Chapter 28 in the New Jersey Annotated Code establishes the laws that govern cosmetology in the state. Under the law, all prospective cosmetologists in New Jersey must obtain a license from the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling. How long it takes to gain a license varies based on how quickly candidates can complete the requirements.
To qualify for a New Jersey cosmetologist license, candidates must complete a minimum of 1,200 hours of training at a school approved by the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling. As of June 2011, 33 schools in New Jersey offered state-approved programs. How long it takes for students to complete the training varies based on the schools' scheduling. For example, the Capri Institute in Bricktown, Clifton, Kenilworth, Paramus and Succasunna has a full-time program of 40 hours per week that lasts for 30 weeks, as well as part-time day and night programs that take longer.
After completing the mandatory training, candidates must pass two examinations. The first test is a multiple-choice computer-based examination on theory surrounding cosmetology. The test is given five times per week at Prometric Testing Centers throughout New Jersey. After passing the theory examination, candidates must register for the practical exam, during which they demonstrate their skills in hair, nail and skin care. The examination is given by the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling at least once per year, depending on the demand for the exam.
Upon completing a state-approved training program in New Jersey, candidates receive an application for a cosmetology license from their schools. After filling out the application, they must return it to the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling to receive permission to take the licensing exams. Prior to issuing the permission, the board conducts a criminal background check on application. Those found to have a history of felony convictions are typically ineligible for licensing.
All applicants for a New Jersey cosmetology license must be at least 17 years of age and have a high school or GED diploma. Cosmetologists who have a license from another state do not have to retake their initial training to qualify for a New Jersey license, but they must pass both New Jersey licensing exams. In addition, out-of-state cosmetologists must have the board that issued their credentials mail a verification to the New Jersey board.