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Hair Stylist Requirements

All hair stylists are required by the state where they intend to practice their profession, to pass the cosmetology state board exams.

Though the requirements for taking the exams vary from one state to the other, the following are the common requirements:


  • High school diploma or General Educational Development (GED)
  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Must graduate from a state-accredited cosmetology school

State licensure exams usually consist of written and practical tests and some may even include an oral exam.

Since the state license you are applying for as a hair stylist is a cosmetology license, the exams will test you in hair, nails, and skin knowledge. Interestingly, some states like Virginia require a license for hair braiding.

Though rare, reciprocity agreements exist between some states where a licensed cosmetologist from another state can apply for a license in their state, without having to take a board exam. The requirements vary among participating states.

States that have reciprocity programs are California, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas.

Hair stylists are required to renew their license every 2 years. This is typically only a matter of completing a short paper form and submitting it with payment, by mail.

After obtaining your cosmetology license, continuously taking advanced courses is the key to your career advancement. This helps you to stay up on the latest styles and trends in the hair care field.

Keep an eye out for trade shows that offer certificate seminars, for they are often organized by popular and respectable international hair stylists and hair care products companies.

Having a collection of certificates for advanced hair styling will surely boost not only your technical knowledge but also help you land jobs in high-end beauty salons.

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