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    Cosmetology License Requirements by State (Stylists: Bookmark This!)

    Learn what the cosmetology license requirements are in your state so you can get working ASAP.

    Whether you’re a salon owner or a stylist, it’s vital that you know what the cosmetology license requirements are in your state — or any that you expect to do business in. In case you missed it, cosmetology is a regulated occupation that requires a license, and that license is usually issued by a regulatory board, often referred to as the board of barbering and cosmetology.

    Finding this information sounds like a headache, but don’t worry – you don’t have to deal with it. We’ve done the leg work of gathering the cosmetology license requirements by state so all you have to do is bookmark this page and refer back to as necessary.

    First things first: The steps to becoming a cosmetologist

    Once you’ve determined which state you want to get licensed in, it’s time to actually get a license! The process isn’t quick, but it is pretty straightforward. 

    Step 1: Attend a state-licensed cosmetology school

    Different people learn differently. Some prefer to learn in person while others excel better at virtual learning. You can either opt to attend a cosmetology school in person or complete your cosmetology license online. 

    Step 2: Graduate

    This process takes time. You can expect to spend 9 to 15 months in classes before you can consider yourself a graduate of cosmetology school. 

    Step 3: Complete your training hours

    Next, it’s time to get hands-on and put what you learned into practice via training. The list below details how many hours of training are required to enter into the specialized area of cosmetology you’re dreaming of.

    Step 4: Pass the licensing exam

    You’ve put in the hours and done the hard work, and now it’s time for the final exam. No matter what state you want to practice cosmetology in, you’ve first gotta pass the state’s test. Some tests are practical, meaning you’ll have to show off your skills in person.

    Step 5: Start styling

    Once you’ve passed the exam, congrats! You now have your very own cosmetology license number and are ready to start making magic happen for clients.

    Each State’s Cosmetology License Requirements

    There’s more to getting your cosmetology license than many people think. Whether you’re looking to become a barber, an esthetician, a nail technician, a manicurist, a cosmetologist, or an instructor, you’ve gotta put in the work. 

    And the work comes not only in your initial education and training requirements, but also in the continuing education, license renewals, and more. 

    Read on to find out what your state requires in terms of education, training hours, and other needs for you to make your cosmetology dreams come true. 

    Alabama

    Barber | 1,000 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours

    Instructor | 1,500 hours or 650 hours if you have a manager’s license. To get a manager’s license you must be licensed for at least 1 year

    Nail Technician | 750 hours or 1,200 apprentice hours

    Alaska

    Barber | 1,650 hours or 2,000 apprentice hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,650 hours or 2,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 350 hours

    Instructor| 600 hours if you’ve been licensed for 1-3 years. If you’ve been licensed for more than 3 years, you need no extra hours

    Nail Technician | 250 hours plus an additional 12 hours of instruction

    Arkansas

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | Current license and an additional 600 hours

    Nail Technician | 600 hours

    California

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,600 hours or 3,200 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | Current license in the subject area taught

    Nail Technician | 400 hours

    Colorado

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,800 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | Current license in the subject area taught

    Nail Technician | 600 hours

    Connecticut

    Barber | 1,000 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours

    Electrologist | 600 hours

    Instructor | Current license and two years of experience

    Nail Technician | There are no license requirements

    Delaware

    Barber | 1,500 hours. If you want to become a Master Barber, you must obtain an additional 600 apprentice hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | If you have less than two years of licensed experience, you need 500 hours. If you have more than two years of licensed experience, you need 250 hours

    Nail Technician | 300 hours

    District of Columbia

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 125 hours

    Instructor | Current license and 1000 hours

    Nail Technician | 350 hours

    Florida

    Barber | 1,200 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,200 hours

    Esthetician | 260 hours

    Instructor | Current license and 1000 hours

    Nail Technician | 240 hours

    Georgia

    Barber | 1,140 hours. If you want to become a Master Barber, you must obtain 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 1,000 hours

    Instructor | At least one year of experience plus 750 hours

    Nail Technician | 525 hours

    Hawaii

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,800 hours or 3,600 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 550 hours or 1,100 apprentice hours

    Instructor | 600 hours and one year of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 350 hours

    Idaho

    Barber | 900 hours for a barber that doesn’t use chemicals or 1,800 hours to become a barber-stylist

    Cosmetologist | 2,000 hours or 4,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours or 1,200 apprentice hours

    Instructor | 6-month teacher’s course or 3-month teacher’s course with two years of licensed experience. If you have 5 years of licensed experience, you simply have to submit an instructor license application

    Nail Technician | 400 hours or 800 apprentice hours

    Illinois

    Barber | 1500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1500 hours (150 internship hours can be counted towards this total)

    Esthetician | 750 hours

    Instructor | 1,000 hours or 500 hours with 2 years of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 350 hours

    Indiana

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 700 hours

    Instructor | 1,000 hours

    Nail Technician | 450 hours

    Iowa

    Barber | 2,100 hours

    Cosmetologist | 2,100 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 1,000 hours

    Nail Technician | 325 hours

    Kansas

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 1,000 hours

    Instructor | 450 hours or 300 hours with one year of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 350 hours

    Kentucky

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,800 hours

    Esthetician | 1,000 hours

    Instructor | 1,000 hours

    Nail Technician | 600 hours

    Louisiana

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist – 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 750 hours

    Instructor | 500 hours and 1 year of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 500 hours

    Maine

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 2,500 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours or 1,250 apprentice hours

    Instructor | 1,000 hours plus 1,500 hours as a licensed professional plus 12 credits from a post-secondary school

