How to Get a Cosmetology License

June 19th, 2024


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Cosmetology is a fun, exciting profession where you get to help people feel confident and express themselves. Once you’ve decided you want to go to cosmetology school you will need to get a license to practice cosmetology legally and ensure safe practices and client satisfaction. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to start your cosmetology career.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Every state has its own regulations and requirements for obtaining a cosmetology license. Thoroughly research your state’s requirements to understand what to expect and the steps you need to follow to ensure a smooth process. These requirements can change, so you will want to check your state’s most recent requirements listed on your state’s licensing agency’s website. 

Basic requirements for obtaining a cosmetology license include being at least sixteen years old and having a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate.

Step 2: Complete the Training Hours

The next step in getting your cosmetology license is to enroll in and complete a state-approved cosmetology program at an accredited school. This will give you the training you need to pass the licensing exam. During your studies, you will complete coursework on various topics, such as hair removal, makeup application, eyelash extensions, hair cutting and coloring, and more.

You will likely also need to complete a certain number of training hours which may consist of both in-person classes and hands-on training. Every state has a specific number of hours you must complete in both school and training, which typically range from 1,500 to 1,800 hours. Illinois and Indiana require 1,500 hours and Wisconsin requires 1,550 training hours.

Step 3: Take Licensing Exams

Once you’ve completed the required training, apply for the cosmetology licensing exam through your state’s licensing agency. While you’re waiting for your exam, take plenty of time to study. The cosmetology licensing exam typically consists of a written test, which tests theoretical knowledge, and a practical exam (if you are applying for a license in the state of Wisconsin), which tests your hands-on skills. 

At Tricoci University, our cosmetology program is specifically designed to not only prepare you for the licensure exam but to also get you ready to confidently step onto a salon floor as soon as you pass your exam.

Step 4: Apply for Your Cosmetology License 

Once you pass your licensing exam, you can apply for your cosmetology license. To do so, submit the proof of your education along with your exam results to your state’s licensing board. You will also have to pay a licensing fee, which varies by state. Once approved, you’ll receive your cosmetology license and can get started practicing in the field! 

Step 5: Receive and Maintain Your Cosmetology License

Getting your cosmetology license is just the first step in your career. To avoid liability issues and prevent your license from going into delinquent status or becoming null and void, you will need to stay on top of your license renewals. Each state has specific renewal requirements which may entail paying a renewal fee or completing some continuing education units (CEUs). Once you’ve obtained your license to practice your craft professionally, you’ll be responsible for renewals every few years. Make a note of the required renewal period in your state. 

Read our blog to learn more about cosmetology license renewals: How to Renew Your Cosmetology License. 

Pursue Your Cosmetology Dreams at Tricoci University

High-quality training and education can make a world of a difference in your success as a cosmetologist. Tricoci University is a trusted, accredited institution that can help you make your cosmetology dreams a reality. As one of our students, you’ll have access to a dedicated team of educators and a comprehensive curriculum that will help you stay current on industry trends and requirements. With flexible hours that enable you to attend night classes or go to school part-time, financial aid coverage like the FAFSA to make working toward your dream more affordable, and a supportive team of administrators, we’re here to be the launching pad for your success.

Contact us now to learn more about our cosmetology program.

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