Cosmetology Schools in California

California may be the perfect place to learn to become a cosmetologist and begin your career. According to a 2019 study, California is the 8th most beauty-obsessed state in the U.S.—good news for budding cosmetologists.

Browse our directory of cosmetology schools in California, or skip ahead to learn about the state's cosmetology licensing requirements and job outlook.

Browse All Cosmetology Schools in California

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Bellus Academy – Accredited

970 Broadway
Chula Vista, CA 91911

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Barbering
Bellus Academy – Accredited

1073 East Main Street
El Cajon, CA 92021

(619) 442-3407
Cosmetology, Esthetics
Bellus Academy – Accredited

13266 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064

(858) 748-1490
Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Barbering

1024 East March Lane
Stockton, CA 95210

(815) 485-3020
Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Barbering

72-840 Highway 111 Suite V417
Palm Desert, CA 92260

(760) 365-8222
Cosmetology, Esthetics, Barbering
Milan Institute – Accredited

2822 F Street Suite H
Bakersfield, CA 93301

(661) 437-4019
Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Massage Therapy, Barbering
Milan Institute – Accredited

731 West Shaw Avenue Suite A
Clovis, CA 93612

(559) 323-2800
Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Massage Therapy, Barbering
Milan Institute – Accredited

780 Loughborough Drive
Merced, CA 95348

(209) 205-2823
Barbering, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology
Milan Institute – Accredited

75-030 Gerald Ford Drive Suite 203
Palm Desert, CA 92211

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Barbering
Milan Institute – Accredited

6500 South Mooney Boulevard
Visalia, CA 93277

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Massage Therapy, Nail Technology

1679 East Monte Vista Avenue Suite 200
Vacaville, CA 95688

(707) 425-2288
Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Barbering

16852 Devonshire Street
Granada Hills, CA 91344

(818) 366-3211
Barbering, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Hair Design

3100 Mchenry Avenue
Modesto, CA 95350

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Barbering

18442 Sherman Way
Reseda, CA 91335

(818) 578-6344
Barbering, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology

Find Cosmetology Schools Near You

1st Academy of Beauty – Accredited

8819 Garvey Avenue
Rosemead, CA 91770

AAA Beauty College

4774 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92117

ABA Beauty School – Accredited

8428 Van Nuys Boulevard
Panorama City, CA 91402

ABC Adult School – Accredited

20122 Cabrillo Lane
Cerritos, CA 90703

ABC Adult School – Accredited

12254 Cuesta Drive
Cerritos, CA 90703

Abram Friedman Occupational Center – Accredited

1646 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Academy for Salon Professionals – Accredited

19520 Nordhoff Street Unit 9
Northridge, CA 91324

Academy of Beauty – Accredited

3834 Main Street
Culver City, CA 90032

Academy of Esthetics and Cosmetology – Accredited

1116 San Fernando Road
San Fernando, CA 91340

Adrian's Beauty College – Accredited

3000 West Grantline Road
Tracy, CA 95304

Adrian's Beauty College – Accredited

1340 West Main Street
Turlock, CA 95380

Advance Beauty College – Accredited

10121 Westminster Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Advance Beauty College – Accredited

25332 McIntyre Street Laguna
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Advance Beauty Techs Academy – Accredited

2191 Sampson Avenue Suite 105
Corona, CA 92583

Allan Hancock College

800 South College Drive
Santa Maria, CA 93454

American Beauty Academy – Accredited

558 Main Street
Brawley, CA 92227

American Beauty College – Accredited

641 West Palmdale Boulevard Suites A-C
Palmdale, CA 93551

American Beauty College – Accredited

652 South Sunset Avenue
West Covina, CA 91790

American Beauty Institute – Accredited

4625 Convoy Street
San Diego, CA 92111

American Empire College – Accredited

1168 San Gabriel Boulevard
Rosemead, CA 91770

Amy Beauty School – Accredited

290 Corporate Terrace Circle #104
Corona, CA 92879

Ares Beauty Academy

12473 Woodside Avenue Suite C
Lakeside, CA 92040

Asel Beauty College – Accredited

9240 Garden Grove Boulevard Suite #10
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Asel Beauty College – Accredited