    Nail Technician | 200 hours or 400 apprentice hours

    Maryland

    Barber | 1,200 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 2 years of an apprenticeship

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | Current license in the subject area taught

    Nail Technician | 250 hours

    Massachusetts

    Barber | 1,000 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,000 hours

    Esthetician | 300 hours

    Instructor | At least 2 years of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 100 hours

    Michigan

    Barber | 1,800 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 2 years of an apprenticeship

    Esthetician | 400 hours

    Instructor | 500 hours

    Nail Technician | 400 hours

    Minnesota

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,550 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 2,700 hours of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 350 hours

    Mississippi

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 2,000 hours or the following: 750 hours, 12 college course semester hours, and 2 years licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 350 hours

    Missouri

    Barber | 1,000 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 750 hours or 1,500 apprentice hours

    Instructor | 300 to 600 hours (depending on prior experience)

    Nail Technician | 400 hours or 800 apprentice hours

    Montana

    Barber | 1,000 hours for a barber that doesn’t use chemicals or 1,500 hours to become a barber-stylist

    Cosmetologist | 2,000 hours

    Esthetician | 650 hours

    Instructor | 650 hours with 1 year of licensed experience or 3 years of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 400 hours

    Nebraska

    Barber | 2,100 hours

    Cosmetologist | 2,100 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 925 hours

    Nail Technician | 300 hours

    Nevada

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,600 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | At least 1 year of licensed experience plus 500 to 1000 hours (depending on prior experience)

    Nail Technician | 500 hours

    New Hampshire

    Barber | 800 hours for a barber that doesn’t use chemicals, or 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours to become a barber-stylist

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 8 years of licensed experience, or 500 hours with 1 year of licensed experience, or 800 hours

    Nail Technician | 300 hours

    New Jersey

    Barber | 900 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,200 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 500 hours

    Nail Technician | 300 hours

    New Mexico

    Barber | 1,200 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,600 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 1,000 hours

    Nail Technician | 350 hours

    New York

    Barber | varies depending on school attended

    Cosmetologist | 1,000 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 2 years of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 250 hours

    North Carolina

    Barber | 1,528 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 1,200 hours plus a 6-month apprentice program

    Cosmetologist Instructor | 800 hours plus 5 years of licensed experienceEsthetician Instructor | 650 hours plus 3 years of licensed experience

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Nail Technician | 300 hours

    Nail Technician Instructor | 320 hours plus 2 years of licensed experience

    North Dakota

    Barber | 1,550 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,800 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 160 to 960 hours, depending on prior licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 350 hours

    Ohio

    Barber | 1,800 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours (150 of them can be internship hours)

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 1,000 hours of licensed experience or 1 year apprentice program

    Nail Technician | 200 hours

    Oklahoma

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 1,000 hours or 300 hours with 2 years of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 600 hours

    Oregon

    Barber | 1,100 hours

    Cosmetologist | 2,300 hours

    Electrologist | 600 hours

    Instructor | 2 years of licensed experience or 2 years of instructor training

    Nail Technician | 600 hours

    Pennsylvania

    Barber | 1,250 hours or 2,000 apprentice hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,250 hours or 2,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 300 hours

    Instructor | 500 hours

    Nail Technician | 200 hours

    Rhode Island

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 300 hours

    Nail Technician | 300 hours

    South Carolina

    Barber | 1,500 hours or 1,920 apprentice hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 450 hours

    Instructor | 750 hours of training plus 45 hours of Methods of Teaching Course if you have less than 2 years of licensed experience. If you have more than 2 years of licensed experience, you must take 45 hours of Methods of Teaching Course

    Nail Technician | 300 hours

    South Dakota

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 2,100 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 1,000 hours of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 400 hours

    Tennessee

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 750 hours

    Instructor | 300 hours

    Nail Technician | 600 hours

    Texas

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours

    Esthetician | 750 hours

    Instructor | 500 to 750 hours depending on licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 600 hours

    Utah

    Barber | 1,000 hours or 1,500 apprentice hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,600 hours or 2,500 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 400 hours or 3,000 hours of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 300 hours

    Vermont

    Barber | 1,000 hours or 2,000 apprentice hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 2,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 300 hours

    Instructor | 3 years of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 150 hours

    Virginia

    Barber | 1,500 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | Current license

    Nail Technician | 150 hours

    Washington

    Barber | 1,000 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,600 hours or 2,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 500 hours

    Nail Technician | 600 hours

    West Virginia

    Barber | 1,200 hours for a barber that doesn’t use chemicals, or 1,500 hours to become a barber-stylist

    Cosmetologist | 1,800 hours

    Esthetician | 750 hours

    Instructor | 5 years of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 400 hours

    Wisconsin

    Barber | 1,000 hours

    Cosmetologist | 1,550 hours or 4,000 apprentice hours

    Esthetician | 450 hours

    Instructor | 150 hours and 2,000 hours of licensed experience

    Nail Technician | 300 hours

    Wyoming

    Barber | 1,000 hours for a barber that doesn’t use chemicals, or 1,250 hours to become a barber-stylist

    Cosmetologist | 1,600 hours

    Esthetician | 600 hours

    Instructor | 500 hours

    Nail Technician | 400 hours

    Hair Stylist License Cost

    The cost of getting your cosmetology license is another thing you want to take into consideration before diving into this profession. This price will vary from state to state and depends largely upon whether you’re in a major city or a more rural area (everything is more expensive in a big city, isn’t it?). 

    In addition to the class costs, you want to consider the price of textbooks as well as any equipment you may need: things like scissors, styling products, mannequins, and so forth.

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