You’ve passed the dreaded state board exam and received your cosmetology license, and thankfully you can finally relax, right? Mmmm not so much! Now that you have your license in your beautiful creative hands, you must keep it current and active to work in the beauty industry and perform cosmetology services.
What Does it All Mean?
Because cosmetology laws and regulations vary from state-to-state it is hard to make a blanket statement about what every licensed cosmetologist must do to renew their license.
Let’s cover some general information about Why, When and How you must renew your cosmetology license.
Why Do I Have to Renew My License?
First, because it’s the law! You must renew your license regularly according to your state’s regulations. Any person who accepts payment for beauty services must be actively licensed by their state’s cosmetology board.
Second, many states require renewals to check your knowledge of the laws and regulations as well as your skills. Most states require additional training or refresher courses in the form of state-approved continuing education units or CEUs to test cosmetologists’ level of understanding of cosmetology laws and/or their craft. As part of the renewal process, cosmetologists must take a set number of CEU hours or an exam (depends on where you live) in order to qualify for renewal.
Lastly, keeping your license current ensures you can work in any salon without the threat of losing your job, getting it revoked forever or being fined. After all, if you go through all the trouble of getting a beauty education and taking the state board exam why would you jeopardize it by not keeping your license current?
When Should I Renew My License?
Again, every cosmetology board is regulated by its respective state and laws vary from state-to-state on when you must renew your license. Some states require you to renew annually, while others require you to renew every two or three years, but no matter where you live you will most likely receive a renewal notice several months or weeks ahead of your renewal date either by snail mail or email.
If your state requires you to complete a certain number of CEU hours, you must complete them first, then provide a certificate or proof of completion for the course before you submit paperwork for renewal. Note: Specialty licenses like manicurists, estheticians, make up etc. might have different hourly requirements, so learn the difference and schedule your CEUs accordingly.
If you are unsure as to when you should renew your license, contact your state cosmetology board. It is your responsibility to know the renewal requirement of your state.
How Do I Renew My License?
Though renewing your license might be a bit of an inconvenience, all things considered, it's not a difficult task. Furthermore, if you don’t have a license you can’t work. renewal of your license is as much a part of your business responsibilities as paying taxes.
Generally speaking, here’s how the process unfolds, you will receive a notice from your state cosmetology board via email, USPS or both stating that it's time to renew your license.
Depending on what state you live in, you will have to take a state-approved CEU or a state-issued exam in order to qualify for renewal.
Once you have completed your CEU and/or taken the state-issued exam, you must pay a fee either online or by check or money order then send it with a renewal application and proof of CEU or exam completion. Fees for renewal may vary.
After several weeks, you will receive your new license by mail.
This is a broad outline of the process and should be confirmed with your state board.
What Happens if I Don’t Renew and My License Expires?
If you don’t renew and allow your license to expire you are legally not allowed or eligible to work in a salon. Operating without a license can have serious consequences including hefty fines and/or permanent suspension of your license.
If you do decide to restore your license after it has expired, depending on how long it has been inactive, the state board may take one of the following actions:
Typically if your license has been expired for a short amount of time in relation to the expiration date (a few weeks or months), you may renew at a higher renewal rate without testing or taking additional classes if it is within the allowable time set forth by the state board. You may have 30-90 days or longer to renew an expired license within this short window.
License Expired for Several Years
Each state has its own regulations for licenses that have been expired for several years. For example, if your license has been expired under or over a certain number of years, it could prompt one of two actions by the state board.
You could be required to take the written and/or practical exams again to reinstate your license.
You may be required to take a minimum number of continuing education hours to become eligible to sit for the board exam again to get your license reinstated.
Eligibility, laws, and requirements to restore an expired license vary from state to state and before you begin the process speak with a state board representative to ensure you have the correct information to reestablish legal licensure in your state.
Remember, having a current cosmetology license not only ensures you are legal; it also guarantees that you can continue to earn a great living doing what you love!
Learn what to do before renewal time, before your license has expired to avoid panic and confusion.
Photo: Flamingo Images
Breaking It Down
In this post, we talked about the importance of staying current with your license and the CEU requirements needed to renew. Each state has its own set of regulations, so it is up to you to learn what your particular state requires for renewal. These two CEU approved classes go beyond state renewal requirements, giving you the tools to make more money doing what you love.
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