Board of Cosmetology

In order to practice cosmetology and certain related fields in the State of Georgia, it’s necessary to obtain the proper license. The Georgia Board of Cosmetology, under the Secretary of State’s office, is the agency tasked with managing licenses, including granting or denying applications, handling examinations and regulating the practices of licensees. Obtaining a license in the state requires applicants to meet educational and training requirements, and then pass an examination.

Obtaining a license

The Board requires license applicants to complete a minimum number of hours of educational courses at a Board-approved Georgia school of cosmetology, which number depends on the type of license as listed below. Georgia cosmetology regulations also allow candidates to qualify for a license by completing a minimum number of hours as an apprentice at a licensed salon. After successful completion of the educational or apprenticeship hours, candidates are eligible to take an examination administered by the Board.

Training required

The Board requires applicants to complete the following number of hours, via education or apprenticeship, in order to apply to take the written exam:

  • Cosmetologist License: 1500 hours/3000 hours apprenticeship
  • Barber License: 1500 hours/3000 hours apprenticeship
  • Esthetician License: 1000 hours/2000 hours apprenticeship
  • Nail Technician License: 525 hours/2050 hours apprenticeship
  • Massage Therapist License: 500 hours

Upon completion of the required number of hours by training or apprenticeship, applicants must submit a request for a “Letter of Eligibility” from the Board in order to take the examinations. With the request, candidates should also submit their application fee of $30 and a copy of their government-issued identification. 

Once the Letter of Eligibility is received, applicants are directed to contact PSI, the third-party company that administers the examination process on behalf of the Board. Candidates can schedule the exam by setting up an account and following the easy-to-use instructions. There are two components to the Georgia cosmetology examination:

  • Written Exam: This section of the examination covers topics such as general safety, sanitation, cosmetology rules of ethics. There are also questions covering specific services, including hair care, cutting, facials, makeup, hair removal and nail services.
  • Practical Exam: This portion is a hands-on examination in a controlled environment wherein verbal instructions are given by test officials. Applicants must bring their own supplies and will be asked to perform certain client services.
License Application

After completing the training requirements and passing both the written and practical exams, applicants are eligible to apply for their cosmetology license from the Georgia Board of Cosmetology. The process can be handled online by creating an account and submitting payment by credit card. Candidates can also download a hard copy of the application and pay the proper fees by check.

Maintaining a license

The Board has also enacted regulations that govern maintaining a cosmetology license in the State of Georgia.

Renewal and continuing education requirements

Licensees must renew their cosmetology license every two years, specifically by March 31 of even numbered years. There is a filing fee of $50 and the renewal process can be done online. In addition, licensees must complete five cosmetology continuing education hours at an institution approved by the Board.

Disciplinary actions

All matters involving licensee discipline and violations of state cosmetology regulations are managed by the Board, including consumer complaints and breach of ethics rules. Disciplinary actions range from fines to license suspension and permanent revocation. The majority of discipline matters involve failure to properly sanitize equipment, practicing cosmetology with an expired license and improper representation of being licensed.

License by endorsement/reciprocity

Applicants who have a valid, current license in another state may qualify to apply for a Georgia cosmetology under certain conditions. Only licenses from specific states are acceptable for reciprocity, and those states must mandate educational requirements that are equal to or greater than those in Georgia. Under certain circumstances, the Board may require applicants to pass the written and practical examinations.