Cosmetology License

Cosmetology License


Division of Licensing Services
P.O. Box 22001
Albany, NY 12201-2001
Customer Service: (518) 474-4429
Web site:

Cosmetology Application

Please take the time to read the instructions carefully before beginning the application form. Incomplete forms will be returned, delaying licensure. Any omission, inaccuracy or failure to make full disclosure in an application may be deemed sufficient reason to deny a license or could result in the suspension or revocation, if one is issued.

This webpage includes everything you need to apply to the Department of State for a license to practice Cosmetology in New York State.

A completed application will include the three-page application form, nonrefundable fee and appropriate documentation as it applies.

What does the practice of Cosmetology cover?

The practice of Cosmetology includes providing the services of natural hair styling, esthetics, nail specialty and waxing and also includes providing services to the hair, head, face, neck or scalp of a human being, including but not limited to shaving, trimming, and cutting the hair or beard either by hand or mechanical appliances and the application of antiseptics, powders, oils, clays, lotions or applying tonics to the hair, head, or scalp, and in addition includes providing, for a fee or any consideration or exchange, whether direct or indirect, services for the application of dyes, reactive chemicals, or other preparations to alter the color or to straighten, curl, or alter the structure of the hair of a human being.

Who must apply for a Cosmetology license?

Any person practicing Cosmetology as described above is required by law to have a Cosmetology license. A Cosmetology license will not permit you to operate a business; a separate business application must be completed and a separate business license obtained.

What qualifications and supporting documents do I need to apply for licensure?

If you are at least 17 years old, you may apply for an Esthetics license based on:

1) New York State Education and Examinations

You must complete a 600-hour, New York State approved course of study and pass both the New York State written and practical examinations to get a license to operate in this state.

As proof of successful completion of schooling, you must have the Affirmation of New York State Approved Schooling section of the application completed by your school director.

After your application is reviewed and accepted, you will receive information that explains the exam process in detail.

2) Education Outside of New York State

We may waive the New York State schooling requirement if you can document an equivalent level of schooling from another state or country. You must submit all three of the following documents (foreign language documents must be accompanied by an English translation certified true and accurate by the translator):

  • a school certificate;
  • a school transcript listing subjects and hours completed; AND
  • a current original Certification of Licensure from your state board or, if not licensed, a current Certification from your state’s board verifying the hours claimed.

After your application is reviewed and accepted, you will also be required to pass both the New York State written and practical examinations to obtain an Esthetics license in this state. You will receive information that explains the exam process in detail.

3) Experience: 5 Years Outside of New York State

Any individual having five years of legal experience in an occupation equivalent to Esthetics may apply for a New York State license by submitting satisfactory evidence of education and experience.

Evidence may include but is not limited to:

  • certifications from licensing agencies;
  • copies of passports which indicate occupation of individual;
  • tax returns;
  • letters from employers;
  • practical and written examination results; and
  • course curricula

Such evidence must be presented in legible form and in English. If a translation is provided, it must be certified as true and accurate by the translator.

After your application is reviewed and accepted, you may obtain an Esthetics license in New York State without examination or further education.

Can I obtain a Cosmetology license based on my licensure in another state?

An applicant who holds a license equivalent to Cosmetology in another jurisdiction having a reciprocal agreement with New York State may obtain a Cosmetology license in New York without examination or further education.

An applicant must submit a certification from the jurisdiction where s/he holds a license in an occupation equivalent to Cosmetology and the certification must be dated within six months of the date of submitting the application.

Can I take my written examination in a foreign language?

If you attended a New York State school whose curriculum was approved to be taught in English, you will be issued an admission notice to take the written exam in English.

However, you may be allowed to take a translated exam if you attended a New York State school where the curriculum was approved to be taught in a language other than English.

How will I know if I have been approved to take either a translated or interpreted examination?

If you are approved for a translated examination, you will receive an admission notice advising you of the date, time and place to appear for your foreign language examination.

Can I work before passing the state exams?

Yes. Two six-month temporary licenses are available to applicants who want to work while completing the examination process. Applicants may apply for a temporary license extension once they have passed the written examination. Once you pass both examinations, a 4-year license will be issued.

What are the fees and terms of licensure?

$20 – Original application license fee (for all applicants). For those applicants who are not required to pass the examinations (e.g., applying based on 5 years of legal experience or reciprocal applicants already licensed in another state), this is the only fee that is required.

$10 – Temporary license fee.

$10 – Temporary license extension fee.

Please Note: If applying for an original application and a temporary license, you may submit one $30 application fee. Separate application fees are not required.
The term of licensure is two years. The term for a temporary license is 6 months.

What forms of payment do you accept?

Yes. You need to be examined by a doctor or nurse practitioner to apply for a license in Cosmetology. Your doctor or nurse practitioner must complete and date the Health Certification section of the application. You must submit your application within 30 days after the certification is signed and dated.

Do I need to complete the Child Support Statement section of the application?

Yes. A Child Support Statement is mandatory in New York State (General Obligations Law). The law requires you to complete this section – regardless of whether or not you have children or any support obligations.