Spanish-Language Cosmetology License Exams (Boards en Español)

Necesidad de tomar su exámenes en español?

Upon completing a cosmetology program, you will need to take a cosmetology license exam to receive the proper licensure to actually work in the field. If English is not your first language, this test might seem like a frightening feat to conquer. However, many states offer cosmetology license exams in Spanish for your convenience, and some allow you to use translating devices, so you can adapt to the English version of the test. Check with the beauty schools you're considering to see if they teach cosmetology classes in Spanish.

Across the United States, each state has a test you must take and pass to become certified to perform cosmetology services, but only some states use a national standardized test. Other states have developed their own test. Texas and Alabama are two of the states that use tests from a company that goes by the acronym PSI. This particular company provides examinations for both cosmetologists and barbers. In fact, the states that use testing material from PSI have the ability to choose to order tests in several different languages (including Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean among others).

If I take my classes in English and Spanish, what about my board exams?

States That Allow Students to Take Boards in Spanish

Some states even offer the opportunity to take the written and/or practical portions of the cosmetology exam in the Spanish language, or with the help of a word-to-word dictionary or professional translator. Below is a list of some of the states that allow students to take parts or all of the cosmetology license exams in Spanish:

You can also check with your state of interest to see whether it offers cosmetology exams in Spanish. Simply review the information that is available for your state board of cosmetology. We have also compiled a chart of allowed board exam languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, French, Chinese and Arabic.

Another, more complicated option is to take the exam in another state that does administer the exam in Spanish and then try to achieve reciprocity with another state. Some states, such as New York, have reciprocity with a great number of other states. This means that you could gain credentials as a licensed cosmetologist in a state without having to take the cosmetologist exam in English. However, this is not recommended.

State Laws for Spanish Board Exams

On the contrary, there are states that have strict rules regarding the language the test is in, as well as what external sources can be used to translate the test. The areas that have these strict rules state that it is a safety concern for those dealing with toxic chemicals to have different understandings of the best practices, laws and regulations, so the individual taking the test must be fluent in English. Connecticut laws require that the test is given in English only. Massachusetts requires that the test is in English only, and the state also forbids the use of a translator or a translating dictionary, due to security reasons and as a safety precaution. 

Pennsylvania offers the test in English, Spanish or Vietnamese, while the state of New York extends the option to take the test in another language only if it is available. When the test is not available in another language, the state allows you to bring a translator to accommodate to the language barrier. If you live in New Jersey, you cannot take the test in any other language besides English, but you may bring a translator if  necessary and only if the licensing board approves it. Residents of Virginia can make the decision to test in English, Spanish or in Vietnamese.

You must notify your school and your state licensing board if you plan to take the licensing exam in another language, with a translator, or with a language-to-language translation dictionary. They can advise you on their specific rules and required, and ensure that you are using only approved methods to take the exams If you fail to notify the board in advance, you may be forced to take the exam in English.

The states with a high number of Spanish-speaking individuals, such as California, Texas, New Mexico and Florida, supply prospective certified cosmetologists with the option of an exam that is translated into Spanish. Illinois and Washington D.C. also present potential cosmetologists with alternative tests that are written in Spanish.

If you are not sure whether your state allows cosmetology license exams, check with your state board of cosmetology. Or, click here to view a chart of states that offer part or all of the board exams in other languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, French, Chinese and Arabic.