California License Requirements
Last Updated: April 25, 2017
The state of California has a booming beauty industry. If you want to take your place in this field, you have to meet the required training hours and examination scores set out by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. Once you have met the minimum training requirements for your specialty, you can sign up to take your licensing exam, which is issued by the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. Contact California beauty schools to learn more about different training options and how the right education can get you started on your new career path.
You receive your license, which allows you to practice in any part of California, once you earn passing scores on all parts of your examinations. The state of California does allow apprenticeship for barbering and cosmetology students—apprenticeship training is currently unavailable in any other beauty specialty. California uses PSI for its cosmetology board exams, and you may take the exam in English, Spanish or Vietnamese.
Keep in mind, even though California may not require continuing education to renew any licenses, you may wish to consider taking cosmetology continuing education hours to stay up-to-date on trends and changes in the industry. Some employers require continuing education as a condition of employment. If you have specific questions, please contact the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology directly for more information.
2017 California Board of Cosmetology License Requirements
- COSMETOLOGIST LICENSE: 1600 Hours / 3200 Apprenticeship + 220 Related Training Hours
- BARBER LICENSE: 1500 Hours / 3200 Apprenticeship + 220 Related Training Hours
- NAIL TECHNICIAN LICENSE: 400 Hours
- ESTHETICIAN LICENSE: 600 hours
- ELECTROLOGIST LICENSE: 600 Hours
- MASSAGE THERAPIST LICENSE: 250 Hours Practitioner, 500 Hours Therapist
Cosmetology instructor and permanent makeup licenses are not currently regulated by the board. Laser hair removal is not allowed by the board at this time because it is considered a medical procedure.
California Cosmetology License Renewal
Cosmetology licenses in California must be renewed every two years in odd-numbered years by the licensee's original licensing date. You may renew your cosmetology license with the CA automated system, which takes 6 to 8 weeks. Or you can renew your CA cosmetology license online through BreEZe, which takes only 15 to 20 days. It costs $50 to renew your license if you're on time and it costs $100 if you renew late. Currently, no continuing education hours are required to renew your cosmetology license in California, but CEUs are always recommended to stay current in the industry.
Cosmetology License Reciprocity (Transfer) in California
The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology requires that you must have a cosmetology license in good standing with no citations, violations, convictions or child support issues putting your license on hold in your home state. You must have been licensed for at least three of the last five years to qualify for reciprocity.
The training requirements of your home state must be equal to or greater than the requirements of California if you want to qualify for reciprocity. Otherwise, you must finish your training hours at an approved California school and take the cosmetology examination.
CA State Board of Cosmetology Contact Information
California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
PO Box 944226
2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95834
Cosmetology Board Phone Number: 1-800-952-5210
Fax Number: 916-575-7281
The California State Board of Cosmetology is a valuable resource and can answer additional questions about obtaining a California state cosmetology license.