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Cosmetology Instructor Licensure

Cosmetology Instructor Licensure

The most states require cosmetologists to be licensed and cosmetology instructors usually have to complete additional licensure. The licensing requirements vary by state, but typically include at least 2 years of work experience or 1,000 hours of education at an approved beauty school, such as aesthetics, manicuring, hair styling or nail technology. The National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology manages most license exams. In addition, continuing education or training may be required periodically to maintain cosmetology certification or licensure necessary for instruction.

Although many colleges and schools require instructors to have a bachelor's degree for employment, cosmetology instructors may find vocational teaching positions with an associate's degree, certification or licensure in cosmetology. However, many career colleges or vocational institutions do require instructors to have at least three years' field-related experience before leading a classroom of their own.

Licensed cosmetology instructors are required to make lesson plans for classes, deliver material to their students and demonstrate cosmetology techniques to them. As courses carry on, instructors monitor students' progress. It is the responsibility of licensed cosmetology instructors to prepare their students for careers as hairstylists, nail artists, make-up artists or hair color specialist.


Before applying for state licensure, cosmetology instructors must hold a valid cosmetology license and complete a cosmetology Teacher Training program.

To be eligible for state licensure, cosmetology instructors need to have maintained a passing grade in each course and successfully concluded the training program. In addition to passing a written and practical exam, students should submit:
  • A copy of their existing cosmetology license,
  • A completed state application and
  • A fee to their state's board of regulation and licensing.
State requirements also vary on the number of continuing education hours required to recertify.