6 Steps To Become A Licensed Hairstylist

6 Steps To Become A Licensed Hairstylist

If you find that you are passionate about fashion or styling, you should look into a career in hairstyling. Maybe, you are already thinking about it but aren’t sure how to get started. This industry allows for benefits like flexible working hours and impressive pay. However, a professional degree in cosmetology is a pre-requirement to enter the field.

You would also need to get a legit license to move forward. Whether you want to work with one of the reputed salons or establish your business in this industry, you must have a legal license.
In this article, you will get a detailed guideline on how you can obtain a license as a hairstylist. 

Obtaining Your Hairstylist License
Here are six easy steps that you need to follow to obtain your hairstylist license and practice the profession:

Steps To Follow

1. Find The Best School For Cosmetology
At the outset, you need to find a comprehensive cosmetology program that can nurture you with appropriate training. In most states in the US, you will come across accredited institutes for cosmetology. Depending on your aspiration and budget, you will need to enroll yourself with one of these institutes. 
Financial assistance is also available through specific programs for the candidates. You would need a high school degree (or an equivalent) to enroll in these programs.
Firstly, you need to check out the timeframes and course modules. Both part-time and full-time courses are available for the aspirants. These courses can even exceed more than 2000 hours of overall training. Make sure that the program includes practical experience, classroom theory, and hands-on knowledge acquisition.

2. Focus On Your Area Of Specialization
Given that most institutes offer comprehensive programs in cosmetology, you need to choose the modules you would find relevant to establish yourself as a hairstylist. It pays to devote quality time to your craft. Firstly, you should explore every opportunity in the industry. This implies that you need to stay abreast with the latest trends in hairdressing in terms of techniques. 
During this phase, you need to subscribe to sources of beauty news, know the leading brands, and follow artists with an established name in the industry. Remember, you would be bracing to integrate yourself into an industry that keeps constantly evolving. Over time, you need to establish your name as a brand to stay ahead of the competition. Therefore, you need to think beyond the certification.

3. Obtaining Your License
Obtaining a license as a hairstylist is a crucial step to gain recognition in the industry. The steps and requirements to obtain a license often depends on the state you live in and plan to practice in. 
In general, you need to appear for an examination conducted by the State Board of Cosmetology. Here, you need to demonstrate your technical skills as well as theoretical knowledge through a written test. 
You need to shell out a fee for appearing at this examination. You can only appear for the test after having completed a course from an accredited institution. Moreover, you need to complete the required hours of training with that institution. To give you an idea, most states would require you to complete at least 1,000 hours of training.

4. Complete an Apprenticeship
Even after you obtain your license, the knowledge-acquisition process should continue. Being a new hairdresser, you need to complete an internship or apprenticeship at an established service center or salon. Once you gain adequate industry knowledge, you can start developing your own list of clients. During this stage, work on your marketing and business skills.
While the degree from the training institution will provide you with the basic skills, the practical experience during the apprenticeship will help you feel the pulse of the industry. Make sure to attend events and job affairs, keeping your eyes open for relevant traineeships.

5. Look For A Job
Once you have completed your course and training, it is time to find a suitable job. It is relatively easy for a licensed hairstylist to land a job. However, if you want to work with big names in the industry, you need to move up the ranks and prove that you are worth it. You can start by working for a local but reputed hair salon and gain loyal customers. Remember, customer satisfaction is key in any business. You can also look to rent salon space at a place like Image Salon Studios that offers many benefits of owning your own business. Once you have garnered enough experience, you can move towards blogger brands or establish your own salon.

At Image Salon Studios we have two locations to serve you





6. License Renewal
Once you obtain the license of a hairstylist, you need to get it renewed at specific intervals. It’s necessary to check with the board of licensing in cosmetology in your state to find out the details. In general, the renewal takes place every year or once every two years.
During the renewal process, you can add new skills and certifications to your portfolio. Of course, you would be embracing a progressive career that brings lots of learning opportunities to you. One can also expand the license for hairstyling or cosmetology online through the state licensing authority’s website. Generally, the license would cost you $25-40.

How Long Would It Take For You To Obtain Your Hair Stylist License?

Being an aspiring hairdresser, you might be wondering how long it would take you to get the license. This largely depends on the specialization you choose and the allied skills you gain. Moreover, certain states have specific requirements in terms of study hours. You also need to consider whether you would complete a full-time or part-time program.
Now, you might also want to focus on specific areas of specialization. This includes hair cutting, hair styling, hair highlighting, coloring, relaxing, and other aspects. You might also want to specialize in nail training, facials, cosmetics training, and specialize in other aesthetics. 
Now, you need to appear for the written examination once the training is over. As soon as you clear this examination, you can obtain your license. The fee for appearing at this examination varies from one state to another. You might have to shell out anything between $150 and $250 for this.


It is imperative to gain adequate skills and remain within the learning curve even after integrating yourself into the industry. Adapting to new trends and technology, you can craft a gratifying career for yourself. However, remember that doing so without a legit license can land you in legal trouble. Thus, it is vital to abide by the laws while practicing any profession, including that of a hairstylist. 


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