540 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780

Asian-American International Beauty College – Accredited

7871 Westminster Boulevard
Westminster, CA 92683

Baldwin Park Adult & Community Education – Accredited

4640 North Maine Avenue
Baldwin Park, CA 91706

Bamboo Advance Beauty College – Accredited

14624 East 14th Street
San Leandro, CA 94578

Barstow Community College – Accredited

2700 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA 92311

Bellflower Beauty College of Lakewood – Accredited

5438 Woodruff Avenue
Lakewood, CA 90713

Beyond 21st Century Beauty Academy – Accredited

13640 Imperial Highway
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

Bridges Beauty College – Accredited

9170 Foothill Boulevard
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

Bridges Beauty College – Accredited

16515 Mojave Drive
Victorville, CA 92395

Butte College – Accredited

3536 Butte Campus Drive
Oroville, CA 95965

California Barber and Beauty College – Accredited

5315 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92115

California Beauty School – Accredited

1115 15th Street
Modesto, CA 95354

California Cosmetology Academy – Accredited

1760 Fremont Boulevard Suite F2
Seaside, CA 93955

California Hair Design Academy – Accredited

8011 University Avenue Suite A-2
La Mesa, CA 91942

Career Academy of Beauty – Accredited

12471 Valley View
Garden Grove, CA 92845

Cen Beauty Academy – Accredited

7900 Limonite Avenue Suite C-E
Riverside, CA 92509

Central Sierra ROP (high school students only) – Accredited

6540 Koki Lane
El Dorado, CA 95623

Cerritos College – Accredited

11110 Alondra Boulevard
Norwalk, CA 90650

Cinta Aveda Institute – Accredited

305 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

Cinta Aveda Institute – Accredited

111 West St. John Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Citrus College – Accredited

1000 West Foothill Boulevard
Glendora, CA 91741

Citrus Heights Beauty College – Accredited

7518 Baird Way
Citrus Heights, CA 95610

Coachella Valley Beauty College – Accredited

3643 West Florida Avenue
Hemet, CA 92545

Coachella Valley Beauty College – Accredited

79450 Highway 111
La Quinta, CA 92253

Coastline Beauty College – Accredited

16151 Harbor Boulevard
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Coastline Beauty College – Accredited

2627 West Florida Avenue Suite 100
Hemet, CA 92545

Coba Academy – Accredited

663 North Euclid Street
Anaheim, CA 92801

College of San Mateo – Accredited

1700 West Hillsdale Boulevard
San Mateo, CA 94402

College of the Sequoias

4999 East Bardsley Avenue
Tulare, CA 93274

Compton College – Accredited

1111 East Artesia Boulevard
Compton, CA 90221

Cosmebar Academy

2920 Sonoma Boulevard #B
Vallejo, CA 94590

Cosmetology Apprenticeship Program

11650 Iberia Place Suite 215
San Diego, CA 92128

Cosmo Beauty Academy – Accredited

3500 Fulton Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95821

Cosmotek College – Accredited

2188 Del Franco Street Suite 30
San Jose, CA 95131

CRU Institute of Cosmetology and Barbering – Accredited

11889 Valley View Street Suite C
Garden Grove, CA 92845

D'Lacreme School of Cosmetology and Barbering

1787 North Texas Street
Fairfield, CA 94533

Design's School of Cosmetology – Accredited

2727 Buena Vista Drive #105
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Diamond Beauty College – Accredited

10301 Garvey Avenue #200
South El Monte, CA 91733

Divina Cosmetology & Barbering Academy – Accredited

1011 Mason Street Suites 5 & 6
Vacaville, CA 95688

Dream Beauty Academy

30700 Russell Ranch Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

East Los Angeles Occupational Center – Accredited

2100 Marengo Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033

East Los Angeles Skills Center – Accredited

3921 Selig Place
Los Angeles, CA 90031

El Camino College – Accredited

16007 Crenshaw Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90506

Estes Institute of Cosmetology – Accredited

324 East Main Street
Visalia, CA 93291

Extensions R Us Academy

2137 West Manchester Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90047

Fantasy Beauty College – Accredited

216 East Second Street
Pomona, CA 91766

Federico Beauty Institute – Accredited

1515 Sports Drive Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95834

Federico College – Accredited

5660 North Blackstone Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710

Flair Beauty College – Accredited

23754 Valencia Boulevard
Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Fredrick and Charles Beauty College – Accredited

831 F Street
Eureka, CA 95501

Fremont Beauty College – Accredited

4164 Technology Drive
Fremont, CA 94538

Fullerton College – Accredited

321 East Chapman Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832

Gavilan College – Accredited

5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard
Gilroy, CA 95020

Georgiykot Academy USA

20855 Ventura Boulevard Suite 7
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Glendale High School (high school students only) – Accredited

