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If you are considering becoming a hair stylist or a barber in your state, it is crucial that you take the time necessary to learn all about the process of obtaining the necessary licensing documents. Each state has its own set of requirements and prerequisites for obtaining a barber license and starting your own barbershop. But, when it comes to hairstyling, it is important to keep in mind that states typically do not offer a specific license for hair styling or dressing. In these states, you must simply apply for a cosmetology license, pass the cosmetologist test and pay the application fee. In any case, do not get discouraged, because you will still be able to practice your desired profession of hair styling with a valid cosmetologist license. On the other hand, barbers do have their own credentials, which can typically be obtained through their state’s cosmetology board. And, while these two professions may be different to a certain extent, their requirements and application procedures are remarkably similar in various ways. All prospective hair professionals must complete the necessary hours of education, pass the state test, submit the necessary paperwork, pay the applicable fees and go through all other processes whenever they apply. These other processes include renewing hair license credentials, replacing or updating them when necessary and using hair reciprocity when applicable. To learn all about all of these instances and how you can go through these general processes in your state of residence, take a look at the sections below.

Hairstylist and Barber Application

In order to obtain a hairdresser license or a barber license in your state of residence, you will have to meet the age requirement established by the board of cosmetology, which is typically 16 years of age. Additionally, you will also have to meet the education hour requirements of the state, which vary greatly from one state to the next. For instance, whereas Florida only requires 1,200 credit hours, California requires 1,600 hours of education in a state-approved institution. Once these prerequisites are met, and as long as you have a high school diploma or GED, you will be able to apply for a cosmetology license (to become a hair stylist) or barber licensing by filling out the state-specific application online or by mail, passing the necessary exam and paying the applicable fee, which you can learn more about in the section below.

Hairstylist and Barber License Fees

As mentioned above, there are certain fees associated with the process to apply for a hair stylist license or a barber license, whether you are applying online or by mail. However, it is important to bear in mind that these fees will vary from one state to the next, and are subject to change without notice from the state board of cosmetologists. In addition to the fee that you must pay in order to submit your hair colorist application, it is also vital to remember the cost of the exam. The exam cost for becoming a hair stylist also varies, depending on which state you live in. Note there are certain instances in which fees can be waived, such as if you are an active member of the military or a military dependent.

Hairstylist and Barber License Renewal

If you have a credential to practice hair styling in your state of residence, it is your responsibility to go through hair stylist license renewal when the validity of your documentation expires. It is just like the necessity of renewing your expired driver’s license. Furthermore, just like a driver’s license, you may be able to renew hair license documents in a few different ways depending on your state of residence. Some states allow you to renew barber license credentials online and by mail, for your convenience. Additionally, if you do not renew your license, you will be fined for practicing without valid credentials. Luckily, states will typically send renewal notices in order to remind you of the need to get new documentation.

Hairstylist and Barber License Reciprocity/Transfer

In the event that you are permanently or temporarily moving to another state, one process that you should become familiar with is hair license reciprocity. Depending on your previous and current states or residence, you may be able to practice your profession immediately after moving without going through any hassle. The best way to find out if you qualify for a hair license transfer is to go online to your new state of residence’s cosmetologist department website and search for the tab on hair reciprocity. As long as your previous state is featured on this page of accepted states for hair license reciprocity, and you meet any other requirements put forth by the state, you will be able to work there as a professional hairdresser without a problem. On the other hand, there are certain states that do not allow for reciprocity, but accept endorsement applications, which require you meet or exceed your current state’s hair stylist education and testing prerequisites and file a different kind of application.

Update Hairstylist and Barber License

In the event that you have recently changed your name because of a marriage or a divorce, or you have recently moved, it is your responsibility to update your cosmetology license by completing an official hair license name change or address change. The process to do so varies from state to state, but typically, an applicant for a hair license change of address or name can simply make a written request to his or her state’s cosmetology board, or fill out a state-specific application. Depending on your state of residence, you may also be able to make this change online, by mail, by email, by phone or by fax. If you are only updating your information, this process is generally free of charge, but if you would like to obtain an updated cosmetologist license, you will have to pay a state-specific fee.

In both cases, you will be asked to provide proof of your change in personal information. Proof of name change can be a marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order, while proof of address change can come in the form of a utility bill or mortgage contract.

Replace Hairstylist and Barber License

If your cosmetology or barber license has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, you will have to go through the process of applying for a hair license replacement. Fortunately, the steps of this process are typically the same as those required to obtain an updated cosmetologist license after you go through a name or address change. Depending on your state of residence, you may be able to apply online or by mail. Just be sure to include a copy of your police report if the document was stolen. In addition, if you choose not to replace your license, and are caught practicing without the necessary credentials, you can be fined. However, if your hair stylist license was taken during your renewal eligibility period, you can renew your credentials instead of going through the trouble of replacing them now and renewing them soon after.

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to become a licensed hairstylist or barber, a first-time applicant is required to meet certain school education requirements and pass a cosmetology exam. Additionally, you must also present a filled out application and pay set fees.
Other than enrolling in an accredited hair salon school or barber school, in order to receive a hairstylist license or a barber license, you may be required to show proof of an HIV/AIDS course completion, take the proper examination and pay any applicable fees.
You will need either a hairstylist license, a cosmetology license or a barber license in order to work legally as a hairstylist or barber, depending on which specialization you choose, and which state you call home.
If you’re applying for a hairstylist license or a barber license, you may be able to receive different types of specializations, which include hair braiding and hair wrapping.
Your hairstylist license or a barber license will be valid for one to two years, depending on the state in which you reside. is a privately owned website that is not affiliated with any government agencies.