Getting Your Cosmetology License: What Needs To Be Done

Cosmetology License

Cosmetology pays well and allows you to work from home, and the demand for beauty services is at an all-time high. It’s no wonder that the beauty industry seems to be attracting everyone these days. 

Professionals who are licensed to deliver beauty services are known as cosmetologists. Hair cutting, coloring, and styling are all cosmetologists’ services. These services also include manicures, pedicures, and facial treatments.

To obtain a cosmetology license, you must demonstrate to the proper licensing agency that you are qualified to work in the field. Cosmetology school, which may last up to two years, is both a prerequisite and a preparation for licensing.

Cosmetology licenses are issued by state regulatory boards in most cases. Licensing criteria are imposed by state boards as well. As a result, requirements can and do differ significantly from state to state. You must, however, attend a certified cosmetology program. You must also complete a certain amount of training hours, and pass a thorough test in all states.

Understanding the licensure process, who issues them, and what to expect during the process is critical. Now is an excellent time to be a cosmetologist. These pointers will assist you in getting your cosmetology license.

Things to Know and Do Before Getting Your Cosmetology License

Education Requirements for a Cosmetology License

The first step in obtaining your cosmetology license is to complete education requirements by enrolling in a school that has been authorized by the state in which you wish to practice.

Because licenses differ by state, you must study from a source that may lead to a successful profession in the location where you desire it. To apply to most institutions, you’ll need a General Educational Development Test (GED) or a high school diploma.

A big advantage of the education requirement is that you will be able to focus on a specific area of emphasis that interests you, in addition to learning about the industry. You could go to school to focus just on cosmetics application and emerge with those talents and more. The number of study hours required to graduate varies by school and the cosmetology specialization.

Alternative to Cosmetology Schools

Source: Pexels

You can finish an apprenticeship program instead of going to school in several states. An apprenticeship entails working in the field under the supervision of a certified expert at a spa, salon, or similar facility.

The specialist will be particularly trained or licensed to mentor you, which means you will learn on the job—not in a classroom with mannequins or models, but a genuine working environment, seeing and practicing on real customers.

Research State Requirements

The state board is always the controlling licensing authority, however, the organization might differ from state to state. It’s usually the state department of cosmetology, although it can also be the department of health in rare situations. It’s the division of professions or the bureau of vocational licensing in other states.

If you want to get your beauty license, you’ll need to find out what your state’s exact criteria are. Before you may take the written test in some places, you must have completed a specified amount of apprenticeship hours.

In certain areas, performing a hairstyle in front of a board of certified cosmetologists is also required. After passing the physical test and completing your apprenticeship hours, you will be allowed to take the written exam.

The Required Written Exams

Before you can acquire your license, you must take and pass a rigorous exam, regardless of where you live. The test will most likely be administered by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). If not, your state will offer a similar exam.

The NIC test is divided into two sections: the theory, or written component, and the practical, or hands-on portion. There are one hundred and ten questions in the theoretical test, which are divided into four categories:

  • Scientific ideas 
  • Hair Care products and services 
  • Skincare products and services
  • Services and maintenance for your nails

The practical test is divided into ten sections, each of which is timed and done in a physical environment using real tools and mannequins or models. Thermal curling, haircutting, chemical waving, propensity test, and strand test, highlighting with foil, hair color retouch, hair relaxer, and blood exposure treatments are among the procedures covered.

You will most likely take a course or two in beauty school that covers the written test for your state. Also, in your last year of beauty school, you’ll most likely get a wide review of the test. It is recommended to take free cosmetology practice test to prepare for these exams.

The Time Frame for Obtaining a Cosmetology License

You might be wondering how much time you’ll need to devote to your cosmetology studies and how long it will take.

Three elements will decide the answer to the question, “How long does it take to earn a cosmetology license?” that you may be asking yourself.

  • The free cosmetology practice exam you select
  • The number of study hours required by your state.
  • Whether or if you are a full or part-time student.

Register for the Exam

You must register for the exam online before the exam date. You will also be able to pay the exam price online. Make sure to register for the exam as soon as possible so that you can get into the venue of your choice. Expect the exam to last somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours.

Expect Results

After you complete and submit the exam, you will have to wait up to two weeks for your results. Your license will be mailed to you if you pass the exam. If you do not pass the exam, you can reschedule for the next available day.

Renew License

After you’ve obtained your license, you’ll need to renew it regularly. Check with your state’s cosmetology license board to see which courses are necessary for routine renewal. The renewal is generally every year or two.


You’re officially in the beauty industry once you’ve completed your training and obtained your license. This opens up opportunities in the cosmetology field – whether hair or skin care services. It’s very likely to get a well-paid job. Or you can decide to work independently as a beautician.

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BSV Staff

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