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Cosmetologist

License required in 51 states

30th most burdensome licensing requirements among moderate-income occupations

4th most heavily regulated occupation among moderate-income occupations

What They Do

Cosmetologists and hair stylists provide beauty services, such as shampooing, cutting, coloring and styling hair, and massaging and treating the scalp. They may also apply makeup, dress wigs, perform hair removal, and provide nail and skin care services.

Licensing

All 50 states and D.C. require a license to work as a cosmetologist. On average, these laws cost aspiring cosmetologists $177 in fees and over a year (386 days) in education and experience and require them to pass two exams—the 30th most burdensome requirements of the 102 occupations studied. And because cosmetologists are licensed by every state and D.C., the occupation is the fourth most widely and onerously licensed.

Licensing burdens vary significantly. Fees range from $51 (Ohio) to $450 (Alaska). Similarly, education and experience requirements range from about 233 days in New York (1,000 hours of education) to about 963 days in Massachusetts (1,000 hours of education and two years of experience).

License to Work

The data and information here come from IJ’s License to Work report, released in November 2017.

States Ranked by Average Licensing Burden for 102 Lower-Income Occupations

More Burdensome Less Burdensom
Based on data released in November 2017

State Licensing Requirements

Select a chart to view:
Burden Rank State States Licensed Fees Estimated Calendar Days Lost Education Experience Exams Minimum Grade Minimum Age
1 Massachusetts 51 $270 963 1000 clock hours 2 years 2 0 0
2 Kentucky 51 $200 602 1800 clock hours 6 months 3 12 16
3 South Dakota 51 $80 490 2100 clock hours 3 12 18
4 Nebraska 51 $78 490 2100 clock hours 1 12 17
5 Montana 51 $254 467 2000 clock hours 2 12 18
6 Iowa 51 $118 490 2100 clock hours 1 12 0
7 Idaho 51 $186 467 2000 clock hours 2 10 17
8 Wyoming 51 $123 467 2000 clock hours 2 10 16
9 West Virginia 51 $134 420 1800 clock hours 3 12 18
10 North Dakota 51 $185 420 1800 clock hours 3 12 0
11 Hawaii 51 $110 420 1800 clock hours 1 12 16
12 Colorado 51 $177 420 1800 clock hours 2 0 16
13 New Mexico 51 $253 373 1600 clock hours 3 10 17
14 Arizona 51 $247 373 1600 clock hours 2 10 16
15 Vermont 51 $360 350 1500 clock hours 3 12 18
16 Oregon 51 $115 397 1700 clock hours 3 0 0
17 Alaska 51 $450 385 1650 clock hours 2 0 0
18 Nevada 51 $145 373 1600 clock hours 2 10 18
19 California 51 $125 373 1600 clock hours 2 10 17
20 Minnesota 51 $285 362 1550 clock hours 3 12 0
21 Washington 51 $230 373 1600 clock hours 2 0 17
22 Wisconsin 51 $391 362 1550 clock hours 2 0 18
23 Mississippi 51 $233 350 1500 clock hours 2 12 17
24 Kansas 51 $195 350 1500 clock hours 2 12 17
25 D C 51 $230 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 18
26 Texas 51 $176 350 1500 clock hours 2 12 17
27 Alabama 51 $235 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 16
28 Delaware 51 $225 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 16
29 Georgia 51 $139 350 1500 clock hours 2 12 17
30 Michigan 51 $200 350 1500 clock hours 2 9 17
31 Rhode Island 51 $100 350 1500 clock hours 2 12 18
32 South Carolina 51 $175 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 16
33 Utah 51 $234 373 1600 clock hours 2 0 0
34 Missouri 51 $150 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 17
35 Maine 51 $148 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 17
36 Arkansas 51 $125 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 16
37 Maryland 51 $104 350 1500 clock hours 2 9 17
38 Louisiana 51 $75 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 16
39 New Hampshire 51 $198 350 1500 clock hours 2 12 0
40 Ohio 51 $51 350 1500 clock hours 2 10 16
41 Oklahoma 51 $60 350 1500 clock hours 2 8 16
42 Indiana 51 $92 350 1500 clock hours 1 10 18
43 Tennessee 51 $190 350 1500 clock hours 2 0 16
44 Virginia 51 $280 350 1500 clock hours 2 0 0
45 Illinois 51 $210 350 1500 clock hours 1 0 16
46 North Carolina 51 $197 350 1500 clock hours 2 0 0
47 Connecticut 51 $100 350 1500 clock hours 1 9 0
48 New Jersey 51 $119 280 1200 clock hours 2 12 17
49 Pennsylvania 51 $110 292 1250 clock hours 1 10 16
50 Florida 51 $90 280 1200 clock hours 2 0 16
51 New York 51 $70 233 1000 clock hours 2 0 17