1440 East Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205

Golden West College – Accredited

15744 Goldenwest Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Hacienda La Puente Adult Education – Accredited

14101 East Nelson Avenue
La Puente, CA 91746

Hair California Beauty Academy

1828 East Collins Avenue
Orange, CA 92867

Hesperia Alternative Education Center – Accredited

16527 Lemon Street
Hesperia, CA 92345

Hilltop Beauty School – Accredited

6317 Mission Street
Daly City, CA 94014

Hinton Barber and Beauty College – Accredited

1035 Tennessee Street
Vallejo, CA 94590

Hoss Lee Academy – Accredited

200 Whyte Avenue
Roseville, CA 95661

Inspire Academy of Barbering and Cosmetology – Accredited

445 West Weber Avenue Suite 223
Stockton, CA 95203

Institute of Beauty Culture – Accredited

325 East Betteravia Suite B1
Santa Maria, CA 93454

Institute of Technology – Accredited

564 West Herndon Avenue
Clovis, CA 93612

International Academy of Cosmetology & Barbering – Accredited

4085 Tweedy Boulevard
South Gate, CA 90280

International Beauty College – Accredited

1224 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

International College of Beauty Arts & Sciences – Accredited

5225 San Fernando Road West
Los Angeles, CA 90039

International College of Cosmetology – Accredited

3701 International Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94601

International School of Beauty – Accredited

72-261 Highway 111 Suite 121 B
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Jade Beauty and Barber College – Accredited

