How to Obtain Your Cosmetology or Beauty License

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When you finish your coursework at a beauty school, the next step in your cosmetology career is to obtain your cosmetology license. Every state requires that you have a license to practice the art of cosmetology. Most states require that you pass a written examination in order to obtain your cosmetology license.

Research State Requirements
When you want to receive your beauty license, you will have to research what the specific requirements are in your state. Some states like Alabama will require that you have completed a certain number of apprenticeship hours before being able to take the written exam. Some states like Michigan will also require that you perform a hair style in front of a board of licensed cosmetologists. You will only be able to take the written exam after you have passed the physical exam and completed your apprenticeship hours. View our list of schools by state for more information on each state.

The Written Exam
When you are in beauty school, you will likely take a course or two that touches on the written exam for your state. This class will discuss sanitization requirements in your state and specific negligence laws that apply to salons. You will likely get a broad overview of the exam in your last year of beauty school. Do not fret too much if you do not think you have received extensive preparation for the state licensing exam from your beauty school. You should try to get as much practical experience as possible during your time in beauty school.

Preparation for the Written Exam
To prepare for the written exam, beauty school students typically take an online course. The online course will help students gain confidence in the multiple choice section of the practice exam. Students will re-learn the information that they obtained in classes throughout their past few years of beauty school.

Signing Up for the Exam
You will have to sign up for the exam online before the exam day. You will also be able to pay the fee online for the exam. Be sure to sign up early for the exam so that you are able to get into the location that you want. Be prepared to take the exam for anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours.

Waiting for the Results

After you take and submit the exam, you will then wait for your results for up to two weeks. If you passed the exam, then you license will be mailed to you. If you did not pass the exam, then you can sign up for the next available test date.

Cosmetology Licensing Reciprocity
Once a student receives his or her license, he or she may be able to practice cosmetology in other states. If you wish to work in a different state, you may be able to transfer your credit hours and apprenticeship hours to another state to fulfill licensing requirements. Transferring a license can save you time and thousands of dollars. A student should research the reciprocity requirements to see which states are able to accept the new license.