Cosmetology License Renewal Information


In order to protect the public's safety, each state has determined the amount of training and experience that cosmetologists must have to receive their licenses. By meeting the initial license and renewal requirements, cosmetologists demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and safety training needed to provide their customers with high-quality cosmetology services.

The Facts

  • Cosmetologists are licensed by their state cosmetology licensing board. Most cosmetologists are required to complete 1,500 training hours to qualify to take the state licensing exam. Some states also require cosmetologists to complete an apprenticeship program.

    Most cosmetology licenses must be renewed every two years (usually in an odd-numbered year), at which time cosmetologists must submit proof of continuing education courses along with their license renewal fee.

Continuing Education Requirements

  • Continuing education courses may be completed through a state-approved online or cosmetology school. Cosmetologists must take courses on HIV prevention, career development and advanced cosmetology techniques to complete their continuing education requirements. A minimum of two to three hours of coursework must cover topics such as safety procedures, state laws and sanitation. Continuing education courses must be completed within the two-year period prior to the license expiration date, and licensees will not receive credit for taking a course more than twice.

State rules

  • Cosmetologists in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas are required to take continuing education courses to renew their licenses. In some states, such as Illinois, licensees are only allowed to take up to half of their courses online. License renewal procedures and requirements are different for each state. The number of continuing education hours cosmetologists need to renew licenses ranges from 16 in Florida to five in Georgia.


  • The continuing education requirements for a cosmetology license renewal may not apply to all cosmetologists. Some states, including Georgia, allow cosmetologists with at least 25 years of experience to obtain a waiver. Cosmetologists who can provide their licensing board with proof of hardship such as an illness or disability may also receive a waiver for the continuing education course requirements. Ohio does not require newly licensed cosmetologists to complete continuing education courses before their first license renewal.


  • With a wide variety of online continuing education courses available, cosmetologists must make sure an online school has been approved by their state licensing board. Cosmetologists can check with their state licensing board for a list of approved schools and courses. They can also check to make sure a school has a provider number. Upon completing a course, each school is required to give each student a course number as proof they have passed.

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