What is cosmetology?
Cosmetology is the study of beauty practices and covers a wide range of fields. That includes coloring, cutting, dyeing, shampooing, and styling hair, applying makeup, and providing nail care and skin care.
How long does it take to Get a Cosmetology license?
All 50 states plus Washington, D.C. require a license to work as a cosmetologist. But the requirements can vary, from 233 days in New York to 963 days in Massachusetts. If a student graduates on time, it typically takes around a year to finish cosmetology school. But fewer than a third of cosmetology students graduate on time.
|State||Education and Experience Required||Estimated Calendar Days Lost||Exams||Minimum Grade||Minimum Age|
|Alabama||1500 clock hours||350||2||10||16|
|Alaska||1650 clock hours||385||2||0||0|
|Arizona||1600 clock hours||373||2||10||16|
|Arkansas||1500 clock hours||350||2||10||16|
|California||1600 clock hours||373||2||10||17|
|Colorado||1800 clock hours||420||2||0||16|
|Connecticut||1500 clock hours||350||1||9||0|
|District of Columbia||1500 clock hours||350||2||10||18|
|Delaware||1500 clock hours||350||2||10||16|
|Florida||1200 clock hours||280||2||0||16|
|Georgia||1500 clock hours||350||2||12||17|
|Hawaii||1800 clock hours||420||1||12||16|
|Idaho||1600 clock hours||373||2||10||17|
|Illinois||1500 clock hours||350||1||0||16|
|Indiana||1500 clock hours||350||1||10||18|
|Iowa||2100 clock hours||490||1||12||0|
|Kansas||1500 clock hours||350||2||12||17|
|Kentucky||1800 clock hours + 6 months||602||3||12||16|
|Louisiana||1500 clock hours||350||2||10||16|
|Maine||1500 clock hours||350||2||10||17|
|Maryland||1500 clock hours||350||2||9||17|
|Massachusetts||1000 clock hours + 2 years||963||2||0||0|
|Michigan||1500 clock hours||350||2||9||17|
|Minnesota||1550 clock hours||362||3||12||0|
|Mississippi||1500 clock hours||350||2||12||17|
|Missouri||1500 clock hours||350||2||10||17|
|Montana||2000 clock hours||467||2||12||18|
|Nebraska||1800 clock hours||420||1||12||17|
|Nevada||1600 clock hours||373||2||10||18|
|New Hampshire||1500 clock hours||350||2||12||0|
|New Jersey||1200 clock hours||280||2||12||17|
|New Mexico||1600 clock hours||373||3||10||17|
|New York||1000 clock hours||233||2||0||17|
|North Carolina||1500 clock hours||350||2||0||0|
|North Dakota||1800 clock hours||420||3||12||0|
|Ohio||1500 clock hours||350||2||10||16|
|Oklahoma||1500 clock hours||350||2||8||16|
|Oregon||2300 clock hours||397||3||0||0|
|Pennsylvania||1250 clock hours||292||1||10||16|
|Rhode Island||1500 clock hours||350||2||12||18|
|South Carolina||1500 clock hours||350||2||10||16|
|South Dakota||2100 clock hours||490||3||12||18|
|Tennessee||1500 clock hours||350||2||0||16|
|Texas||1500 clock hours||350||2||12||17|
|Utah||1600 clock hours||373||2||0||0|
|Vermont||1500 clock hours||350||3||12||18|
|Virginia||1500 clock hours||350||2||0||0|
|Washington||1600 clock hours||373||2||0||17|
|West Virginia||1800 clock hours||420||3||12||18|
|Wisconsin||1550 clock hours||362||2||0||18|
|Wyoming||2000 clock hours||467||2||10||16|
How much does a cosmetology license Cost?
On average, completing the required classes for a cosmetology license costs more than $16,000, according to a study by the Institute for Justice. To pay for cosmetology school, students took out over $7,300 on average in student loan debt. All that debt adds up: Cosmetology courses generated the fifth-largest share of student loan borrowers out of all undergraduate, master’s, and professional degree programs.
How Much Can I Expect to Earn as a Licensed Cosmetologist?
Few cosmetologists can expect to command celebrity-level wages. In 2021, half of all cosmetologists earned less than $29,680 a year or $14.27 per hour.
Can You Work in the Beauty Industry Without a Cosmetology License?
For people who want to offer a niche or boutique service, cosmetology licenses create unnecessary barriers and force potential workers to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to take unnecessary classes. But depending on the service provided, states may offer a separate specialty license that is much easier to get than a full-blown cosmetology license. Some states may also completely exempt certain beauty practices from licensing altogether.
Blow Dry Bars
Hairstyling salons, also known as blow dry bars, offer clients a select array of services like shampooing, blow drying and styling hair. These specialty salons do not cut hair or use chemicals and dyes.
Using only a simple piece of sewing thread, threading is a precise way to remove hair. Compared to other hair-removal techniques, threading doesn’t use chemicals, heat, or sharp objects, making threading generally faster and less expensive.
As a longer-lasting alternative to strip-lashes, eyelash extensions create a look of longer and fuller eyelashes that lasts for a few weeks. Using a semi-permanent glue, a specialist attaches synthetic or silk fibers to individual eyelashes.
Natural hair braiding is a beauty practice popular among many Black and immigrant communities in the United States. Braiding is a very safe practice as braiders do not use any dangerous chemicals, dyes or coloring agents and do not cut hair.
Makeup artists apply cosmetics to the face or exposed body areas to improve or otherwise alter people’s appearances.
Nail technicians, also known as manicurists and pedicurists, clean and shape customers’ fingernails and toenails. They may polish and decorate nails.
Skin care specialists, also known as estheticians, spa technicians and facialists, provide skin care treatments to the face and body. Estheticians offer services like body waxing, facials and microdermabrasion, which enhance an individual’s appearance.
Brandy Davis is a licensed eyelash extension specialist who is being blocked from doing her job by the Oklahoma Board of Cosmetology and Licensing. She's suing in state court to challenge the board's licensing requirements.
Latest Cosmetology News
Cosmetology | Economic Liberty
Hairstyling salons, often referred to as “blow dry bars,” are gaining popularity nationwide. They offer fewer services than traditional cosmetology salons, focusing on shampooing, blow drying, and styling, while excluding haircuts or chemical treatments. These…
Cosmetology | Economic Liberty
The beauty industry offers great opportunities for work and entrepreneurship. However, states erect roadblocks by requiring barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians and nail technicians to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to attend schools and…
Cosmetology | Economic Liberty
Cosmetology is one of the most widely and onerously regulated occupations for lower-income workers, yet little research has explored the experiences of aspiring beauty workers. This first-of-its-kind study takes advantage of federal educational…
Cosmetology | Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing
A January 2021 executive order requires Utah executive agencies to identify occupational regulations that are no longer necessary or can be reined in to reduce barriers to entry. One regulation that should be on the table is cosmetology…