1045 East Capitol Expressway
San Jose, CA 95121

Jama's Beauty & Barber College – Accredited

8300 Valley Circle Boulevard Unit A
Canoga Park, CA 91304

Jasmine Beauty School – Accredited

5911 University Avenue Suite #318
San Diego, CA 92115

JD Academy of Salon and Spa – Accredited

520 San Ramon Valley Boulevard
Danville, CA 94526

JLC Beauty School – Accredited

16025 Gale Avenue Unit A14
City of Industry, CA 91745

John C. Fremont High School (high school students only) – Accredited

7676 South San Pedro Street
Los Angeles, CA 90003

John Wesley International Barber and Beauty College

920 Atlantic Avenue Suite # 200
Long Beach, CA 90813

Katie Skills Center – Accredited

415 East 12th Street
Oakland, CA 94606

KC Beauty Academy – Accredited

706 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

KZ Academy

1221 East Calaveras Boulevard
Milpitas, CA 95035

Lancaster Beauty School – Accredited

44646 North 10Th Street West
Lancaster, CA 93534

Laney College – Accredited

900 Fallon Street
Oakland, CA 94607

Lawrence & Company College of Cosmetology – Accredited

810 North 10th Avenue
Hanford, CA 93230

Lawrence & Company College of Cosmetology – Accredited

2048 Grant Street
Selma, CA 93662

Letty's Barbering and Cosmetology College – Accredited

4926 Whittier Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90022

Los Angeles College of Aesthetics – Accredited

1517 South Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Los Angeles Trade Technical College – Accredited

400 West Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Lu Ross Academy – Accredited

470 East Thompson Boulevard
Ventura, CA 93001

Lyle's College of Beauty – Accredited

2935 F Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301

Lyle's College of Beauty – Accredited

6735 North First Street Suite 112
Fresno, CA 93710

Lytles Redwood Empire Beauty College – Accredited

186 Wikiup Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Maiquela's Cosmetology Academy – Accredited

1434 East Foothill Boulevard Suites D-E
Upland, CA 91786

Maiquela's Cosmetology Academy – Accredited

12221 Whittier Boulevard
Whittier, CA 90602

Maiquela's Cosmetology School – Accredited

8511 Long Beach Boulevard
South Gate, CA 90280

Marmel Beauty Academy – Accredited

6444 Bellingham Avenue
North Hollywood, CA 91606

Master Academy – Accredited

4100 Orange Avenue Suites 109-110
Long Beach, CA 90807

MiraCosta College

1 Barnard Drive
Oceanside, CA 92056

Mixed Institute of Cosmetology and Barbering – Accredited

5950 Florin Road Suite 102
Sacramento, CA 95823

Modern Beauty Academy – Accredited

699 South C Street
Oxnard, CA 93030

Moler Barber College – Accredited

22425 Main Street
Hayward, CA 94541

Moler Barber College – Accredited

3815 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609

Moler Barber College – Accredited

13128 San Pablo Avenue
San Pablo, CA 94806

Moler Cosmetology College/Divsion of Moler Barber College – Accredited

955 Monroe Street
Santa Clara, CA 95050

My Beauty & Barber College – Accredited

6100 Mack Road
Sacramento, CA 95823

My Le's Beauty College – Accredited

4516 Florin Road
Sacramento, CA 95823

National Cosmetology School – Accredited

315 11Th Street
Oakland, CA 94607

Neihule Academy of Beauty – Accredited

305 East 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014

North Adrian's College of Beauty Inc – Accredited

124 Floyd Avenue
Modesto, CA 95350

Palomar Institute of Cosmetology – Accredited

355 Via Vera Cruz Suite 3
San Marcos, CA 92078

Paris Beauty College – Accredited

1655 Willow Pass Road
Concord, CA 94520

Pasadena City College – Accredited

1570 East Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91106

Paul Mitchell the School at Campus

5221 Madison Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95841

Paul Mitchell the School Costa Mesa – Accredited

3309 Hyland Avenue Suite J
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Paul Mitchell The School East Bay – Accredited

100 Crescent Drive Suite D Suite D
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Paul Mitchell The School Fresno – Accredited

5091 North Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93710

Paul Mitchell The School North Tahoe – Accredited

12047 Donner Pass Road Suite A1 Suite A1
Truckee, CA 96161

Paul Mitchell The School Pasadena – Accredited

825 East Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91101

Paul Mitchell The School Sacramento – Accredited

2100 Arden Way Suite 265 Suite 265
Sacramento, CA 95825

Paul Mitchell The School San Diego – Accredited

410 A Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Paul Mitchell The School Sherman Oaks – Accredited

15301 Ventura Boulevard Unit P2 Unit P2
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Paul Mitchell The School Temecula – Accredited

27536 Ynez Road Suite E-1 Suite E-1
Temecula, CA 92591

Paul Mitchell – Accredited

3309 Hyland Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Pomona Unified School District – Accredited

800 South Garey Avenue
Pomona, CA 91766

Princess Institute of Beauty – Accredited

1605 East Manning Avenue
Reedley, CA 93654

Professional Institute of Beauty – Accredited

10801 East Valley Mall
El Monte, CA 91731

Professional Schools of Beauty, Fashion and Arts – Accredited

18573 Sherman Way
Reseda, CA 91335

Redondo Beach Beauty College – Accredited

2205 West Artesia Boulevard
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Regional Occupational Center – Accredited

501 South Mount Vernon Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93307

Richard N. Slawson Southeast Occupational Center – Accredited

5500 Rickenbacker Road
Bell, CA 90201

Riverside City College

4800 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

Rosemead Beauty School – Accredited

8531 East Valley Boulevard
Rosemead, CA 91770

RTC College – Accredited

10427 San Sevaine Way Suite A
Jurupa Valley, CA 91752

SABA Beauty School – Accredited

23635 El Toro Road Suite J-2 and K
Lake Forest, CA 92630

Sacramento City College – Accredited

3835 Freeport Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95822

Saddleback Beauty Academy – Accredited

23565 Moulton Parkway Suite B
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Saddleback College

28000 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Salinas Beauty College – Accredited

