 594 hours, though most do ask for longer.

The Academy at Grand Rapids Community College, for example, divides that into 40 credit hours over two semesters, addressing topics including firearms, criminal law and various procedures.

In comparison, state licensing authorities require licensed massage therapists to complete at least 625 hours of training; certified electricians, 8,000; and for plumbers, it’s 6,000 to be certified as a journeyman.

Most also involve some continuing education component.

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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