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Cosmetology Requirements to Practice

Cosmetology requirements vary from state to state and will include several hours of experience dedicated to a particular aspect of cosmetology, under the supervision of a program instructor who is a licensed cosmetologist. To work as a professional cosmetologist you will first need to complete a state accredited program.  Here we will find out the programs available, what the required amount of internship hours will include and we’ll also take a look at continuing education cosmetology requirements for this field.

Program Options for the Cosmetologist

Diploma programs that can be completed in nine to twelve months and associate degree programs are available for those interested in becoming a professional cosmetologist.  During your education you will practice by working on mannequins, other classmates and finally real clients, in the school’s beauty salon.

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The training hours provided through a program vary and depend on the length of the program itself. Associate degree programs include instruction on beautification methods, education on how to identify skin and hair diseases and disorders, business skills and state specific regulations for sanitation. The business courses offered in a cosmetology program can be seen as beneficial, should the student have interest in opening up their own salon. Core courses to be expected in both diploma and degree programs will include haircutting, hairstyling, makeup application, eyebrow shaping, facials, skin health, salon management and state regulations.

After you have finished the required training you will need to pass a licensing exam issued by your state board of cosmetology, allowing you to work in your state. Some state’s cosmetology requirements will also require the cosmetologist to complete continuing education hours in order to renew their license every two years.

Common licensing Requirement Hours

While the amount of training hours required for specific aspects of cosmetology vary, below is a list of the most common hour requirements in every state: the cosmetology license requires 2300 hours of training under supervision, the hairstyling license requires 1500 hours of supervised training, 1200 for the barbers license, 300 hours for the esthetician and to work as a cosmetology instructor you will need 5000 hours of supervised training.

The licensing exam consists of 100 written and oral questions. States such as New York and California will require students to perform a practical exam. The practical exam consists of the student being assigned a task, such as a specific hairstyle, or chemical treatment and performing the task on a mannequin. Students will then be judged on the steps they’ve taken during the process, including whether they wore gloves and applied chemicals based on safety regulations. Failure to pass this part of the exam will result in failing the exam overall.

Should you obtain your license and move out of state you will need to look up the state’s cosmetology requirements to find out if you qualify to take their state exam. There will also be a charge ranging from $100 to $150 to have your licensed transferred. The general licensing requirements for cosmetology include being at least 16 years of age and having a high school diploma or the equivalent.


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