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Understanding Your State's Cosmetology License Requirements

Once you are almost finished with your cosmetology training, and graduation appears in the distance, it’s time to look closer at state and local licensing requirements.

Whether you are working toward a complete career in cosmetology or a specialty like nail technician, each state requires that you have a license in order to practice. While requirements vary depending on where you live, there are some factors that remain consistent nationwide.

Minimum Number Of Training Hours

Each state requires a minimum number of completed training hours in order to be eligible to receive a cosmetology license. Most states require students to attend an approved school to complete the minimum hours needed. State-approved schools offer a variety of learning opportunities, including hands-on and online training. In some states, apprenticeship hours are offered as an alternative to formal cosmetology training.

Pass A Practical Test

When getting licensed or certified for a cosmetology career, everything starts with education. Attending a quality beauty school will help you gain the skills needed to pass the licensing exam. For the hands-on portion of the exam, you will need to bring paperwork proving you’ve completed your hours, have a model to work on, and don’t forget a double set of all your tools (if you drop something, you aren’t allowed to pick it up). You’ll be in a room with many others, and you will be graded on your performance. Watch your time carefully to make sure you finish all your tasks.

Cosmetology exams vary in length, but typically, you will have four hours for the cosmetologist version and three hours for barbering. Manicurist and esthetician tests last about ninety minutes.

Pass A Written Examination

Most states require that you pass a written examination in order to obtain your cosmetology license. Most tests have around 100 multiple choice questions, and you’re usually allowed two hours to complete the exam. You will only be able to take the written exam after you have passed the physical exam and completed any remaining apprenticeship hours. Most states schedule the practical and written exam on the same day.

Regular License Renewal

Once you have passed the state-approved board exam, you will be required to renew your cosmetology license on a regular basis. Depending on the state where you are employed, you will be required to complete continuing education hours. You may also be required to complete a safety and sanitation quiz and possibly pay a license renewal fee.

If life takes you to another state, your cosmetology license can be transferred to the new place. The details of the transfer will vary depending on the state you are moving to.

Current Information, Tailored To You

Your state’s website is the best place to find licensing information for where you live. Laws and regulations change, so you’ll want to go to the source for the most updated information regarding cosmetology licenses. Search your state name plus “cosmetology board,” and choose the official website to learn more.

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