Starting a beauty salon requires additional licensing before opening than most businesses. Every state requires a professional license before someone works with hair, skin and nails. Additionally, there are licenses and permits needed to open a business. Learn more about the licenses and permits that are needed to start a beauty salon.
Professional Licensing for Cosmetologists
In order to provide beauty services such as hair cutting, shampooing, coloring, makeup, hair removal, manicure and other services, all states require the individual to get a cosmetology license.
The requirements to get a barber license varies by state, but generally require:
- A high school diploma or GED
- The individual to be at least 16 years of age
- Education from a state approved cosmetology program
- Some states also require an apprenticeship with a licensed cosmetologist
- Passing state exam(s), which often includes both a written and practical exam
While similar to the requirements of a cosmetologist, there is separate licensing for barbers.
How much does it cost to get a cosmetology license?
The fee for a cosmetology license will vary by state but is typically between $50 and $400.
In order to become a licensed cosmetologist barber, almost all states require the passing of an exam(s). Many states utilize the NIC (National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology) National Cosmetology Practical Examination. This standardized exam covers topics such as infection control, haircutting, chemical waving, facial, manicure, hair removal and more.
Find more information about state cosmetology licenses below:
Alabama Board of Cosmetology & Barbering
Alaska Board of Barbers and Hairdressers
Arizona State Board of Cosmetology
Arkansas Department of Health
California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
Colorado Office of Barber and Cosmetology Licensure
Connecticut Board for Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmeticians
Delaware Board of Cosmetology and Barbering
Florida Board of Cosmetology
Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and Barbers
Hawaii Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
Idaho Barber and Cosmetology Services Licensing Board
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations
Indiana State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners
Iowa Board of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences
Kansas Board of Cosmetology
Kentucky Board of Cosmetology
Louisiana Board of Cosmetology
Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation
Maryland Department of Labor
Massachusetts Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering
Minnesota Board of Cosmetology
Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology
Missouri Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners
Montana Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Nevada Board of Cosmetology
New Hampshire Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics
New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling
New Mexico Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists
New York Department of State, Division of Licensing Services
North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners
North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology
Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board
Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering
Oregon Board of Cosmetology
Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology
Rhode Island Department of Health
South Carolina Board of Cosmetology
South Dakota Cosmetology Commission
Tennessee Cosmetology and Barber Examiners
Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation
Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing
Vermont Office of Professional Regulation
Virginia Board for Barbers and Cosmetology
Washington State Department of Licensing
West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
Wyoming Board of Cosmetology
After getting a cosmetology license, you will be well on your way to starting a beauty salon. Remember the cosmetology license is a professional license that each state requires to provide beauty services and is in addition to the licenses needed to open a salon.
Do you need a cosmetology license to own a beauty salon?
While it’s common to start a salon by getting a cosmetology license and either begin working for an established salon or opening a new salon, there may be another option. In most states it’s not required to have a license to own a beauty salon. The owner would not be able to provide any services, so they would instead have to hire stylists.
Most states and towns/cities don’t have a specific beauty salon license, however they all have requirements for starting a business. A few of the common licenses and permits a beauty salon may need include:
Employer Identification Number
Any business with employees and those that form as a partnership, corporation and in many cases an LLC, the business will need to get an Employer Identification Number or EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Sales Tax Permit or Number
In order to sell products and/or offer services in a state, a sales tax permit is typically needed. This permit creates an account number with the state’s Department of Revenue or similarly named taxing agency.
Learn more about sales tax permits.
When buying products such as shampoo, conditioner or styling products to sell to customers, the business can purchase these items tax-free. A resale certificate allows a business to purchase inventory and instead of paying the sales tax to the vendor, they charge the sales tax to the end-user of the product. Sales tax will still need to be paid for supplies used in the shop.
Learn more about resale certificates
Certificate of Occupancy (CO)
In most communities, a retail business will need to secure a Certificate of Occupancy before opening. This certificate is obtained from the city and allows a business to occupy and operate from a building provided the building is in compliance with zoning, codes and any other local requirements.