New State, New Rules—New Cosmetology License?

Hours, effort, and all of your heart and soul—that’s what you’ve put into your cosmetology career.

No matter where you are on the map, it’s likely that you’ve been putting in work like crazy, and it’s probably all started to pay off.

Whether you’re well-known amongst the local beauty biz or you’re just now starting to build up all the amazing opportunities for yourself and your career, you’re probably already realizing a big, important thing—your hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

More than likely, you’ve got people scouting you. Companies are vying for you. Everyone wants you to move to their salon to brighten their business.

There’s just one problem—all these opportunities, salons, and potential business opportunities, well, they’re in different states.

Yeah, that prospect might seem a little scary—but ultimately, it’s so dang exciting. It does leaves —at least one—ever-weighted question left to bear down on you: “If I move, what happens to my cosmetology license?”

This, undeniably, leads to several other questions that you feel like you might never get answers to: Will you be forced to get an entirely new cosmetology license? Does your license transfer, no problem? Wait, is there a fee you have to pay to work in another state? Do you have to take your classes all over again to get re-certified?

The questions go on and on and on.

Before you get dizzy, take a breath, and get your bearings – we’re here to answer all of these questions for you so that you can continue to take the beauty world by storm.

Check out some of the info we’ve curated below and see if we’re able to answer the burning questions you’ve got about cosmetology license reciprocity across state lines.

The Long And Short Of It? It's Different In Every State

We’ve got good news and we’ve got bad news.

The bad news? The requirements are different with every state, so we can’t really give you a blanket statement of what to do if you’re planning on moving.

The good news? The requirements are different in every state, so depending on your new location, it might be incredibly easy to transfer over your cosmetology license --- in fact, it might be as simple as signing some paperwork and getting work.

Some states, like Alabama, accept reciprocity from other states so long as you request your certification of licensure and education be sent over to the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering from your current state. Other places, like Arkansas, allow the same but require a $150 fee.

Colorado has similar rules but requires that you apply for your cosmetology license rather than just simply sending it over for approval.

Then, there are states like Idaho that do not allow licensure through reciprocity and require you to either take the Idaho state board for your license or prove your licensure and experience for the past 3-5 years in your current state.

The list goes on and on, and unfortunately, every single state is different.

If you need to know a little more about the state you're in, or the state you plan to move to, check out our complete list of requirements by state for more insight—and trust us, this is the insight you’re going to want.

Overall, these are things to consider when you’re planning to move—sometimes it won’t work as smoothly as you’d like, but then again, it could! And even if it doesn’t work out smoothly doesn’t mean the opportunity isn’t worth it!

Ultimately, the most important thing you can do is make sure you’re doing all your research when it comes to cosmetology license reciprocity—and do it before you decide to make a big career move.

Want to know more about all of this? Here are a few of the options that are available in most states when it comes to cosmetology license reciprocation over state lines.

Cosmetology License Transfer

This type of move is pretty easy. This means that your home state of licensure will easily be transferred over to your new state, with a few completed requirements.

Typically, this includes a record of your completed training hours, a copy of your license, and proof you’ve passed the board exams.

Cosmetology License Endorsement

This type of transfer is described as an attempt to qualify for licensure in your new state of choice, without having to actually take the new state board examination.

This typically requires that you have a license in good standing in your home state of licensure, have an active license, and that the requirements of the new state are pretty similar to the requirements of the state where you got your license initially.

These are not the only requirements and they vary from state to state.

Cosmetology License Reciprocity

This type of transfer means that another state will allow you to work under the license of your current state. This will depend largely on the similarities of requirements between the two states in question.

Tip: This won’t always work, so make sure you’re doing your research on state requirements before you decide to take the plunge and move to a different city.

Cosmetology Licensing Solutions: Not a Cheat Sheet, But Kind of Cheat Sheet

OK, OK, we’re willing to be upfront—that was a lot of information we threw at you.

First and foremost, we hoped it helped. But unfortunately, those three things aren’t the end-all-be-all of cosmetology licensing.

In other words, it might not always work out exactly the way you want them to, so you have to get a little creative in how you get your certifiable cosmetology license in a new state.

Here are a few tips on handling licensing in different states:

Get Licensed in Multiple States

Did you know can hold multiple cosmetology licenses for multiple states all at the same time? It’s true!

You can be certified in California, New York, Alabama, Alaska – wherever you want to have a license, so long as you pass the exams and fulfill the requirements, you can have a license.

There’s no rule about having one license at a time! If, while you’re in the process of becoming licensed in one state, know that you might want to eventually move to another state to practice your art, then consider getting licensed in that state at the same time!

While the requirements might be different, a lot of them will overlap, and if you’re able to kill two birds with one stone, why not give it a go?

Sit for the New State’s Full Written and Practical Exams After-the-Fact

If you’re unable to get multiple licenses at once (this is not always realistic, we get that), consider sitting for the new state’s full written and practical exams. It’s possible that you can transfer your training hours over to the new state, but you will likely have to sit for these exams.

If necessary, get the verifiable hours and the refresher you need from an approved school in the area before you sit for the test.

Those are just a few ideas, but feel free to get creative! Ultimately, just make sure you’re doing what needs to be done—and by the book!—to make sure that you’re legally allowed to work wherever you’re moving!

Looking for more insight? How about business tips, cosmetology gossip, and career tricks? 

We’ve got you covered. If you want to make sure you never miss a beat, we highly recommend giving this link a click to subscribe to Elite Beauty Society! We’ll send you regular emails (like, not spammy, we promise) to update you on the latest blogs, deals, discounts, industry gossip, and more!