We asked 23,798 job seekers about their Cosmetology License. This is what they told us:
Every state requires that those who work in the cosmetology field–including cosmetologists, barbers, hair stylists, estheticians, nail technicians and electrologists–undergo training and testing to obtain certification. Cosmetology licenses must be awarded by the state the cosmetologist plans to practice in, and each state requires that licenses are displayed at a cosmetologist’s workstation.
The training requirements to become licensed in a cosmetology practice vary by state. All states allow for training through a licensed or accredited cosmetology school, and some states allow for an apprenticeship office that allow trainees to earn money and certification while working under a licensed professional or instructor. Each state offers provisions for those who have completed cosmetology training and practiced as a licensed cosmetology in another state or country.
Cosmetology school programs range in price from $5,000 to $20,000. License fees are set by each state, and they range between $10 and $156 and must be renewed every one to two years.
There are a variety of different license types issued by state boards of cosmetology or licensing boards within the cosmetology profession. The type of license issued determines which services the cosmetology professional is legally allowed to perform for a fee. Different states have different designations, but the most common cosmetology license types include:
Individual requirements for cosmetology licenses vary by state, but obtaining a license follows the same process in each state. Obtaining a license can take between a few weeks for a nail technician or esthetician program to two years for a full-scale cosmetology or barber license.
To obtain a cosmetology license, applicants must:
All licensed cosmetologists are required to undergo a training program. In most cases, training involves taking a course in the desired cosmetology practice at a state-licensed or accredited school of cosmetology. In some states, cosmetology students can be trained by working in their field under a licensed cosmetology professional or instructor.
Once training has been completed, students must apply to the state for testing. This involves proving age, education, completion of cosmetology training and U.S. citizenship or legal residency.
After reviewing an application for examination, the state will invite the applicant to take certification exams in their cosmetology field. The tests involve demonstrating their knowledge of cosmetology, as well as their knowledge of health, sanitation and ethics within their scope of work. In some states, applicants also are required to pass an examination proving their knowledge of the state’s rules and regulations regarding cosmetology.
Once all exams are passed, applicants can pay a fee to become fully licensed cosmetologists. Licenses must be renewed every one to two years to remain valid.
Those who have previously completed their cosmetology training or who have worked as licensed cosmetologists in other states or countries have an additional route to state certification. The cosmetologist must submit their education, certification and work history to the state licensing body in the new state for review. If the training, education and experience obtained are in line with the state's requirements, a license will be issued.
Each individual state has slightly different requirements for cosmetology licensing. Requirements by state are listed below.
Required for my current job
Make more money
Get an edge over other candidates
Help my career progression
“What I would have liked to know before going into the beauty industry is that it takes a lot of time and practice to be able to build your clientele and you have to put money out of your pocket to be successful.”
“Takes a long time to build clientele and it is hard on the body long term”
“To pick the right institute!! It matters when it comes to your education”
“In order to work in a salon you needed a license so i went to Ehove during my high school years to achieve my license.”
“For the make more money and get more knowladge in this field.”
“What I would advise someone interested in this certification is to have a job while training for the certification and save up as much as possible you will need to put money out of pocket in your business to be successful as well as practice as much as you can to be able to provide a good service and get experience before working in the industry.”
“Be ready to learn Testing is serious Have fun and love what you do”
“My advise is to go to a vocational school while your in high school.”
“I would like to suggest to other it help to make more money and easy to find the ko also.”
“Work their hardest & learn everything as quickly as possible”
All information on this page, including but not limited to price, cost, instructions, descriptions, and the content of a certification course, is presented for informational purposes only, may be an approximation, is subject to change, and may have been generated by third parties. Prior to enrolling in a course for a certification, please contact the proper school or certification administrators for information regarding certification requirements.