How do I get a Cosmetology License?

A cosmetology license is permission from a professional board to work in salons in the state where they are licensed. To obtain a cosmetology license, you must meet specific state requirements and pass an exam administered your state’s board of cosmetology. In most cases, attendance at a cosmetology school is required before an exam can be given.

Before you can take an exam for the issuance of a cosmetology license, you will need to complete a certain number of hours of instruction at a cosmetology school, depending on your state of residence. Salons are governed a state board in most states. The state board also writes and enforces laws governing salon operations, as well as administering proctored exams and issuing licenses. The licensing rules in each state may differ, but they will all require some form of formal training and instruction, as well as ongoing education.

Any accredited cosmetology school will have the necessary resources to help students prepare for the state board exam. Some vocational schools provide training to high school students, but many others are self-contained and offer vocational training after graduation. The most common method of instruction and training is a combination of theoretical and practical instruction. Much of the training takes place in textbook-filled classrooms as well as practical “labs” where students practice cutting, coloring, and chemical techniques on mannequins or other students. After accumulating a sufficient number of hours and credits, the student will be able to put their newfound knowledge to use on other people who come to the school for discounted salon services.

Students are eligible to take the state board exam once they have completed the required number of hours of training. The exam consists of written and practical tests that are observed and graded board members. Licensing and the exam both have fees associated with them. Following successful completion of both parts of the exam, the state will issue a cosmetology license.

In order to qualify for renewal of a cosmetology license, continuing education credit hours must be obtained between the time the license is issued and the time it expires. Some states issue two-year licenses, while others may issue licenses with different terms. To obtain a managing or instructors cosmetology license, which allows an individual to teach at a cosmetology school, some states require additional testing.

Visit your state’s board of cosmetology’s website or call the board for information on cosmetology licensing and schools.