Office of Barber & Cosmetology Licensure

A person seeking to work in the fields of cosmetology and related practices are required to obtain the proper license in the State of Colorado through the Colorado Office of Barber & Cosmetology Licensure. The Office falls under the umbrella of the Department of Professions & Occupations, and is given the duties of regulating all aspects of Cosmetology licensing. Tasks include defining the application process, administered exams and governing the professional rules of conduct. Applicants must meet minimum training hours and take an exam administered by the Office. Candidates from other states may qualify for licensure by endorsement under certain eligibility standards. The Office has also established rules to benefit certain qualifying licenses who are members of the military, allowing a fee waiver in certain cases.

Obtaining a license

In order to receive a Cosmetology license in Colorado, applicants must complete the minimum training hours listed below, through an Office-approved institution of cosmetology. Candidates must also apply for and pass the cosmetology examination by submitting a Licensure by Examination Application.

  • Cosmetologist License: 60 credit hours (1800 clock hours)
  • Barber License: 60 credit hours (1500 clock hours)
  • Hairstylist License: 40 credit hours (1200 clock hours)
  • Cosmetician/Esthetician License: 20 credit hours (600 clock hours)
  • Nail Technician License: 20 credit hours (600 clock hours)
  • Cosmetologist Instructor License: Cosmetologist License plus 2 years full time experience
  • Permanent Makeup Certification: Cosmetologists or Esthetician License plus 132 clock hours
  • Chemical Peel Certification: Cosmetologists or Esthetician License plus 24 clock hours
  • Microdermabrasion Certification: Cosmetologists or Esthetician License plus 14 clock hours
  • Massage Therapist License: 500 hours

Upon completion of educational hours, applicants must pass both written and practical examinations in order to qualify for a Cosmetology license.

  • Written Theory Exam: This section of the test consists of multiple choice questions which must be completed within 120 minutes, and there is a $56 fee for the exam. Topics covered include sanitation and laws regulating the cosmetology industry. There are also questions related to proper provision of cosmetology services, such as hair cutting, styling, chemical treatments, nail care and facials.
  • Practical Exam: During the practical exam, test participants are asked to provide certain cosmetology services. The exam is 145 minutes long and the fee is $71. Proctors judge candidates’ skills as they perform the directed task and give a score based on performance.
Licensure by Endorsement

Individuals with a valid, current license to practice cosmetology in another state can obtain their license in Colorado by submitting a Application for Licensure by Endorsement. In order to qualify, the state which issued the original license must have educational and testing requirements that are at least equal to or higher than those of the State of Colorado.

Maintaining a license
Renewal and continuing education requirements

In order to legally provide cosmetology services in the State of Colorado, license holders must renew their credentials every two years. Renewal applications must be submitted by April 30 in even or odd numbered years, depending on the date of issuance of the original license. All licensees are required to submit the proper renewal application and $32 processing fee. There are no continuing education requirements for licensees in Colorado, though the Office recommends coursework to stay current in the industry.

Disciplinary actions

The Office has established regulations for dealing with license holder professional misconduct. Most rule violations are related to failure to maintain a Cosmetologist license in good standing and improper sanitary conditions with respect to tools and equipment. Penalties for misconduct include license probation, suspension and revocation.

Military license renewals

Members of the military may qualify for a renewal fee waiver in certain cases. To be eligible to avoid fees to renew their Cosmetology licenses, these individuals must active duty military in deployment for at least 120 days. The qualifying period starts from six weeks prior to the license renewal to 60 days afterwards.