Learning the trade is a big, but not the only, step in becoming an electrologist. Aspiring electrologists also need to fulfill the licensing requirements of their state in order to practice in the industry. Electrology is a tightly, but inconsistently, regulated industry where the path to a career can be very different depending on where you live and what you want to do.
What Are the Requirements for Obtaining an Electrology License?
Electrologist licensing requirements vary considerably from one state to the next. They involve both education and whether or not you need a license.
Some states have licenses specifically for electrologists, while others require that you earn an esthetician license before completing an electrology certificate program. Other states give you the option of participating in an apprentice program. And some states don’t license or regulate electrologists at all. For information specific to your state, follow this link to individual state requirements.
Training Hour Requirements
The states that do issue licenses determine how many electrology training hours you’re required to complete before you’re eligible to apply for a license. Training hours refer to the amount of time you’ll spend in your electrolysis training program or school. In most states this number is around 600 hours, but some states, like Florida, require as few as 320 hours. On the other end of the spectrum are states like Indiana, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, which require more than 1,000 hours.
If you’re considering an apprenticeship alternative in a state that allows it, you should be prepared to complete many more apprenticeship hours than you would if you took the classroom route. However, completing an apprenticeship can help you start to build your clientele, and you are usually paid.
Below are tables that give you a summary of the requirements in individual states.
Exam requirements, too, vary from state to state. Some states don’t test you with an examination during the licensing process. Other states do, but the test isn’t always the same from one place to the next—in fact, some boards administer their own exam specific to only their state. There are, however, national exams that you might take:
- International Board of Electrologist Certification (IBEC): Although passing this exam doesn’t lead to licensure until you satisfy all your state’s requirements, the IBEC exam is the national industry standard.
- National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC): The NIC electrology exam comes in two parts. The theory, or written portion, tests your knowledge. The hands-on, or practical portion, tests your skills.
Requirements for Electrologists by State
|State||License||General Requirements||Training Hours|
|Arkansas||Required—exam||16 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours OR 350 hours AND 1,500 hours of cosmetology training|
|California||Not required||17 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours OR 2-year apprenticeship|
|Connecticut||Required—IBCE exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|Delaware||Required—exam||16 years old & 10th grade or equivalent||300 hours OR 600-hour apprenticeship|
|District of Columbia||Required—exam||18 years old||600 hours|
|Florida||Required—IBCE exam||18 years old & 10th grade or equivalent||320 hours|
|Hawaii||Required—exam||18 years old||600 hours OR 800-hour apprenticeship|
|Idaho||Required—NIC Written & Practical exam||16 1/2 years old & 2 years old of high school or equivalent||800 hours OR 1,600 hours apprenticeship|
|Illinois||Required—IBEC exam||18 years old & high school degree or GED equivalent||600 hours|
|Indiana||Required—exam||18 years old||300 hours AND 1,500 hours of cosmetology training OR 700 hours of esthetician training|
|Iowa||Required—exam||Hih school degree or GED equivalent||425 hours|
|Kansas||Required—exam||17 years old & high school degree or GED equivalent||500 hours OR 1,000-hour apprenticeship|
|Louisiana||Required—exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours OR 600-hour apprenticeship|
|Maine||Certificate||17 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours in a school of electrology|
|Maryland||Required—IBEC exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|Massachusetts||Required—exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||1,100 hours|
|Michigan||Required—exam||18 years old & 9th grade or equivalent||400 hours OR 6-month apprenticeship|
|Montana||Required—exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|Nebraska||Required—exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|Nevada||Required—exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||500 hours OR 1,000-hour apprenticeship|
|New Hampshire||Required—IBEC exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||1,100 hours|
|New Jersey||Required—IBEC and Jurisprudence exams||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|New Mexico||Required—exam||17 years old & 10th grade or equivalent||600 hours|
|New York||Not required|
|North Carolina||Required—IBEC exam||21 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|North Dakota||Required—exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|Ohio||Required—exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||750 hours|
|Oklahoma||Required—IBEC exam||21 years old & B.S. degree in approved field||600-hour internship|
|Oregon||Required—exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|Rhode Island||Required—IBEC exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||650-hour apprenticeship|
|South Carolina||Not required|
|South Dakota||Not required|
|Tennessee||Required—IBEC exam OR Society for Clinical & Medical Hair Removal exams||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|Utah||Required—exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|Vermont||Required—IBEC exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||600 hours|
|West Virginia||Not required|
|Wisconsin||Required—IBEC exam||18 years old & high school or equivalent||450 hours|
The American Electrology Association (AEA) recommends that electrologists pursue the Certified Professional Electrologist (CPE) certification. In fact, the AEA states that earning this credential is one of the most important things you can do to enjoy a successful career in the field.
Getting certified is voluntary. However, it shows employers and clients that you’ve gone above and beyond the standards required by your state licensing board.
Maintaining Your Electrology License
In some cases you’ll have to renew your license periodically to keep it in good standing. This requirement, too, varies by state. Often you will be required to earn continuing education credits (CEUs) to renew your license. As with everything else, the number and type of CEUs differ from one state to the next.
The following table lays out CEU requirements to date, but you should check with your state for updates.
Renewal Requirements for Electrologists by State
|Connecticut||1.0 CEUs for annual license renewal|
|Florida||2.0 CEUs every 2 years|
|Illinois||3.0 CEUs every 2 years|
|Iowa||.6 CEUs biennially|
|Louisiana||.3 CEUs for instructors annual license renewal; .3 CEUs for licensure|
|Maryland||2.0 CEUs for biennial license renewal|
|Massachusetts||1.0 CEUs biennially|
|New Hampshire||1.0 CEUs every 2 years for license renewal|
|New Jersey||2.0 CEUs every 2 years|
|North Carolina||1.0 CEUs annual|
|North Dakota||.5 CEUs for annual license renewal|
|Ohio||2.5 CEUs for biennial license renewal|
|Oklahoma||1.0 CEUs every 3 years|
|Oregon||0.8 CEUs each year for annual license renewal|
|Tennessee||1.0 CEUs annually|
|Vermont||1.0 CEUs every 2 years|
|Wisconsin||1.2 CEUs every 2 years|
As you can see, more than half the states don’t require continuing education—but that doesn’t mean that you should ever stop improving. Whether you take a class, watch some videos, attend a seminar, or go to a trade show, lifelong learning is the key to keeping up with new trends, techniques, and technology to stay on top of your game throughout your career.