Location:
BARBERS, HAIRDRESSERS AND COSMETOLOGISTS; LICENSING;

OLR Research Report


February 9, 2009

 

2009-R-0083

COSMETOLOGY LICENSING AND TESTING REQUIREMENTS

By: Jillian Redding, Legislative Fellow

You asked us to compare Connecticut's cosmetician licensing and testing requirements with those of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Puerto Rico. You also wanted to know whether those jurisdictions offered Spanish versions of the licensing exam.

SUMMARY

States' licensing laws use cosmetician and cosmetologist interchangeably. Connecticut licenses cosmetologists. In most of the states in which you are interested, license applicants must meet age, general education, and occupational training requirements. These vary from no age requirements (Connecticut) to a minimum age of 16 (Pennsylvania), no educational attainment specified (Massachusetts) to high school completion (New Jersey), and simply completion of a curriculum in a state-approved school (Virginia) to 1,500 hours of instruction in a state-approved school (Connecticut).

All states require applicants to pass a written and practical exam. Some states construct their own test; others use a testing service. Some states, like Connecticut, provide the test only in English. Others provide the test in other languages or allow applicants to bring a translator or a dictionary. In 2003, Puerto Rico provided English and Spanish tests, but we cannot obtain updated information.

All states provide for licensure by endorsement; that is a person who has a cosmetology license from another jurisdiction can obtain a license without taking an examination. In most cases the person must show that the state that issued the license has licensing requirements that are substantially equal to the state in which he or she is seeking a license.

REQUIREMENTS FOR TAKING LICENSING EXAM

Table 1 shows the requirements an applicant needs to take each selected states' cosmetologist licensing examination.

Table 1: Prerequisites for Cosmetologist Examination

State

Prerequisites to Take Licensing Examination

Age

Education Completed

Hours of Instruction

Connecticut

None

8th grade or equivalent

● 1,500 in state-approved school

● Applicants trained outside CT must submit affidavit from that jurisdiction's licensing agency of training hours and experience

Massachusetts

16

None specified

1,000 in state-registered school + 2 years experience

(A person without experience can be licensed as an operator but must work under supervision)

New Jersey

17

High school or equivalent

1,200 in state-approved school or school in another state or country that offers substantially similar training

New York

17

None specified

● 1,000 in state-approved course of study

● Applicants educated outside NY must submit transcripts and certification of hours

Pennsylvania

16

● 10th grade (applicants over age 35 and veterans exempted) or

● received training through Bureau of Rehabilitation

● 1,250 or

● apprenticed for at least 2,000 hours in licensed shop

Virginia

none

None specified

● Complete an approved training program in a state-licensed cosmetology or public school

● 1,500 hours, if training is outside of Virginia or submission of certification showing training was substantially similar to Virginia

Puerto Rico*

18

8th grade

1,000

* The Puerto Rico information is from 2003; more updated information was unavailable.

EXAMINATIONS

All states require both a written and practical examination. Some states construct their own test (e.g., Puerto Rico), others use a commercial multistate test (e.g., Connecticut, Pennsylvania). States vary on the use of Spanish or other language tests and whether test takers can use a translator's services and other aids during the exam. Table 2 explains the various states rules.

Table 2: Cosmetology Exam Language Requirements

State

Requirement

Connecticut

English only

Massachusetts

English only. Interpreters, dictionaries, and other translation aids are not permitted. (The Cosmetology Board maintains its decision was based on public health and safety concerns related to the proper use of chemicals and examination security issues.)

New Jersey

English only, but licensing board can allow testing with aid of a translator if it deems this warranted.

New York

● If applicant attended a school in NY whose curriculum was approved to be taught in English, he or she will be asked to take test in English but can take the test in another language if it is available or can bring an interpreter if it is not available

● If applicant attended a New York school whose curriculum was approved to be taught in a language other than English, applicant can take translated exam or bring interpreter

● If applicant was schooled outside NY and application contained documentation of foreign language education, she can take translated exam or have interpreter

Pennsylvania

English, Spanish, and Vietnamese

Virginia

English, Spanish, and Vietnamese

Puerto Rico*

English or Spanish

* The Puerto Rico information is from 2003; more updated information was unavailable.

LICENSE BY ENDORSEMENT

Each state allows people who have cosmetology licenses from another state (or country) to obtain a license without taking an examination. This practice is called license by endorsement. Generally, these states require the state that issued the license to have licensing requirements that are substantially equal to or higher than their own. Most require the state of origin to have a reciprocal agreement that grants a license by endorsement to their licensees. Connecticut licenses by endorsement a cosmetologist licensed in Puerto Rico who passed the English-language test, but a cosmetologist licensed there who passed only the Spanish-language test must pass the Test of English as a Second Language before receiving a Connecticut license.

Table 3 lists each state's license by endorsement requirements.

Table 3: License by Endorsement Requirements

State

Requirements

Jurisdictions Covered (if they meet endorsement requirements)

Connecticut

● Current licensure from and actively practicing in another jurisdiction that has substantially equivalent or higher standards

States, District of Columbia and U.S. territories

Massachusetts

● Other jurisdiction has substantially equivalent standards and has reciprocal agreement for Massachusetts licensees

● Licensees from nonreciprocal states can get 6-month temporary license and work prior to taking exam

States, U. S. territories, foreign countries

(Applicants from Florida & Connecticut must still take the exam)

New Jersey

● Current licensure in another jurisdiction that has substantially equivalent standards

● If other jurisdiction has less stringent standards, licensee may be exempt from exam if she presents evidence of 3 years experience in a licensed shop

States, foreign countries

New York

● Current licensure in another jurisdiction that has reciprocal agreement for New York licensees

● Current licensure and evidence of 5 years experience if no reciprocal agreement

States, U. S. territories, foreign countries

Pennsylvania

Current licensure in another jurisdiction that has substantially equivalent standards and offers reciprocity for Pennsylvania licensees. Applicant must have 2 years experience.

States, U. S. territories, District of Columbia

(No reciprocity for Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Utah)

Virginia

Current licensure in another jurisdiction that has substantially equivalent training and examination requirements

States, U. S. territories

Puerto Rico*

Current licensure in another jurisdiction

States

* The Puerto Rico information is from 2003; more updated information was unavailable.

JR:ak