What is the State Board of Cosmetology?

Everything a Burgeoning Beauty Pro Needs to Know

Let’s face it—talking about state board anything can sound both overwhelming and totally boring.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), as a soon-to-be or current cosmetologist, it’s your duty to understand your state’s requirements, obligations, rules, and restrictions when it comes to keeping your license in good standing.

Often, that means not only taking and passing a cosmetology state board exam but also understanding what your dynamic state board requires each and every year.

So, if you’re unsure of what the state board exam is all about or you’re totally lost on why you have to take it in the first place (along with who is administering it), you’re in the right place.

Keep reading to learn more about the state board of cosmetology and the supplemental exam you’ll need to take to get your cosmetology license.

First, Let's Talk About the Board: What Exactly is a State Board of Cosmetology? 

We can’t very well dive into the exam you’ll be taking to acquire your license without giving you some background on who is requiring this exam and why it’s required in the first place.

Those questions have a very similar answer, and they both have to do with the state board of cosmetology.

So, what exactly is a state board of cosmetology?

To keep it short and simple, a state board of cosmetology is a particular state’s overseeing organization or governmental body that’s set up to protect the well-being of its states when it comes to cosmetology.

Typically, these boards will deal with the regulation and restrictions that pertain to the oversight of cosmetology, esthetics, barbering, and beyond.

Basically, they’re the organization in charge of deciding whether or not you meet certain standards to become a licensed, registered cosmetologist in your area.

That means they set the rules on what you need to get on your exam, the hours you need to complete in order to qualify, the rules you need to abide by, and the standards you need to meet.

The Four Things You Need to Know About State Boards of Cosmetology 

The Mission: Citizen Protection

No matter what state we’re talking about, the board of cosmetology is usually after the same thing—keeping citizens safe by ensuring cosmetologists go through stringent requirements to guarantee they’re ready to provide these types of sensitive services to people.

Every State Board is Different 

So, yes, every state has its own governing board, its own rules, and its own regulations.

Even if the main goal is always the same (citizen protection), the way that every state goes about it will be different. This means a few things.

First, you’re likely going to need to pass another exam and check on the new rules of a state if you move your business. Some states will have reciprocal licensing, but this isn’t something you can just assume.

Secondly, these types of regulations are living, breathing organizations—this means that you’ll need to consistently ensure you’re staying up to speed on what’s required of you.

These are not static rules, and as a cosmetologist it’s your job to stay up to date.

Check out this map to get a better idea of the must-know state requirements for cosmetologists.

Each Board Makes Rules You'll Need to Abide By

Every state board is going to require you to abide by certain rules and standards to uphold your license.

If you don’t, your license could be in jeopardy, and that means your career can be, too. That’s why it’s so crucial to follow along with the state-mandated regulations of your state’s board of cosmetology.

These Boards Dictate the State Board Exam You'll Take 

The final thing you should know about the board is that they’re (at least partly) responsible for the cosmetology exam you take to acquire your license.

This is one of those standards you need to meet (and hopefully) exceed to be deemed a competent, licensed professional in your state.

What is the State Board Cosmetology Exam? 

You remember how the board of cosmetology (in any state) is designed to set up standards that prove that you, as a cosmetologist, are ready, willing, and able to take on the responsibility of providing sensitive services to citizens safely?

The state board cosmetology exam is one of those standards.

Here are a few things you’ll need to know about your state board cosmetology exam

  • It’s likely that no matter what state you’re in, you’ll have to take a two-part exam: a written / multiple choice section and a practical section.
  • Every state has different requirements for both its written and practical exams, so there is no blanket study guide for a general cosmetology exam.
  • How you do on this exam will determine whether or not you can become a licensed cosmetologist
  • Like with most exams, the best thing you can do to prepare is study well in advance, invest in practice materials, and take the exam seriously
  • While it’s impossible to discuss topic percentages from a general standpoint, it’s likely that most state board exams will cover general topics like scientific concepts, hail care and services, skincare and services, nail care and service, sterilization, and more.
  • Practical exams will likely require you to deliver step-by-step processes in specific orders, so you’ll need to memorize exact steps.

We hope this little dive into the state board gave you the knowledge (and peace of mind) you need to start your cosmetology quest.

At the end of the day, understanding the board of cosmetology in your state is one of the best first steps toward acing that exam!

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