Requirements for getting a cosmetology license vary by state, but the minimum requirements often include the person being at least 18, having at least a high school diploma or its equivalent and graduating from an approved cosmetology program. The licensing exam includes a written portion and a styling skills test.
Some states allow trained cosmetologists to apply their training towards earning a barbering license and vice versa. There are also some states that combine barbering and cosmetology licenses. A cosmetologist usually has to pay a fee to apply for her initial license and may have to periodically renew her license.
Depending on the state, a cosmetologist who desires to move to another state may not have to complete additional formal training to qualify for a license in the new state, but this is rare. It's best that cosmetologists research the license requirements in other states, since they more than likely have to complete additional training before earning a new state license.
To receive training in preparation for earning a license, an aspiring cosmetologist can complete a skin care, hairstyling and personal appearance service program at an approved post-secondary vocational school. Full-time programs often last about nine months, and students may be awarded with an associate degree. Cosmetologists often take continuing education and advanced courses to remain current on the latest hairstyles.