Find Programs Near You
What are the Education Requirements for Getting My Cosmetologist’s License?
If you are looking for a beauty career that gives you the chance to work with clients of all needs, backgrounds, and ages, you are in the right place. Cosmetology is a very flexible field of study for new beauty students, since it covers hair care, skin care, nail technology, and some specialty procedures. Cosmetology is a highly regulated profession, so get ready to learn more about beauty schools and what you need to do to become a cosmetologist.
Cosmetology programs are usually the most popular program in the beauty field, so you should be able to find a variety of training options in your area. It’s important to compare training hours at different schools, since it’s likely that you’ll feel more prepared with more experience. On top of that, the Board of Cosmetology in your state will not license you unless you have a set amount of training hours. Most states require between 1500 and 2100 hours.
To prepare for the licensing exam, you’ll need to develop lots of skills and study the theory of cosmetology. The coursework in your program may touch on hair cutting, hair coloring, hair styling, manicures and pedicures, and skin care.
Choosing a school that is accredited through the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges is one way to pick a school that is focused on your education and success.
Cosmetology Licensing by State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
What Are the Initial Licensing Requirements For Cosmetologists?
Your training hours are only the first part of getting your foot in the door! Once you are close to graduating, you have to start getting ready to earn your license. This involves passing a set of tests administered by the Board of Cosmetology.
In some states, you can take your test before you finish your training hours, as long as you finish your hours before you begin working. In others, you cannot register for either the written exam or the skills exam until you are 100% done with your program.
The process of getting your license also requires you to submit proof of your training hours to the state board and complete an extensive application. Application and testing fees are usually between $25 and $100.
After the board has vetted you and approved you, you can receive your license and you are ready to head out into the exciting world of cosmetology. The licensing process protects skilled, dedicated cosmetologists from those who would otherwise claim the title of cosmetologist and provide poor service to clients.
How Do I Renew My Cosmetology License?
Even if you have never stepped foot into a salon before, you know that beauty styles are always changing. Some of the tools used by cosmetologists today weren’t even available a few years ago! Because of this, license renewal is required in almost every state.
You’ll find that most states require biennial renewal, but some states require you to renew your license every year. Renewing is usually quite a bit easier than getting your initial license. You still have to fill out a renewal application, but fees tend to be lower and you do not normally have to re-test.
It’s likely that you’ll need to complete some continuing education hours during each renewal period. Some states require as many as 12 CEUs per year, while other states don’t have any continuing education requirements. Make sure you choose continuing education providers that are approved by the Board of Cosmetology, otherwise your hours may not count. You might be able to meet your state’s expectations by attending trade shows, going to safety events, or completing standard training events.
Can I Use My Cosmetology License In Other States?
If you want to move to another state or explore your opportunities in another part of the country, no worries. Thanks to reciprocity and license transfer options, you can use your education and license from one state to obtain a cosmetology license in another state. If your home state requires more hours than the state that you are moving to, you likely do not have to do anything other than fill out the reciprocity application and have your certification sent to the board in your new state.
If the training requirements in your home state are less extensive than those in your new state, you’ll need to make up the difference. You can do this by attending courses in your new state or using work experience in place of training hours. Your options depend on which state you are coming from and which state you are moving to. Plan on paying fees to have your certification sent to your new board and to process your reciprocity application.