January 30, 2019

How to Transfer Your Cosmetology License to California  

California cosmetologist at work in salon

If you already have your Cosmetology License, you’re ahead of the game. But if you are relocating to our state, there’s a few steps to follow to transfer your license and get set up to work. Your state’s license will need to have reciprocity with California. You’ll also need to meet the required training hours and exam scores set by the California Board of Barbering Cosmetology. All who wish to continue working in cosmetology in California must follow these rules, regardless of what state you’re licensed in.

Here’s how you can transfer your license to the booming beauty industry in sunny California!

woman applying hairspray to a clients hair in a salon

Transferring Your License

In the field of cosmetology, licensure can vary from state to state.. While you can’t use your out-of-state license in California, you may be able to transfer your cosmetology license to California. The first thing you will need to do is fill out a reciprocity application and send it to the state along with the appropriate fee:

Cosmetology: $50

Barbering: $50

Esthetician: $40

Manicurist: $35

You will also need to have your state provide the California board with verification of your current license. It cannot have been revoked, suspended, or restricted in any way and needs to be in good standing. It needs to have been active for three of the last five years, during which you haven’t been convicted of a disciplinary or criminal charge.

It’s also smart to double check if your license is eligible to transfer. Some out-of-state programs are specific to that state and are unlikely to transfer. For example, Florida’s Full, Facial, and Nail Specialist licenses do not qualify.

If you don’t have enough hours to transfer, you can use your experience as a licensed professional. Every 3 full months you worked as a licensed person in your state is equal to 100 hours to be applied toward your training hours. Example: Your state requires 1400 hours; we require 1200 hours. You worked in your state for 3 months. We will credit you with an additional 100 hours.

If you meet those requirements, mail your application to the board (2420 Del Paso Rd #100, Sacramento, CA 95834), along with your payment. Once your application is received, processing should take about three weeks. If you haven’t used your license in three years, you will be required to take the State Board Examination again. And the state will need to contact your previous state for any records.

stylist working with client's hair

Retaking the Exam

If you do have to retake the exam in California, the process will be as follows:

  1. Pass the exam and receive your license, allowing you to practice in any part of California. The license for Cosmetology in California requires 1200 hours,
  2. The Board does not accept Apprentice hours.
  3. Even though it’s not required in California, you may wish to take some continuing education classes to stay up-to-date on trends in the beauty industry, especially as a lot of salons will require current knowledge as a condition of employment.


Learn More at Salon Success Academy

Whether you need training from the start, completion of your training from another state, or some continuing education as a refresher, contact Salon Success Academy today! We have campuses across the Inland Empire area of California and would love to help you restart your Cosmetology career.

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