How to Become a Cosmetologist in Alabama

Cosmetologists in Alabama are on the cutting edge of trends in hair, skincare, and makeup. With total salon sales in the state coming in at an impressive $627 million in 2013, it’s easy to see why more than 4,000 salon employees in Alabama are enjoying unprecedented opportunities in everything from hairstyling and manicuring to makeup artistry.

If you want to become licensed as a cosmetologist in Alabama, you must be prepared to complete these steps:

Complete a Formal Cosmetology Program
Apply for a License with the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering
Take the Required Cosmetology Exams
Keep your Cosmetologist License Current

From Birmingham—Magic City—to Montgomery, Mobile, and beyond, opportunities abound for cosmetologists who want to flex their creative muscles and become the go-to professionals for the best in style and innovation.

Cosmetologists in Alabama, who are regulated and licensed by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering, are permitted to perform these services when working with hair:

  • Arranging
  • Bleaching
  • Braiding
  • Cleansing
  • Coloring
  • Curling
  • Cutting
  • Dressing curling
  • Waxing
  • Weaving

Cosmetologists are permitted to perform these services when working with nails and skin:

  • Esthetic practices
  • Manicure and pedicure
  • Nail technology
  • Use of lotions, creams, cosmetic preparations, with or without massage, on the arms, legs, feet, scalp, feet and hands

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Formal Cosmetology Program

To become licensed as a cosmetologist in Alabama, you must successfully complete at least 1,500 clock hours within a formal program offered by a cosmetology school. A cosmetology program, which may be offered through a beauty school, a junior college, or a vocational school, may result in a certificate/diploma or an associate degree.

An associate degree, which is generally structured as either an Associate in Science or an Associate in Applied Science, provides a more comprehensive education, with additional study often focused on the areas of salon and business management. Although not a requirement for licensure, an associate degree may also be the ideal option for an individual with aspirations of eventually pursuing a bachelor’s degree in areas like salon and spa management or health and beauty management.

If you want to become a dedicated manicurist, you must complete at least 750 clock hours for a manicurist license. If you want to become a dedicated esthetician, you must complete at least 1,000 clock hours for an esthetician license.

A program in cosmetology prepares you to work in some of Alabama’s best spas, beauty salons, and nail salons. Through the completion of a Board-approved cosmetology program, you can begin preparing for a rewarding career in Alabama’s salon industry.

Apprenticeship Requirements

You may also complete an apprenticeship in lieu of a formal cosmetology program. To qualify for a cosmetologist license in Alabama through an apprenticeship, you must complete at least 3,000 clock hours within 3 years under the direct supervision of a licensed cosmetologist.

If you are working toward a license as a manicurist, you must complete at least 1,200 clock hours within 2 years, and you must complete at least 2,000 clock hours within 3 years to earn an esthetician license in Alabama through an apprenticeship.

To qualify for registration as an apprentice in Alabama, you must be at least 16 years old, and you must have successfully complete grade 10 of your high school education. The cost of registration is $75.

 


 

Step 2. Apply for a License with the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering

You have two years to apply for a cosmetologist license in Alabama following the completion of either a cosmetology program or an apprenticeship. If you fail to do so, you may need to complete additional hours of training before applying for licensure, as required by the Board.

To qualify for a cosmetologist license in Alabama, you must successfully meet the educational or apprenticeship requirements, as set forth by the Board. You must be at least 16 years old, and you must have completed at least the 10th grade in high school.

Upon completing the Cosmetologist License application, you will be notified by the Board if you are eligible to sit for the required examinations. The application fee is $40.

 


 

Step 3. Take the Required Cosmetology Exams

Upon the completion of your cosmetology program in Alabama, you must take and pass the following Alabama cosmetology examinations to qualify for a cosmetology license.

The Board recognizes the National Cosmetology Examination through the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) as their written examination. Currently, 29 states utilize the national cosmetology examination as their written examination.

The examination is administered through PSI Exams, and you must contact PSI at 1-800-733-9267 to schedule the written examination. You will have 90 minutes to complete the examination, and you must score at least 70 to pass.

In Alabama there are PSI testing locations in:

  • Birmingham
  • Mobile
  • Huntsville
  • Montgomery

You must first pass the written examination with PSI before you can schedule the practical examination with Professional Credentialing Services (PCS) at 1-888-822-3272. Like the written examination, the Board utilizes the NIC’s practical examination. Currently, 14 states utilize the NIC’s practical examination.

Information on preparing for and taking Alabama’s practical cosmetology examination can be found here. A list of upcoming dates to take the practical examination can be found here. Examination sites are located in Mobile, Birmingham, Montgomery, and North Alabama.

 


 

Step 4. Keep your Cosmetologist License Current

The cost of renewing your cosmetologist license in Alabama is $80, and all cosmetology licenses can be renewed online.

Your cosmetology license in Alabama expires on the last day of your birth month every odd-numbered year. There are no continuing education requirements for cosmetology licenses in Alabama; however, continuing education is commonplace for cosmetologists, as it allows them to stay current with the latest trends in hair and makeup. State and national associations are often excellent sources of continuing education:

Many cosmetologists also choose to pursue additional education and training in such areas as business and marketing as a way to gain valuable insight on how to open up and run a successful salon.

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