916 South Main
Salinas, CA 93901

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

2097 Compton Avenue Suite 201
Corona, CA 92881

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

16803 Arrow Highway
Fontana, CA 92335

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

1915 West Redlands Boulevard Suite 111
Redlands, CA 92373

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

6780 Indiana Avenue Suite #200
Riverside, CA 92506

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

1385 East Foothill Boulevard
Upland, CA 91786

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

112 Plaza Drive
West Covina, CA 91790

San Bernardino Beauty College – Accredited

600 North Sierra Way
San Bernardino, CA 92410

San Diego City College – Accredited

1313 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101

San Francisco Institute of Esthetics & Cosmetology Inc – Accredited

1067 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

San Jose City College – Accredited

2100 Moorpark Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128

San Luis Obispo Beauty College – Accredited

285 South Street Suite N
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Santa Ana Beauty Academy – Accredited

2231 North Tustin Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Santa Ana Beauty College – Accredited

1926 West 17th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92706

Santa Barbara City College – Accredited

721 Cliff Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93109

Santa Clara Beauty College – Accredited

2630 El Camino Real
San Jose, CA 95051

Santa Monica College – Accredited

1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Santiago Canyon College

8045 East Chapman
Orange, CA 92869

Shasta School of Cosmetology – Accredited

678 North Market Street
Redding, CA 96003

Sierra Beauty College – Accredited

1340 West 18th Street
Merced, CA 95340

Sierra Vista Adult School (Central California Women's Facility) – Accredited

P.O. Box 1501
Chowchilla, CA 93610

Simi Valley Cosmetology School

3340 East Los Angeles Avenue
Simi Valley, CA 93065

Skyline College – Accredited

3300 College Drive
San Bruno, CA 94066

Solano Community College – Accredited

4000 Suisun Valley Road
Fairfield, CA 94534

Sonora Union High School (high school students only) – Accredited

606 Shaws Flat Road
Sonora, CA 95370

Southern California College of Barber and Beauty – Accredited

641 North Broadway
Escondido, CA 92025

Southern California Regional Occupational Center – Accredited

2300 Crenshaw Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90501

Southern California University of Health Sciences

16200 East Amber Valley Drive
Whittier, CA 90604

Straight Perm Beauty School – Accredited

3863 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Thanh Le College School of Cosmetology – Accredited

12875 Chapman Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92840

The Brothers & Sisters BarberCosmo Academy – Accredited

3322 International Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94601

The Salon Professional Academy – Accredited

1600 Saratoga Avenue Suite 103
San Jose, CA 95129

TNN Beauty Apprenticeship

836 57th Street Suite 478
Sacramento, CA 95819

TNN Beauty Apprenticeship

607 East Street
Woodland, CA 95776

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy – Accredited

464 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Topline Beauty College – Accredited

130 South Harbor Boulevard
Santa Ana, CA 92704

V.R. Professional Beauty Academy – Accredited

1600 South Azusa Avenue Unit 242
City of Industry, CA 91748

Valley State Adult School (Valley State Prison for Women) – Accredited

P.O. Box 99 21633 Avenue 24
Chowchilla, CA 93610

Victory Career College – Accredited

19401 South Vermont Avenue Suite G100
Torrance, CA 90502

Wayne's College of Beauty – Accredited

1271 North Main Street
Salinas, CA 93906

West Valley Occupational Center – Accredited

6200 Winnetka Avenue
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Womack's Academy, Barber and Cosmetology

598 Silver Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

Yuba College

2088 North Beale Road
Marysville, CA 95901

ZMS The Academy – Accredited

2228 East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy

2425 Mchenry Avenue Suite A
Manteca, CA 95337

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy

1019 South Main Street
Modesto, CA 95350

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy

1358 5th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Accredited School

You must attend a school that meets any licensure requirements as defined by your state. Most states require that you graduate from an accredited or state-approved school.

Find a Cosmetology School Near You

How to Become a Cosmetologist in California

California Cosmetology Careers At A Glance
  • 1,000 education hours or 3,200 apprentice hours are required to become licensed.
  • You must renew your license every 2 years.
  • 0 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
  • The average salary for cosmetologists in California is $38,790.
  • There is a predicted 51% job increase between 2020-2030 for cosmetologists.

To become a cosmetologist in California, you must meet certain standards:

1. Be at least 17 years old and have completed 10th grade or its equivalent.

2. Be honest on the exam application about any criminal record—a criminal record doesn't necessarily bar you from licensure or employment

3. Demonstrate any one of the following:

  • Completion of a state-approved cosmetology program
  • An unrestricted license in good standing from another state
  • Licensed cosmetology experience in another state for at least the length of a state-approved cosmetology program—three months of work equals 100 hours of training
  • Completion of an approved cosmetology crossover course if currently licensed as a barber
  • Completion of an apprenticeship that meets state standards

You may not mix and match the pathways to becoming a cosmetologist in California—for example, by beginning as a traditional student and finishing your program as an apprentice. You must choose one option or the other. However, students may participate in externship programs, allowing them to work in a salon without pay to earn the required hours.

In addition to performing cosmetology services, you must be comfortable acting as a mandatory reporter. Mandatory reporters are legally required to report suspicions of physical or sexual abuse to the proper authorities. You'll be trained in recognizing the signs of abuse by your school or apprenticeship program.

What to Expect From a Cosmetology Program in California

1,000 Hours

Time to complete a cosmetology program in California

If you are interested in pursuing your cosmetology training through a traditional program, you have many schools to choose from. Effective January 2022, California reduced required training hours for cosmetologists from 1,600 to 1,000, so many beauty schools are still adjusting and may offer either option.

Before enrolling, ensure your school is approved by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. Board requirements include having enough space for at least 25 students, enrollment of at least 25 students, and a curriculum that meets the state standards. The school can't have a history of unprofessional conduct, such as refusing inspections or noncompliance with requirements.

Your training must consist of a minimum of 1,000 hours of both practical and scientific instruction, including, but not limited to:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Chemistry of cosmetology products
  • Hair cutting and dyeing
  • Hair perming and relaxing
  • Hair removal (except by use of light waves/rays)
  • Health and safety
  • Makeup design and application
  • Manicuring
  • Basic massage
  • Optional specialty classes, like threading and natural hair braiding

What to Expect From a Cosmetology Apprenticeship in California

3,200 Hours

Time to complete a cosmetology apprenticeship in California

To apprentice as a cosmetologist in California, you need to ensure your program meets specific standards—so verify them before you begin:

  • The location in which you'll be apprenticing must be licensed.
  • Your trainer needs to be a licensed cosmetologist who has been approved to train by the board.
  • Your instruction must cover all the topics included in a cosmetology program.
  • You must be paid at a graduated rate, but they don't have to pay you for instruction-only time.
  • You can only practice on members of the public if you've been trained in the techniques you'll be using.
  • Your training must last a minimum of 3,200 hours over no more than two years and include the following:
    • 39 hours of pre-apprenticeship training on laws and regulations, patron protection, and sanitation and disinfection
    • 220 hours of direct instruction
    • No more than 8.5 hours per day and 42.5 hours of work and training per week—anything beyond this won't count

California Cosmetology Licensing Requirements

California also dropped its practical exam requirement in 2022, so applicants only need to pass a theory test, administered by PSI. Once you've completed your training or apprenticeship hours, you can apply to take the written exam.

After applying to take the examination and getting approved by the state board, you'll receive the PSI candidate handbook and can schedule your test.

Tests are available in English, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese. If the test is not available in your language and you don't speak, read, or write English at a minimum of a 10th grade level, you can request to use an interpreter.

The 120-minute theory test contains 110 questions on Scientific Concepts (30%), Hair Care and Services (40%), Skin Care and Services (15%), and Nail Care and Services (15%). You won't be allowed to have any electronics or notes with you during the test. The board provides sample questions on their theory examination information page.

As of 2022, the exam and license fee is $125 total, and you'll need to be able to go to one of the state's 20 test locations.

If you pass your test, you'll receive a photographic license onsite. If you fail, you'll get information on your score, a breakdown of all the content areas, and how many correct answers you need to pass.

Licensure Reciprocity

California allows cosmetologists moving from other states to become licensed without taking the test if they have a current active license that's in good standing with no disciplinary action or criminal convictions on record. Contact the state board if you have questions about your status.

Cosmetology Specializations in California

California allows cosmetologists to receive additional training in a few different areas. If you're truly passionate about one of these fields as opposed to cosmetology as a whole, you could also choose to earn licensure in one of them instead. Specializations include:

You can also take optional specialty classes while in school to expand your knowledge and abilities, but those areas don't require specific additional certifications.

Cosmetology License Renewal in California

2 Years

License renewal period

0 Hours

Continuing education required

California requires cosmetologists to renew their licenses every two years, and there are no continuing education requirements. However, if your license hasn't been renewed for five years, you'll need to pass the test again before it's reissued.

Cosmetology Salary in California and Projected Job Growth


Average yearly salary for cosmetologists in California

The average salary for cosmetologists in California is $38,790 ($18.65/hour). If you're able to make it into the very competitive world of theatrical makeup, it goes up to $136,340 ($65.55).

California employs the third highest number cosmetologists in the country. And this is expected to grow—in fact, the state anticipates there will be 51% more cosmetology jobs available between 2020 and 2030.

Contact the California State Board of Cosmetology

California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology

Resources for Cosmetologists in California

California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
This is the official state board page regarding all cosmetology laws, regulations, and updates. You can apply for your licensure exams, research programs, and file complaints through their site. They also have an active Facebook page that includes both important information and fun articles.

Professional Beauty Federation of California
Similar to a union, the PBFC advocates for laws and regulations that will make the industry safer, with input from members. They organize a yearly "Welcome to Our World (W.O.W.)" event, at which lawmakers and their staff receive free treatments by volunteers in order while discussing concerns. You can stay up to date on their actions on their Facebook page.

Stylist & Salon Newspapers—California
This publication offers a free digital subscription and covers all manner of topics affecting California cosmetologists. They also keep a running list of upcoming cosmetology events throughout the country.


How to Become a Cosmetologist in Your State